We went to the US Embassy today to apply for Seth's passport, social security number, and "consular report of birth abroad," as well as to make him an official citizen of the United States of America.
The "Reader's Digest" version, as my father used to ask me for, is that the paperwork has been filed and that he should be official by next Wednesday. He is currently here illegally because he has no paperwork, but that will soon change! We will apply for a visa for him as well after we get his passport. Amazing how much faster it is to get it done here--only a week!
The long version for those of you like my mom who like the details...
When you're taking any sort of trip with a baby, you try to have them all fed, changed, and happy as close to departure as possible. We just never know how long some of these things will take, so the last thing I want is Seth needing to bed fed in the middle of our appointment with the consular. I was just saying last night how good he is during diaper changes and how he hasn't peed all over during one in forever. So today I was changing him and he started going a little. I grabbed a diaper and blocked it until he stopped. Not bad. As I am lifting his bottom up to apply A&D, he then proceeds to shoot poop out. Literally shoot it out. It got all over. Then guess who starts to pee all over AGAIN? Seth is squealing in great delight at this freedom without having a diaper attached to him. He ends up soaking wet...the left side of his body and his entire head. So now I have to give him a quick bath and change all his clothes. By the time I get done with that, it was 15 minutes before we had to leave and not tons of time for a hungry boy to eat.
We borrow a car, and Kevin gets us there safely. We realize the street we take into the city is only one way and not exactly sure how we're going to get back. We decide we'll worry about that later. We drive around awhile trying to find a parking space. We finally find one a few blocks away. I find the box where you pay for parking at the corner, and there is this very suspicious looking fellow hanging around the car. The license plates here say if you're a foreigner, so I did not feel comfortable with that guy lurking around the car and knowing that we are foreigners. We walk away and wait around the corner for a few minutes. We check and the guy is gone.
We find the photo store that the Embassy told me to go to for Seth's passport pictures. The lady asks us if we have something white. Like I carry around a white sheet to hang up behind me for passport pictures! The women start chattering in Hungarian and take his picture while he is sitting in the carseat. At least we were able to wake him up and get him to look at the camera so that his eye color can be seen. Kevin and I are not so sure about this because they are really strict about passport pictures having a white background and all of that. I send Kevin ahead to the Embassy while they get the pictures ready so that he can get in line for our appointment. Then the lady hands me these two photo-shopped pictures. She whited out the background all while trying not to cut out his hair because that also has to be visible in the passport photo. I am not sure if the Embassy will accept these but have no choice or time at this point.
I get to the Embassy and can't figure out how to get in because it's gated. Kevin is in line outside and points me to the guards...duh. After showing proof of citizenship, Seth and I are allowed in to wait in the short line. Two ladies behind us start discussing how cold our child must be. But then the one lady asks us if they can go ahead of us because our appointment will take so much longer than theirs will. We were on kind of a tight time frame though with borrowing someone's car, so I thought not. Kevin tried to explain that to them and that we had a 2:00 appointment. The lady said their appointment was at 1:00. My thought was why weren' they here an hour ago then?! Kevin told me that we need to respect our elders so to let them go first. The other lady kept telling her friend that we had a baby so we should go first. But then the guard asked the few people in front of us if we could go in front of them all because we had a baby. They all agreed, and no one seemed to mind, except for the lady in the back who wasn't being "cut" in line.
There were a few things that were taken from us when we went through security. The camera I understand, but my house keys? Beats me! They asked what about our cell phone, and we told them we didn't have one. They were astonished. I must admit that there have been several times when I wished we had one, but overall it hasn't been a big deal. If and when we get a car, then we will get one for sure. That way if we were ever in trouble we could actually get a hold of someone who definitely speaks English.
We got in pretty quickly for our first appointment to go over all of the paperwork. The people there are so helpful and nice. They helped me fill in some of the blanks that I was unsure about... mainly address stuff. We have 4 addresses, which one do they want? Not once did the lady seem annoyed or impatient with me! When was the last time you went to the DMV and got someone like that?! I nervously handed the passport photos to her after all of the other documents we had, and she didn't think twice. She just stapled the pictures to the form and that was that! Perhaps they are way more lenient with baby passport photos? By the way, he will have this passport for 5 years, so he's not going to look like his picture anyway by then!
We had a meeting with the consular to get some other thing that we needed about him being born abroad. They make this big deal about you needing their foreign birth certificate translated into English and then won't accept that as one of the things needed for the passport. So weird! But this other form we needed required us meet and answer a few questions with the consular. He sat down and said, "Let's make Seth an official citizen of the United States of America!" He, too, was super nice and helpful.
We finished at the Embassy, got the keys and camera back, and walked to the car. I was so sick to my stomach the whole way back wondering if the car would still be there and in good condition. Praise the Lord it was!!! We figured out how to get back home all on our own, too!
And by the way, the little pooper slept the entire time we were gone except for the 2 minutes it took to get his passport picture taken.