Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Tangled Webs

One of the things we'd like to do before the Little It pops out is get married, mostly so that Karel doesn't have to go to the Hague to declare himself the dad (I'm not actually sure he has to do that, but it wouldn't surprise me) and so that the baby can have dual citizenship. So a few weeks ago, we made an appointment for a consultation with the gemeente, to make sure that all of our ducks were in a row, and to start the necessary process of getting the paperwork.

Two things immediately became clear: I might need to pay (yet another) visit to the US Embassy in Amsterdam, to get a "I was never married" paper signed and stamped. I can't remember if I'd sent the original to the IND, but in any case, that's not too difficult to do and that can be readily arranged.

Item the second is that I need my original birth certificate. And this is a bit of a pickle, because, well...I haven't got one.

In Taiwan, recordkeeping is somewhat...looser than it is in, say, the anal-retentive Netherlands. I was able to get around this problem the first time I needed proof of having been born (beyond existing) by providing a document that one of my aunts had to dredge up: a paper saying that I lived with my mom and dad. As far as an actual document saying that "Jules was born on Day/Month/Year at Hour:Minute", though? I get the feeling, after speaking with my mother, that such things were optional. But in any event, the paper stating that I was a resident of such-and-such an address was enough for them, although I get the feeling that they would've accepted any document with a smattering of Chinese on it.

What kind of irritated me about this appointment, though, was that the woman kept referring to China's system of public record keeping. China is not Taiwan--well, it is for official purposes (i.e., my passport says that I was born in China), but Taiwan has it's own (lax) government and different rules and such. While technically not wrong, it's sort of like suggesting that Maastricht is Dutch.

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