Whew! I feel like it’s been forever since I’ve written about life and living here in Mexico. Last week was a whirlwind of excitement (and a little stress) as I rushed around getting things in order for our visit to Monterrey.
I don’t know how many people have made comments about my baby’s nationality–before she was even born. They were worried about her not being American. I would just say, “She’s going to be American. I am American. Therefore, no matter where I have her–she’ll be American too.” It’s funny how (as Americans) we often don’t understand the ends and outs of being a citizen.
For example, the above statement.
I, of course, grew up in the United States (of American), and lived there most of my life. When I began paperwork on Ale, I had to prove that I had lived there a sufficient amount of time in order to transfer my citizenship to her. It’s really only five years–but when you’re the one searching through your paperwork to find proof, it seems like longer. It wasn’t too hard for me, because I have college transcripts that show I lived in the States. (I like to have extra college transcripts just in case…) Some of the citizens that were there trying to register their newborns were having a more difficult time. My heart was breaking for a couple who drove 8 (dangerous) hours to the consulate to try to gain citizenship for their little girl. They were unable to show five years, and were encouraged to try to get more evidence.
I was impressed by the American officer at the consulate. He was incredibly kind and empathetic to everyone. When a couple wouldn’t have enough evidence on hand, he would ask questions and list documents that they could bring to strengthen their case. When exasperated Americans acted like jerks while trying to secure passport pages, he just kindly apologized and kept on track. If there was one great thing about our time waiting for Ale’s papers–it was watching him.
So, to register your child’s birth abroad in Mexico, you first must make an appointment online. That would suggest that you would be seen at that time, right? Wrong. This is the government we’re dealing with here… We made our appointment at 8:45. It was the only appointment available on that day. But we knew from the appointments available on other days that appointments began at 8:15 and ended at 9:30. We showed up to the consulate, and waited to enter through security. Once inside, we were instructed by a guard to take a number. The room was already full–and we joined the masses in waiting.
At 9:00, the office behind the windows began to show signs of life.
As numbers were called, anxious Americans would go first to a window where they would pay for what they hoped to obtain. They dropped off paperwork, and sat down to wait. After a while, they were called to a second window where a Mexican worker would have prepared their file. They would ask questions, and get information needed for the American officer. The ONE American officer mentioned above. Eventually, the American officer would call them to a third window where they would take vows promising that the paperwork was correct. FINALLY, they would receive the news that they waited for.
We didn’t get to meet with the American officer until after 1:00 in the afternoon.
I can’t help but think there has to be a better way to do this–but I guess it would require hiring more people. And maybe they prefer to stay behind glass. I really expected to come in, sit down at a desk with an officer, and explain why I had the paperwork that I had. Not so.
In any case, we were SO excited when the amazing officer let us know that sufficient evidence had been provided, and we could apply for our passport. I know people get excited when adults become American through the naturalization process, but it was pretty wonderful to kiss my American baby too.
What makes me even happier, is that she gets the best of both worlds! Should she ever choose to study here in Mexico–she can! If she wants to vote in the States–she can! I am so happy to have a little girl who will get to really be a part of two very different countries.
What a lucky little Mexican-American we have on our hands.