Recently we went through the process of obtaining documentation for Sarah making her at least a semi-legal citizen of the US. Being born in Austria didn’t make her an automatic citizen there, and as it turns out she’s not yet a citizen of the US either. The paperwork was approved, but until such time that she takes up residence in the US, she’s not yet a full citizen. It doesn’t make much sense to me. It’s sort of like “The Terminal” where Tom Hanks gets to New York City only to find out he doesn’t have a country anymore and is denied entry into the US, then spends what seems like an eternity living in the international terminal of the airport learning how to survive and speak English. Oh wait, I think I was supposed to say “Spoiler alert” before I explained the movie. My bad, sorry about that. Moving on, little Sarah’s life is sort of like that movie now. She’s not Austrian, but she’s also not quite 100% American yet either. She doesn’t speak the language (or any language for that matter) and yet she manages to charm the pants off of everyone.
At any rate, when you give birth abroad, there is a boatload of paperwork that has to be done at the consulate office. They want to know everything about everything, which can be rather stressful when you can’t find half of the paperwork they supposedly want to see. You end up jumping through hoops to get everything in order, then once you get there, are greeted by the consulate who says “Oh, you’re both American? This is easy then, you’re already approved!” I sort of felt like we had just signed up for some credit card with a mysteriously low APR that would jump up to a billion percent once we walked out the door, or bought some off brand tv that is absolutely going to stop working the day after the warranty expires. But the good news is that she will get her papers and she’ll have a country as soon as she can spend some time living in it, and thank goodness for that!
One of the main pieces of vital documentation needed for the baby was her passport photo, which yes, requires a regular photo just like any adults passport would. You want to have some fun? Try taking passport photos of your 11 day old baby that meet the requirements. They end up looking like this… baby mug shots. Never mind that we had her in stripped jumpers… that was a small oversight on our part.
In the end, we happened to walk past a place that took passport photos and was magically located just around the corner from the consulate office. Their photos came out much better. At least now I don’t have to worry that her passport application will get rejected because she already looks like a criminal.