The story of how I met my wife in one of my travels to Hawaii, to how we fell in love while she was living half way around the world from me and to her moving here from her home land of the Philippines is a fascinating love story that would take up more space than I have available for writing here. All I can say is it was a life changing experience for the both of us. And now there's a third person involved with our son Mark Jr..

Let me give you at least a little timeline of things. We met in February 2007. All we could do is communicate by phone. When it's morning here, it's night time there with a 14 hour time difference. I would travel to her country when I could to be with her. 2007 was a long distance relationship of extremes, but we both had total faith in the relationship because we loved each other and knew we would make it all come together.

Lorlane lived in a very upscale community in Manila in a very nice house. She had a good life there, but left it all behind to come to my country and begin a new life together with me.

I made a total of four trips to Asia to be with her. I often wondered how dramatic it was for her to move that far away from home like she was about to do. When I returned to Sioux Falls in June of 2008 from my fourth trip, she was by my side coming here to stay.

In August we were married that year. On our very first anniversary exactly one year later to the day, we were bringing a baby boy home from the hospital for the very first time.

I am extremely proud of Lorlane for many reasons. Just to name a few that pertain directly to this story are moving to a land half the world away, becoming a wife for the first time, becoming a mother for the first time, dealing with cold winters for the first time and becoming a citizen of the new country she moved to.

To be quite honest with you, I am not sure if I could have done all of this. But, Lorlane did and she is very happy and proud. She officially became a U.S. citizen in September 2012.

You and I take being a U.S. citizen for granted sometimes, at least I know I do. Watching Lorlane study and learn about our country so she could pass her examination was educating for me. Also seeing others become citizens during the swearing in ceremony at the courthouse in front of a judge was an eye opener. I realized how lucky we are that God allowed us to simply be born here. Being a U.S. citizen is being the best you can be.

This love story has a happy ending. We have a very happy marriage and a happy home with our son of 3 years. One day when he grows up, he will be most proud and thankful for what his mother did because it allowed him to come into existence on this Earth.

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