About a month before she was born, I contacted our local US consulate to inquire what was needed to obtain the US birth certificate. I thought my mom could bring down any missing documents when she visited. Amazingly, we already had everything we needed from the US because of getting multiple copies of documents for the adoption: my certified birth certificate, Jake's certified birth certificate, and an original marriage certificate.
Once the baby was born we had to make an appointment with the US Consular Agency of Cochabamba. The first date available was 15 days later! Then we got word that the consulate was closing for the first 15 days of November. Sigh. I emailed and called, trying to find out if our appointment would be changed, but no one responded. When I received a confirmation email on Monday, two days before our appointment, we scrambled to get the baby's Bolivian birth certificate, gather our documents, and fill out pages and pages of forms until midnight the night before..... Only to go and find out... Yep, the office was closed! Good thing I already made another appointment, just in case, for November 20. (Wednesdays are the only day they work afternoons, which is when we need to go because of Jake's work.)
Check out the amount of paperwork for one little baby!!
For Sophia's documents in BOLIVIA:
live birth certificate from doctor (check)
birth certificate from a Registro Civil (check)
ID card from SEGIP (check)
passport from immigration (will do next week)
For Sophia's US documents:
social security number
(We'll apply for all of this on November 20 at the consulate.)
Yesterday when we realized the consulate was indeed closed, we instead went to immigration to ask about Jake's visa renewal and also the process to get Sophia's Bolivian passport. Two different police officers directed us to the foreigner office, even though I tried to explain that our baby is actually Bolivian, even if she has foreigner parents! Sure enough, once we waited in that long line, the employee asked why we'd been sent to him. He escorted us to another office where the man was a little befuddled as to how our baby could be Bolivian. "She was born HERE?" Yes. "Oh, you adopted her!!" he exclaimed, like he'd finally figured it out.
We learned that Jake's renewal process will be pretty simple, and that Sophia needed her Bolivian "cedula de identidad" (ID card) to get a passport. We knew that SEGIP (the ID authority here in Bolivia) would already be closed for the day, but we went by to check the wall outside for requirements.
So today I went to the bank to pay for the ID card first, then Jake came straight from work and we started the process. It was amazingly quick! There was an extra step because Jake and I are not Bolivians, but people were very helpful. I really liked their new offices. When they were downtown, I'd wait at least 3 hours minimum with street kids, and we'd have to start off super early in the morning to be assured a "number".
It would have been a piece of cake, except for...
Oh, the picture!! In Round 1, Jake and I woke a very sleepy baby and propped her against my body (draped with a white blanket for the background) and tried to keep her awake while the lady tried for a proper picture. People were standing and craning their heads in the waiting area to ooh and ahh at the cute little baby.
In Round 2, we laid her down on a white backdrop and a folded white blanket on top of another desk and FOUR of us tried to get her picture. Unfortunately the employee hadn't entered the data into the computer yet to get to the picture taking stage in the program, and by the time she had, we had one thoroughly mad baby (not to mention that feeding time had come and gone!). It was suggested that I nurse her.
In Round 3, Jake and I were now hot and bothered (how hard is it to immediately take a picture when the baby was actually still and looking the right direction?!) but at least the baby was overall calmer. This time Jake took over the camera aiming while the lady was poised at the computer to click the picture taking button. I manned the baby to keep her somewhat squared up with the camera while keeping both her hands and mine free of the picture area, and another employee shaded her from the bright sunlight and shook a jar of paper clips to direct her gaze!!
Then, of all things, they deleted a perfectly good picture, thinking that we could get one better. AHHHH, seriously?!?! We finally did, but boy it took some work.
I didn't notice (didn't WANT to notice) if by this point the others waiting (and now stacking up behind us) were still amused or wishing we would just hurry up!! I mean, how hard can it be to get a tiny baby to look straight at the camera, both eyes open, both ears visible, not crying, no funny faces, and no hands in the picture.
Apparently, very hard!
We came home and took a nap. The three of us! :)
It's fun though to be going through the checklist for our own baby. I've named babies before but this is the first one with my/our last name. That's pretty special! :)
(And she does officially have my last name in the country of Bolivia: Sophia Katherine Beaty Thompson. One of the forms we'll present at the consulate appointment is for a name change so that her US documents come back with just one last name.)
Most of the paperwork we'll present at the US Consulate on November 20. We had to read/fill out over 25 pages of forms.