It has been a mission getting the admin together to move myself, Dean and Harley to the States. It makes me want to pull my hair out it’s so frustrating sometimes. It’s not that the forms are particularly difficult or that we don’t qualify or something – it’s just a pain trying to get all the documentation and proof that they might need. It’s also made me realize the types of things I need to save for Harley as she grows up. I mean, when did I ever think that I would need to prove my citizenship? When did I ever think that I would need to prove my relationship with Dean? When you live your life in one country, none of this really seems to be an issue. But if you plan to move overseas, there’s a lot of extra admin, and I hope to make things a bit easier for Harley if she ever decides to traipse around the world.
It’s not so much the travel bit, or even moving overseas that’s particularly difficult. Usually, it’s simply a matter of showing a birth certificate, maybe getting a police clearance of some description to prove you aren’t a criminal, and most countries will let you in. However, if you hope to get married and make a life with someone who is foreign, the more documentation you have, the better. It’s all about proving who you are, not because YOU are lying, but because so many other people have lied. It has been so great when my mom and I found documentation that helped – like an old transcript that my mom found, or random medical bills that proved I was in the States to get my wisdom teeth removed or whatever else. It’s random and not stuff you would normally keep, and yet it has turned out to be so worthwhile. As such, this is the file that I plan to keep for Harley, just in case, so that one day when she asks for proof of silly details, I have them.
This admin stuff has also made me wonder how expat kids in general grow up to deal with these things. I mean, the more you live abroad and travel, the more likely you are to marry someone from another country. Really, it’s a good thing – good for passing quality genes on to your kids as well as just good for expanding your mind and understanding of the world. But the paperwork that goes along with it is a nightmare. Anyway, here are the documents that I plan to keep in a file for Harley in case she ever needs them:
- Birth certificate (obviously)
- Immunization records
- Old passports
- School transcripts/reports
- Official documents that include her name and our address
I figure that I’ll keep this file as an ongoing thing, gathering documents as we go. This is why they make safe deposit boxes, isn’t it? This is the sort of documentation that is so helpful to have and such a mission to get if you lose the originals. I know so many people whose parents or grandparents had other citizenship and they are now trying to sort out getting passports or birth certificates through them and it’s a nightmare for them as well – this kind of admin is really a pain.
At this stage, it’s far too soon to tell how Harley will live her life. Will she travel the world, meeting all kinds of cool people and eventually falling in love with someone far away, or will her heart end up going to someone local? No matter what happens, I want to have these documents for her – better to have them and never need them than to need them and not have them. Besides, this feels like stuff that a mom needs to keep for her kid, much like how my mom managed to get my birth certificate for me when I needed it. It’s what we do as parents, right? Then again, by the time Harley has to deal with this stuff maybe it will all be hardcoded into some chip in her skin or something.
Do you have a file of important documents for your kid? What sort of information is important to hold onto?