Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Birthday Party Fun

Birthday parties are interesting events for Angelina. She's at that stage where she wants every party to be about her, and she wants us to always sing "Happy Birthday" to her. As you can imagine,that makes it difficult when we go to other kids' birthdays.

She seems to be improving though. On Saturday we went to our friend Juanito's 3rd birthday. She doesn't know they share a special bond - when she was about 9 months old and he was about 1 month old, they came over for a visit. He had a cold. His mom, Nicole, used a bulb to suction out his nose. She laid it down. Angelina picked it up and sucked out its contents into her mouth.....you can't get closer than that! (And of course 3 days later, her cold started)

Anyway, after saying Juanito's gift was "mine" all morning, when we got to the party, she immediately said "This is for you!" And then at present opening time, she happily handed it to him to open. Of course, then she wanted him to play with that present and ONLY that present, but we're working on it....

As for singing, she very happily sang "Happy Birthday Dear Juanito" with no complaints. So, we're getting there.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Little Guy

Or not so little...

I have no idea how much he weighs at the moment, but it's probably around 15lbs (6.8 kg).

He certainly likes his Mommy's Milk.

I can spend all day just looking at him.

Sometimes known as Buddha Baby

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

On parenthood

"Your children are not your children
They are the sons and the daughters of life's longing for itself
They come through you but they are not from you
And though they are with you they belong not to you
You can give them your love but not your thoughts
They have their own thoughts
You can house their bodies but not their souls
For their souls live in a place of tomorrow which you cannot visit
Not even in your dreams
You can strive to be like them but you cannot make them just like you..."
-- Kahlil Gibran

Friday, March 19, 2010

Passports and how to be a US Citizen

The "Medical Facility"

Ah, the logic of the US government.

When Angelina was born, we ordered her passport when she was about 6 weeks old and did a rush order because we were travelling in 3 weeks. Fortunately, no problems, it arrived and off to Switzerland we went.

It’s a good thing we had no such trip planned after Lenaïc was born.

When he was 11 weeks old we dutifully went to the passport office with his official, certified birth certificate from the State of Texas. Signed appropriate documents indicating we were his parents, paid our fee and sent it off.

Yesterday he received a letter. “The evidence you submitted is not acceptable for passport purposes for the reason below:
Your birth certificate does not indicate the medical facility where you were born, so you will need to submit a combination of additional documents to support your claim to United States citizenship.”

Huh? A birth certificate is not sufficient evidence???? What does physical building where the infant was born matter? For the record - the place of birth is listed as "Home" with our physical address, which is in, you know, the US.

And what amazes me, is what is accepted as additional documentation:

*Mother’s birth certificate (ok, this makes sense, although the mother need not be born in the US for the baby to be a citizen). But that’s not enough, I must ALSO send other documents:

• Church records – um, because church records are somehow considered legally valid proof of citizenship? Last I checked, you didn’t have to be a US citizen to be baptized in a US church

• Medical records created within the first year of birth showing your name, date, and place of birth – um, because you have to be a US citizen to receive medical care in the US? Last I checked, all you had to do was be able to pay to receive medical care. Not to mention such records rarely indicate place of birth.

• Immunization record that shows your name, date and place of birth – um, because you have to be a US citizen to receive immunizations? No. You just have to show up at the public health clinic and pay. We don’t ask your citizenship before giving you a shot.

But somehow, all these are all more acceptable than a BIRTH CERTIFICATE?!

Fortunately, we’re in no rush.

Fortunately I happen to have a certified copy of my birth certificate (done a few years ago, but they don’t indicate it has to be recent) because I wisely ordered a couple of extra when I needed it for our marriage. Otherwise, it can take months to receive by mail.

And fortunately we’re doing this now. Most Americans don’t apply for a passport until they’re an adult. I can’t imagine Lenaïc having to track down all that info in 20 years, when he’s lived in multiple places, has no idea whom his doctor was in his first year of life, and they don’t keep immunization records past 18.

Hopefully I can gather sufficient evidence, and I’ll throw in copies of both Frédéric’s and my passport (he’s a naturalized US citizen now) for good measure. But really, this is ridiculous. Homebirths may not be the norm in the US (as they are in The Netherlands), but they’re not that rare. And why should the building matter? He could have been born in a field, but as long as it’s US soil, esp. if he’s born to American parents (my place of birth is also listed on his birth certificate so my citizenship should be clear), he’s a citizen!

[Friends suggested I send a photo of me giving birth, with a picture of our house and a google earth map. Here we are about 12 hours after birth, in my bed, at home. In the US.]

In the interest of full disclosure, I did some searching as I vaguely remembered some story about birth certificate fraud. Sure enough there was. However, we're not in a border community, and my midwife is licensed by the state board and has not been involved in any fraud accusations.....

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