'I'm an American': Adopted by U.S. parents, deported to Brazil

By Associated Press

NITEROI, Brazil — Paul Fernando Schreiner paces around a sparsely furnished room, swatting mosquitoes from his arms and neck as he wonders if today will be any different from all the others.

The heavy, dense air of this city across the bay from Rio de Janeiro feels insufferable, nothing like the dry heat of Phoenix, where the 36-year-old had been living when he was deported by the U.S. last year.

Conversations are rare for Schreiner as he speaks no Portuguese and few people here speak anything but Portuguese. But language is only one issue: The food and even the sports Brazilians follow — Schreiner likes American football more than soccer — don’t feel right. Inside his head, every day is a fight against boredom, loneliness and desperation.

“I am anything but Brazilian,” said Schreiner, who was adopted from Brazil by a U.S. family three decades ago. “I am an American.” . . .

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Paul  Fernando Schreiner, right, sits next to Segisfredo Silva Vanderlai, a  pastor who has been lodging Schreiner since a few weeks after his  arrival, in Niteroi, Brazil, on April 11, 2019.Leo Correa / AP file

Paul Fernando Schreiner, right, sits next to Segisfredo Silva Vanderlai, a pastor who has been lodging Schreiner since a few weeks after his arrival, in Niteroi, Brazil, on April 11, 2019.Leo Correa / AP file