American Hannah and Yorkshireman James share their story.
'My husband, James, and I met on the social network "Instagram" in April 2012. Of course at the time, I did not know that he would be the person I would spend my life with. He simply "liked" one of my pictures, and I "followed" him, and in turn he followed me back. I had done this same thing with several other strangers on the site, thinking nothing of it.
'And then one day, he posted a picture of one of his toes which was bleeding after he had gone out for a run, and I asked him for some running advice, which he gave me, as well as encouragement in my newfound love for fitness. Soon we were commenting back and forth on each other’s pictures and then we became friends on Facebook, and eventually we exchanged phone numbers when he offered to send me a book about running, and that was when we started using our iPhone's to text and have video calls using FaceTime.
'We would text almost all day, from as soon as I woke up until he was going to bed over in the UK, and then before he went to bed he would call and we would talk for hours. A few months went by, and every day out relationship grew a little stronger. We never once ran out of things to talk about. We made each other laugh until we could hardly breathe anymore and it was so much fun learning things about each other’s cultures and personal habits and pet peeves.
'He sent me the book about running, and a copy of newspaper that he reads, a lottery ticket, and an English penny, as well as one of his own t-shirts and a little double-decker bus like the ones in London. I have all of these things to this day, and I still like to wear the shirt that he sent, especially when I find myself missing him.
Even though I knew how slim the chances were that we would ever meet face to face, I found myself falling for him. He was the kindest, sweetest man I had ever met and for the first time in a long time I felt like I had a connection with someone, and it felt real and I felt secure and safe telling him things that I had never told anyone else. I knew I had found the best friend I had ever had in a person I had never met before.
'In July, James announced that he was going to come to America to meet me, and that he had booked the tickets for a flight in November. In the months that followed, we not only grew closer but confessed to each other that we had strong feelings for one another. We never actually said that we loved each other, I would not allow it, because even though I felt as though I could very well be in love with him, I would not allow myself to say it to his face until we had met in person, when I could be sure all of this was not just a cruel joke.
'It was all so crazy, like something out of a movie or a fairy tale. I hoped with everything in me that he was serious, I hoped I would be meeting the man of my dreams in November, and by all accounts, I would be. It was just so unbelievable that I had to simply wait and see what November would bring.
'While we waited, we sent each other letters, and we somehow ended up calling each other penguins, and he sent me a pebble from the beach at St Anne's, because male penguins always give female penguins a pebble to start a nest. I still have it, as well.
'On November 28, 2012, he arrived. It all seemed to happen in slow motion, watching the van pull up in front of the house and seeing him getting out of the passenger's seat. And while I was walking to him I do not remember having any control of my legs, as though gravity was guiding me and somehow keeping me from fainting right there in the driveway. James and I hugged for the first time and he whispered "hello" to me and I said "hi", and then he kissed me. It was at that point that I could admit to myself, finally that I was in love with him.
'James was everything I hoped for and more, and spending the days with him was like a dream. We would go on long walks and just talk, and it was as though we had known each other for years. It was strange having inside jokes with someone I had only known in person for a few days.
'In January 2013, James asked me to marry him and of course I said yes. It was not long after we were engaged that we found out that I was pregnant. We were happy, but we were afraid at the same time and we knew we needed to find a way to make America James' home.
'That was when we ran into our first bit of trouble with immigration. I needed to be earning more than $25,000 to be eligible to sponsor James and our child, and at the time I had not finished high school or college and was not employed or even qualified for a job that paid that much.
'In the meantime, James went home to England so that he would not overstay his tourist visa, and he was gone until the end of March.
'On April 11, 2013 my water broke. I was only 14 weeks pregnant. On April 12th, we lost our baby boy, Lennon.
'We were devastated and heartbroken. It was some time after Lennon's funeral that we decided that we wanted to be married as soon as possible, wanting the happiness that was sure to accompany our marriage to take away some of the pain and grief.
'So, on April 27, 2013, we were married.
'And as expected, despite the pain, it was the happiest day of our lives. I remember laying in bed with him that night, holding onto him as we fell asleep, simply thanking God for bringing James into my life. I am so happy to be spending the rest of my life with him.
'It was in July when we discovered that I was pregnant again. We knew we had to make a choice, and because James would not be able to work or even stay legally in the US any longer, and I would not be able to go to the UK with him because I would not be given medical care there, we knew it would not be an easy choice to make.
'In the end we decided we needed to go to the UK, because at least there James would be allowed to work and provide for us legally. But I have to stay here in America and wait until after March 2014, when our baby is due, to come over there for 6 months at a time, because UK laws state that unless James is earning more than £18,600, our baby and myself will not be allowed to live there permanently. And that threshold is nearly impossible to reach for more than half of the UK population.
'We feel absolutely robbed of our rights as human beings. James is missing out on this pregnancy, one that we were so thankful for after the tragedy of losing our first son in April. He does not get to be there when our child is born, and he will not be able to hold our baby until I arrive there, perhaps two months or more after the baby is born and we are well enough to travel. We are being cheated out of this experience, an experience which every married couple on earth has a right to, because we don't earn enough money.
James discovers the sex of his baby.'We, a young couple, who love each other deeply and have dedicated more time to each other than most, to simply have a conversation, and been through so much together already, are being forced to live apart and miss one of the most beautiful and spellbinding miracles life has to offer, because the government decided to put a price tag on the right to be married to someone who is not from their country.
'This is the most inhumane, most ridiculous, and most heart-breaking act I have ever witnessed in my life, that someone with too much power honestly thinks that they have any right to keep a family apart.
'James and I are not the only ones that their selfishness is affecting. There are hundreds, if not thousands of families in the UK being torn apart, if not completely destroyed by these unfair rules, all because their husband, or their wife is not from the United Kingdom.
'James and I believe that these people, like us, deserve to be together and to be happy, just like every other couple in the world. We have found love, we just had to look a little further than most to find it, and what we have found cannot, and will not be taken from us.
'All of us need to stand up and fight for our rights to have a family, regardless of where our spouse is from. Every last one of us has a voice, and we believe that if we all come together we will be heard.
James and Hannah Capon.
James says :
'My wife and I would like our story highlighted to help raise awareness and hopefully make a change in the law for all the families affected by the cruel and unfair UKBA requirements.'