Thanks for your kind words, Samantha Beach. The fees are what they are, I don’t begrudge them however I wish they weren’t so high so as to give more people the chance to immigrate.
Hiring a lawyer we didn’t need was a rookie mistake: Immigrants prop up an entire sub-section of the legal industry. We wanted to do everything by the book and didn’t trust ourselves with paperwork, which — in hindsight — is ridiculous as we filled it all in anyway and provided all the documentation. All the lawyer did was check and send it on to the government, apart from that time when she forgot to send our tax paperwork. Ah well…
As for the relative who turned on me, that was quite unexpected and an eye opener in terms of how demonized immigrants can be and how tenacious American exceptionalism is in certain minds (I used to think of it as some kind of urban legend until I found out for myself it was a thing). Said relative have mellowed considerably since then. Unsurprisingly however, we’re not close.
Sending some fuzzy hugs your way courtesy of my two shedding purring monsters with fangs. xo