Sunday, May 27, 2012

Mission accomplished!!!

 We got passports and authorization to travel!!!

Last Wednesday, at the crack of dawn, we left for Migration in San Pedro Sula and to make a very long story short, at 3.30pm we had the passports in our hands. Hurray! I felt like dancing and singing, but I think the girls were more excited about their brand new bathing suits than the passports. That was a lot of fun, by the way, taking them to a mall for the first time in their lives, riding the escalator, and oh, the look at their faces when the girls found themselves in front of a whole wall with brightly coloured bikinis and bathing suits.

We decided to take a break on Thursday and travel again on Friday, to Juvenile Court in Santa Rosa (for the third time!) to get an authorization from the judge so I’ll be able to travel with Dilcia, being a minor with an absent father. I wanted to kill two birds with one stone and ask for an authorization for Norma as well, even though in her case both parents are in the picture. I had to bring two witnesses anyway (again!), so Norma’s parents could sign the paper work for their daughter and be a witness for Dilcia’s case. I called the court and asked if that was possible and I was told it was no problem.

Then I called Dilcia and Norma to confirm the trip, with the very last bit of power in my cell phone, because I had forgotten to recharge it the night before and unfortunately the power had gone off early in the morning. Neither of the girls answered, so I figured they’d have the same phone trouble as I did. So I sent them a text message in the hope they would read it as soon as they would be able to recharge their batteries again. Alas, the power came back on in the afternoon but then a major tropical storm broke loose and we were power-less again. In town it came back on a few hours later, but the village where Dilcia and Norma live were without power all night because a light post had broken in two. So when I arrived the next morning in La Pintada with car and driver, I had no idea if anyone would actually show up. But they did! And reasonably on time too!

Once at the Juvenile Court in Santa Rosa I was told that we could not get an authorization for Norma, because Juvenile Court only intervenes in things like this when there is a problem and since Norma had both parents present, it wasn’t. That annoyed me quite a bit, because I was told differently over the phone the day before, but okay, it wasn’t a major drawback, because any lawyer in our own town can draw up that authorization.
Dilcia’s paperwork came along fine and the secretary had the authorization ready in less then half an hour. But then she found a mistake: Dilcia’s passport said Dilcia Aracely, while her birth certificate said Dilcia Arely. A difference of only two letters, but big enough a problem NOT to give us the authorization!!!
I was sort of dumbfounded, because I was pretty sure I had seen Aracely on the copy of the birth certificate that we had left with migration. To prove me wrong, the secretary showed me the birth certificate. And that’s when I figured out where the fault lies: the birth certificate that we had given to the judge was a copy of the actual hand written inscription of Dilcia’s birth. And indeed, it said, Arely. But the copy we had used for the passport was a computerized printout from the National Register, and I was convinced that that one said Aracely! Problem was, I had no copy of that birth certificate with me.
Well, I can’t help you, - said the secretary.
But what if we bring a copy of the birth certificate that says Aracely? - I asked.
Yeah, well that would work, - admitted the secretary, not offering the slightest bit of help. It turned out that there was a National Register only three blocks away.  So I grabbed Dilcia’s passport, ran the three blocks, stormed into the National register that was blessedly empty, and three minutes later I was back at Juvenile Court with a copy of Dilcia’s birth certificate. One that said ARACELY!!!

The secretary went grudgingly back to her paperwork, complaining about the mistakes people make at the National Register. I asked Dilcia’s mom, out of earshot, of course, what Dilcia’s real name was. It turned out to be Arely, so the mistake was probably made when the data was computerized. Well, I guess now her second name is Aracely

Shortly after, the secretary came back with the signed authorization. Mission accomplished! The girls and their parents got up and left the office. But I half jokingly said I wanted to read the letter carefully first. A good thing that I did!

The letter states that the judge authorizes me, Carin E. AMSTERDAM  to travel with Dilcia to Spain.
Wow, I almost walked out of the office with a new last name!!!
The secretary blushed (righteously so!) and left to correct the letter. By the time this was done and sign, another hour had passed.

But what the heck, we got what we came for. Now we can start preparing our trip to Spain…
(I wonder what the secretary would think my place of birth would be. Steen, maybe?)

Yours sincerely,
Carin Amsterdam

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