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Profiles in Immigration – Home for the Holidays

The holidays, for so many, are filled with joy and merriment. For newlyweds Joe and Camila, this Christmas season provides even more to reasons to celebrate – as they spend their first holiday together as husband and wife in the United States.

Maine newlyweds Joe and Camila. FordMurray attorney Aga Asbury assisted Joe as he sponsored Camila on a spousal green card.
Maine newlyweds Joe and Camila at an Ugly Sweater Christmas Party. The couple are celebrating their first Christmas together, after Joe sponsored Camila for a spousal green card.

Joe and Camila met in March on Christian Mingle, an online dating website. Joe, a native of Maine, and Camila, from São Paulo, Brazil, joined the dating site to meet singles who shared values rooted in their Christian faith. As they chatted online and talked on the phone, they realized they might have found “the one”.

Their first date confirmed their suspicions.

“We met for coffee, and talked for hours,” Camila said. “Before we knew it, we were having lunch at Panera Bread. We kept walking and talking. The next thing I knew, we were having dinner.”

Love at First Sight

It was love at first sight for the couple, both 27. “We talked about the future before our second date,” Camila said.

Joe and Camila say their relationship didn’t feel rushed. “We went into our relationship being honest about what we wanted to accomplish, and thinking seriously about the future,” he said. After a few months of dating, both Joe and Camila knew where things were headed. They wanted to move in together, and their religious beliefs guided them toward marriage. Four months after their first date, Joe took Camila to the park where they met on their first date, kneeled at her side, and proposed. Camila accepted on the spot.

“It was the most cute and sweet thing ever,” she said. “It was like a romantic American movie.”

The Green Card Process

Because Camila was in the United States on a student visa, the couple decided to marry and file for a spouse-sponsored green card. Joe and Camila were married in July in a small wedding ceremony in Maine.  They filed Camila’s green card paperwork in August. In November, Camila’s case was approved.

Since their wedding, the couple has been busy setting up their first home together, deciding what goes where, and planning for home renovations and projects. Joe has enjoyed Camila’s home cooking, which focuses on the simple foods with big flavors from her native Brazil. His favorite dish is a traditional Brazilian salad, featuring finely chopped onions, tomatoes, peppers and olives, in a vinaigrette with cilantro and olive oil.

A Special Christmas

The Christmas season has been a special time for the Joe and Camila – who are a celebrating a year of “firsts.” Camila is getting used to traditional American holiday foods. “You eat a lot of weird stuff – like cranberries with turkey,” she said through a laugh. “It’s not bad. It’s different… and good.”

Camila enjoyed choosing her first real Christmas tree at a Maine farm stand and is in love with the rich pine smell that fills her home. Another Christmas first for Camila is attending an Ugly Sweater Christmas Party. “It is really funny,” she said. “It’s nice to see everyone having so much fun.”

Joe appreciates sharing his family’s rich holiday traditions with Camila. “Christmas has always been a big deal for my family,” he said. “We have all the traditional things we do and places we like to go. Having my little family with me, doing all these things that mean so much to me is exciting. It indicates a new beginning for us.”

On Christmas Day, Joe and Camila will join his parents, four brothers and one sister in Southern Maine. Joe’s brother will travel from North Carolina, where he is stationed with the U.S. Army, bringing along his family of four that includes a newborn baby Joe and Camila have not yet met.

Year of Firsts

The couple still have many firsts to look forward to – Camila will celebrate a birthday in January, and the newlyweds will have their first Valentine’s Day together in February. And sometime around their one-year anniversary, the couple look forward to welcoming their first child.

“This has been the best year of my life, and I have been so excited every step of the way,” Joe said. “Every day just gets better and better.”

The attorneys and paralegal team at FordMurray are proud to be a small part of Joe and Camila’s story, and wish them all the warmth and happiness in the world as they spend their first of many holidays together.