Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Consulate - and starting the process of dual citizenship

Well today was my visit to the Honduras consulate. Just picture it - an 8 months pregnant woman, her husband who hates to wait, a 4 yr old, a 3 yr old, a 2 yr old and a 1 yr old. Put us all into a 12'x12' room with 30+ other people - add a wait time of almost 5 hours and you have my day in a nutshell. Oh yeah and throw in a bit of Johan and Jolani being videotaped by Central America TV for an upcoming show. (just video of the "gringo catrachos" as the guy said - no questions or anything, LOL) If you haven't guessed, a fun day was had by all.

We get there, and we got to stand on the steps outside of the consulate where there has got to be the gum of every person who has walked by stuck on the wall and ground. I know this because I must have said "Johan/Mickey/Isa" (you choose the child) "do not touch the nasty gum" or some version of the same thing at least 500 times in the 10 minutes we were on the steps. I also said "We do not stick out fingers/sisters hair/Jolani's sippy cup into the pile of gum that is stuck in that hole" quite a few times as well.

When we finally get inside the door and get upstairs we sit down - and take up 4 of the 12 chairs that are in this 12'x12' space. I then make my first of many trips to the bathroom. Why they don't have a bathroom out in the main waiting area is beyond me - but you would think as long as they make you wait for everything they would have at least one bathroom out there. Nope not at all. I was excited because no sooner was I gone, that they brought the application to my husband to fill out, so I figured that today was going to go quickly. We filled out the application, he went and turned them in, and then we sat and waited. And watched the room fill up with people. And more people, and more people. Then some more people came in as well. My four were having fun smiling at people and just being good. They colored in the books that I brought for them and played nicely. My husband was called back after about 15 minutes, and he waited in the back for a good 20 - 30 minutes before he came out to get the birth certificates from me. I went back with him, and the kids and sat there and we waited some more. There was a hold up because my passport has my married name on it, and the kids birth certificates has my maiden name on it. (even though I pointed out to him it clearly states - Mothers last name before first marriage - they didn't understand why my last name is now different.) So we had some issues with that. But that was taken care of and we were again sent out to the main waiting room to wait. By now we no longer had seats to sit in, and the temperature in the room was well above 85, with no fans, no AC in the main waiting room, and it was filled with 30+ people. Finally we got a seat, and we waited, and waited and waited. I passed the time telling my kids that it was not ok to eat the gum off the windowsill/bottom of the chair/floorboard/floors/walls, and people watching.

While people watching this older asian guy came in begging for change, he apparently couldn't talk, as he was making guestures that he was hungry and wanted money. One guy - who was very obviously well fed looked at him and said that they were both in the same boat, that he was hungry too, and I had to laugh. The older asian guy made a motion with his hands that the Honduran guy was fat so he could deal with being hungry while the asian guy was skinny and please give him some money.

I also noticed that 90% of the women that visited the consulate today don't have a clue what size they really are. But my question is do these people look in the mirror and think they look good, or do they not realize that there clothes are 3 to 4 sizes to small? Or is this a culture thing? I ask because my sister in law was the same way before she got pregnant. And before anyone gets in an uproar - I am just making an observation, not making fun or anything else.

Around noon the kids were crying and hot and cranky and hungry as it was past their lunch time, and it was now their naptime. My husband was in the back doing who knows what, while I was in the waiting room with the 1 yr old fighting sleep on my left leg, my 2 yr old hot and sweaty and heavy like a sack of potatoes sleeping on my right leg. My 3 and 4 yr old, also hot and sweaty - tired of sitting quietly decided they were going to fight and tattle. Finally at almost 1:30PM my husband walks out and says lets go. I don't think I was ever so glad to see him in my life, LOL.

However, once this baby is born I get to do it all over again. And then once I get their birth certificates from Honduras, I get to go back yet again to get their passports. Oh I cannot wait!

For those who are about to try to get dual citizenship for your children, and aren't sure what you need to do or what it is you need to bring - here is the list.

  • two passport sized pictures
  • birth certificate of the child
  • passport of the non Honduran parent
  • passport or cedula of the Honduran parent *if the honduran parent isn't available, a notarized, verified by a lawyer, letter of authorization can be subsituted in place of the Honduran parent. The letter must say that permission is given to the other parent to apply for nationilization for the child*

You will turn all this information in along with an application, and after the consulate signs the paperwork and whatever else they do to the paperwork back there, the paperwork is sent to Honduras (to Teguc) so that the child can be registered there. Once the child is registered in Honduras the child's Honduras birth certificate must be sent back to the parent(s) in the US. Then the parent if they so desire, can call and make an appointment to get a passport at the consulate. To get the passport they will need

  • the Honduras birth certificate
  • passport of the non Honduran parent
  • passport or cedula of the Honduran parent *if the Honduran paren't isnt available, a notarized, verified by a lawyer, letter of authorization can be substituted in place of the Honduran parent. The letter must say that permission is given to the other parent to get a passport for the child*

Next up - getting the car to the port.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Getting the car ready to send.

It is now 21 days until he leaves. Ugh - the days are going by to fast. I can't remember if I said in the last post that we got a car for him to send to Honduras or not, but if I didn't tell you, well now you know. :)

On Sunday, while I took the little ones to Walmart to get their passport pictures taken for our outing next week to the Honduras Consulate, he was packing up boxes. At least that was the plan. I don't know what he was going to pack up as we did most of that this past week. When I pulled into the driveway him and Andre were in the back seat of the car fighting a HUGE box. My brilliant husband decided that he was going to put a box in the back seat - but the problem is the box is so big it wont even fit out the front door, much less into the car. So he put the box into the car and was taping it together when I pulled up. I got out the van and was just watching him, and he stopped and looked at me and smiled. He was so proud of himself. Then I looked at the front seat. I am the one who is supposed to be driving this car to the port. I am a big girl. Not just tall, but I am fat too. Plus I am 8 months pregnant. In a car normally to drive, I need the front seat all the way back for my legs. (I am 1/2" away from being 6 ft tall) I due to my baby belly, I can't sit with the seat back straight up - although when not pregnant that isn't comfortable to do either. But as I look into the front seat I realize that my 90 pound skin and bones Andre wouldn't be able to fit in the seat. I had to laugh. When I explained to my husband that I can't fit in the seat with it like that he got mad and began to mumble to himself and said something about my not being able to make any sacrafice and be unconfrtable for just a little bit. That made me laugh even more. It isn't about being uncomfortable, its about not being able to fit in the seat. I think he was just mad because it wasn't going to work, and I told him before it wouldn't, but he had to see for himself that it wouldn't work. I put the seat back to where I needed it and it squished the box up a good amount, LOL. He has yet to take the box back out of the back seat, but he hasn't filled it with anythign yet either.

When we got the car, he thought I was going to take all the kids to the MVA/DMV to get a title for this car. Then I reminded him that I am not that stupid to go spend the day there with all the kids. So he took off yesterday so that I could go to the MVA/DMV to get the car titled in my name, so that I could send it. I get to the front of the line and find out that the paperwork I have is wrong. I have a photocopied paper, and I need the original 3-copy carbon paper. So I made a phone call to the guy we bought the car from, and he sent me to a tag and title service.

I was a little wary about going somewhere else than to the MVA/DMV but I figure its worth a try. So I get the directions printed off from Mapquest, and head on down there. I pull into the parking lot and am confused. I look at this HUGE building and it says 3 Brothers all over it. I call again to verify I am in the right place, and they assure me that I am. Well this has got to be the best mix of businesses that I have ever seen. For your one stop shopping pleasure you can...

  • get title and tags at 3 Brothers Title and Tag Services
  • get your hair cut at 3 Brothers Unisex Hair Salon
  • get your drink on at 3 Brothers Liquor Store
  • wash your clothes at 3 Brothers Laundromat
  • get your taxes done at 3 Brothers Tax Preperation Services
  • get your freak on as they rent XXX DVD/VHS movies for 4 hours at a time
  • get your eat on at the 3 Brothers deli
  • pay your bills at the bill pay register
  • do misc. shopping at the 3 Brothers Drug Store
  • get your travel on by buying Baltimore bus passes
  • get your park on by renting a parking space - only $60/month
  • and more.

I was having so much fun just looking around and trying to figure out this whole set up. I mean who would have thought that all of these businesses could work so well together under one roof. I really was just blown away. Also while I was there, this little old lady came in wheeling a little wire basket thing behind her selling used washclothes because she had no more cigarettes, and no money to buy them. Nothing like downtown Baltimore to make you smile.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I am starting to feel like things are working out...

Thank God that Juan had his appointment today at the Consulate. If it wasn't for him, I don't know if I would ever get through to the Consulate for information. I texted him some information to ask for me, and we now have a time to go to the consulate to get the younger 4 their passports, and he picked up a card that has the CORRECT email address (hopeully - I haven't actually checked the card out to know for sure, LOL) and he picked up all the paperwork that we need to take with us for our appointment. The one thing I am worried about though is he said that they told him that both Lale and I have to be there to sign papers for the kids. So I don't know how I am going to get the passports and papers for the new baby. But I will ask them when we get there. There is still time. It is going to cost $200 total for the passports, which in all reality isnt that much. He can pay for that before he goes ;)

He now only has 4 weeks left. 28 days from now at this time he will be in Honduras for his first night, and I will probably be sitting here crying my eyes out already missing him. We packed up more stuff over this weekend, and he bought a car on Sunday night so that we can pack the car up with his stuff and it helps in two ways. One he saves money on shipping out the three boxes of his stuff (which would end up costing more money than it would cost to ship the car) and two he will have a car until we get there, which is good for him.

I only have 286 days until I get on that plane and make my way back to him. WOW that sounds like it is a long way away, and I guess technically it is. But those 286 days will fly by. And there is so much to do in that time. I am starting to get a little overwhelmed just thinking about it. Not so much the paperwork (although I know that that in itself will be tedious) but more the last few months of packing and discarding and finding what I need to find to send and just getting ready. I don't even want to think about when it comes time to day goodbye to my mom. I am trying to talk her into going with me, I mentioned it again tonight and she just said, we'll see. LOL. I think I am wearing her down, as it wasn't a NO.

Friday, September 7, 2007

How many Hondurans need to call the Consulate in one day??

This is Johan and Lale goofing off last week. It is rare to find a picture of Lale with a smile.

I looked at the list of things that I needed to do according to what I found online and at the embassy website. I am a little bit more informed in what I need to do, however I do have questions, so I decided to call the Consulate. Now having had to call before to get information and make an appointment for my husband to get his passport, I know that they are busy. However these past couple of days I have been calling (for my husbands nephew as well - he is leaving with my husband and needs his passport) and the phone never rings. It always is busy. If I didn't know any better I would bet my money that when they open up at 9:30AM, they take the phone off the hook, and only replace it for 2 minutes every 3 hours until 4:00PM when they replace it for the night as they walk out the door, LOL. I mean seriously, are there that many Hondurans in MD, DC, VA, West VA, and Delaware calling the Consulate all day long for multiple days? I find that very hard to believe. They have an email address listed on the website. However it is a non working email address. Of course - why would they need a working email address?

Today, not only did I try to call the Consulate, I also packed up most of the DVD's so that when Lale leaves (he is trying to get a car so that he can pack most stuff up to save money by not shipping it via Zuleta) he can take it with him. That gives me one less thing to worry about and one less thing I have to pack. And it makes me feel like I did something useful, and productive, LOL.

So this is my list of things that I need to do in regards to speaking with the Embassy.
  • find out if I have to apply for a resident visa for my kids, who can claim double citizenship, or if the fact that they have a double citizenship means I don't have to apply for them at all, they can just go. (which will save me close to $4000 in fees)
  • find out what it is that I need to bring with me to the consulate so that I can file the paperwork needed so that they can claim this double citizenship
  • make an appointment to file the paperwork before my husband leaves
  • find out what I can do about this new baby since my husband wont be here when he is born, so that this baby can have double citizenship as well.
  • get birth certificates, police record, health certificate and certificate of income for me and Andre and Jordan (and for everyone else if it comes out that I need it)
  • all of these things need to be notarized
  • all of these things need to be authenticated by the Distric Office of MD
  • all of these things need to be authenticated by the State Department of Maryland
  • all of these things need to be authenticated by the State Department nearest to the Consulate of Honduras in DC (not sure why it has to be authenticated by two state departments, but whatever...why make things easy?)
  • THEN... take all of these things to the Consualte of Honduras to be authenticated.
  • and all of these things have their own fees attached to them. I am not sure what the fees are by the district office and the state departments, but for the Consulate, it is $50 per page.
  • I then need to fill out the application for the resident visa and sign it in front of the Consul. ($150 for that)
  • I have to swear that I am not nor ever have been a member of the Communist Party. (thats $50 to swear that I am not a Communist - couldn't it be cheaper to swear that?)
  • and then I need to pay another $50 to swear that I will abide by the rules of Honduras.
I so want to get ahold of them so that I can have in writing what it is exactly that I need to do, and a timeline to do it all then. I also know that once in Honduras, I have to get a lawyer there to help finish filing the paperwork there. I am not even thinking about what it is that I have to do here at home to get ready - I don't think I can handle all of that right now, LOL.

I thought that I would share a couple of pictures of my family, so that you can get to know the characters in this play called life.

This is Andre, my oldest son, who will be 12 in December. He is such a smart child. I almost said boy, but he really isn't a boy. He is a young man. ..:::gasp:::.. he is a preteen. When did that happen?

This is Jordan, who will be 10 in December. She is my big helper with her brothers and sisters. And she does it because she wants to, she is so good.

This is Micaella, aka Mickey. She is 4.5 and thinks she is 18, LOL. She is a little miss know it all, but is also a big helper.

This is Victoria aka Isa, and she is the quiet pretty easy going one. She is sneaky though. She will start a fight, but in such a way that if you didn't know her, you would never have known that she was involved. She is my moms "perfect little princess who can do no wrong" LOL. She is 3, but will be 4 in December

This is Johan, my 2 yr old Evil Kinevil. He is such a sweet heart, and he is such a momma's boy. He loves to be by my side, doing whatever he is doing as long as he is near me. He will come by me, give me a big hug and kiss and say to me Mommy, I love you.

This is Jolani aka Lana. She is my 1 yr old miracle baby girl. She has two moods. Happy and smiling all the time, or throwing a temper tantrum because things aren't going her way. I much prefer the smiling Lana to the Temper Tantrum Lana. She likes to give kisses as well.

Soon to be added to our family, is the new baby boy, who as of now is due in about 8 weeks, but since Lale isn't going to be here, the baby should be making his appearance in about 7 weeks. His first name will be Arles, after his father - and we will call him Lalito. His middle name has yet to be decided, but we have narrowed it down to three names. Levi, Moises, or Gabriel.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

My husband will leave in a month - I will follow in 9 months

The plane ticket has been bought, and the bags are just about packed. Right now Lale is just doing last minute stuff and finishing up the month working before he leaves. I still have nine months until we leave. By we, I mean, me and our gaggle of children. By gaggle I mean 7 kids.

  • Andre - my almost 12 yr old son.
  • Jordan - my almost 10 yr old daughter.
  • Micaella (Mickey) - my 4.5 yr old daughter.
  • Victoria (Isa) - my almost 4 yr old daughter. (yes I will have two 4 yr olds at the same time - Mickey and Isa are 10 months apart)
  • Johan - my 2.5 yr old son.
  • Jolani - my just turned 1 yr old daughter
  • Lalito - my yet to be born (due in 8 weeks) son.

With the exception of last night, I have yet to cry over the fact that my husband is leaving. I don't know if it is just out of pure exhaustion from not being able to sleep, or being very good at putting it out of my mind. I know as the day gets closer, the tears will begin to fall. I don't want to have this baby and him not be there. I don't want the baby to be 7 - 8 months old the first time that Lale gets to meet him in person. But that is the way it has to be, and I understand it totally. My father in law, whom I love so much, is in Honduras taking care of all of our stuff, and buy stuff I mean, our land, and our animals, and overseeing our house being built - or being finished I should say, and fighting with the helpers that are supposed to be working on the land - but instead they spend all of their time complaining. And my father in law is just to old to be dealing with that. He isnt in that great of health, and its just time that Lale goes back. It is time for us to take care of him, and let him rest. So I am not complaining that he has to come back, it is just upsetting that we can't all go as a family. Thats all.

Meanwhile I have about 9 months to do what I need to do so that I will be ready to go, and it seems like it is so far away, but really, it will be here before you know it. I am a little nervouse about going. More so about leaving my mom I guess. I talk to my mom 4 or 5 times a day usually, but once we are there, it will be much less frequently. And I think I will be going through mom withdrawel, LOL.

My husband is worried that I am not going to go, that I will change my mind at the last minute. I had to laugh because he said to me I had to let him bring two of the kids as collateral, so that I HAVE to go, LOL. He is so silly. I so don't want to be away from him again. (He went to Honduras back in '03 for 10 months and it was hard for me.) I am going to miss him everyday. I am trying to show him how to use the internet so that I can send him emails, and post pictures of the kids online so that he can see them grow, without me spending so much money on mailing stuff down there. Or to tide him over in-between the picture shipments.

Things that I have to do before I leave -

  • Call the consulado/embajada and get copies of all papers that I need.
  • get enough money for everything that I need (which is LOTS of money, LOL).
  • get Honduras passports for all the kids - this needs to be done before my husband leaves.
  • get USA passports for all the kids - get the papers that need to be signed and notarized done before my husband leaves.
  • get everyones paperwork and have it all notarized and certified and what not.
  • find a reliable company to ship my stuff down there.
  • pay off the van and ship it down.
  • but the plane tickets.
  • start weeding out things I don't need to take.
  • there is a bunch more, but my brain is going blank right now.

Try to talk my mom into going down with me to help me get settled, and to help with everyone on the plane. (Can you imagine - me alone, with 5 kids ages 5 and under, plus the older two, on a plane for approx 6 hours, and a layover - which means I have to shepard them all to another plane. Sounds like fun to me! Not.)