School has been in session for a few weeks already. Students are back in the routine. The first day or two brought the usual “what did you do over vacation?” questions. Answers often involve family trips, hanging out at the lake or personal accomplishments. JunSang Robbins enters his senior year at Alliance High School after becoming a United States citizen the start of July 2018.
Jun was born in South Korea. He came to the United States as an exchange student with his brother JunMo. They stayed in Alliance with host family Jeremy and Bethany Robbins, who had previously welcomed their older brother Kim, an exchange student at AHS. The family had four children, three still at home. Jun started in the seventh grade at Alliance Middle School when he arrived in August 2013 when Jeremy and Bethany started the adoption process for the boys.
Jun’s adoption was finalized on Feb. 2, 2015. Bethany explained they had to wait for two years before starting the process of Citizenship. “The reason that we had to wait two years was to be able to show that we had legal and physical custody of Jun for two years,” Bethany said.
When considering adoption, Bethany talked to a few lawyers and people who had adopted children from another country. They wanted to see where they were in the process.
In March of 2017, they were able to send in all of the paper work for citizenship. His paperwork came back the end of June 2018. After his initial paperwork came back, they were able to get him a social security number, US passport, and Learners Permit. The last three were all finished within a month.
“I was just happy,” Jun said. “It didn’t even feel real.”
The AHS senior didn’t feel “different.” Rather, he was just happy it was done. The greatest lesson was patience.
He was initially unaware the paperwork had arrived, “Bethany knew it, came in the mail.” Bethany explained he was out of the house with Jeremy and their son Grant. “I waited until the family was together and surprised him,” she said. “Grant was excited. Callie and Isaac didn’t have a clue. We all (parents and grandparents) were very excited.”
As a citizen and possessing the accompanying paperwork, Jun can now do things some Americans take for granted like applying for a passport and gaining a learner’s permit. Bethany explained the Social Security number is the big piece because it is needed for everything.
Being adopted and gaining U.S. citizenship have taken nearly the whole five years Jun has been here.
Major decisions face most students graduating from high school. Jun plans to make the most of his new opportunities and stay in the U.S. for work and school. He expects to live in America the rest of his life.
Waiting on citizenship paperwork dragged out for more than a year. Jun and the rest of the family could only stand by. “God is in control, trust Him,” Bethany said. “In the middle it’s frustrating, at the end it’s worth it. It’s hard to live, have to find ways to do everything.”
Jun has a set routine, noting he wakes up, goes to school and comes back. Outside of that he likes fishing and sleep. A northern pike is his biggest catch though he earned a Master Angler for a bass.
A year from now Jun plans to be studying Computer Science. He has yet to choose a college though Berkley and MIT are on the list.
Other AHS exchange students have stayed in the US for college or as new residents. Few have found a new family and become citizens. Jun is just starting his, “pursuit of Happiness,” as a new American.