This time of year usually finds me giddy with excitement, buying new backpacks, shoes and uniforms. Stocking up on notebooks, pencils, and every other shiny school supply that catches my eye. But not this year. I'm nowhere nearly as excited as I should be. All because of two last names and the uncertainty of whether or not my eldest daughter Hope will be able to attend high school this fall, which actually starts this Monday (Aug. 13th).
Long story short....
Here in Mexico, it's customary for Mexican-born parent(s) to register (as Mexican citizens) their children who were born abroad so that they can have dual citizenship. It's rarely ever been a problem. BUT....as is the Mexican custom, when those children born in the U.S. only had one last name on their birth certificate, Registro Civil (Civil Registry) would add the mother's last name to the child's, because no one in Mexico can have just one last name. But as of last year, that custom has become a big pain in the neck. Kids born abroad and registered in Mexico, should only have one last name, or however it appears on their American birth certificate. If the last names on the Mexican certificate don't match those on the original American birth certificate, it's pretty much null and void, all because of that darn second last name that was tacked on by the Registro Civil. If that child hopes to attend high school, any and all paperwork, including official school certificates, CURP (which is kinda like the Mexican social security card), and the incorrect Mexican birth certificate, need to be corrected to reflect the last name on the original birth certificate, not the two last names Registro Civil decided to give the child.
If you know anything about getting paperwork done in Mexico, then you know it's not an easy feat. To have the official documents corrected, one must have a certified birth certificate (which isn't the one you were issued when your child was born) with an Apostille, and a notarized translation.
We've been able to correct almost everything, but we still have to obtain a Mexican birth certificate with just one last name, if we want Hope to attend high school as a Mexican citizen. We're just waiting for the Apostille to arrive.
Hope could attend the high school as an American citizen, but each year she/we will be required to pay between 7 and 8 thousand pesos per school year, as opposed to the couple of hundred pesos the Mexican citizen students have to pay. If Hope wants to attend college, she will also have to do so as an American citizen, because that's how she attended high school, and she'll/we'll be required to pay somewhere in the tens of thousands of pesos per semester, depending on the school and major. But we'd still need the Apostille as a way to certify that the American birth certificate we submitted is the real deal.
If Hope were to attend this year as an American citizen, she'll have to attend as an American for the 3 years she's in high school. If, like us, you were thinking that Hope could attend the first year or semester as an American citizen, then switch to being a Mexican citizen once all the paperwork has been corrected...No can do! She'd have to repeat the first year. No changing paperwork at all, at any time!
The last couple of months have been very stressful for all of us, especially for me and Hubby. It's what I think about all day, every day. And it's what keeps me awake every night until 2 or 3 in the morning, when my brain is too exhausted to think anymore. The uncertainty is what's really killing me. Because without the Apostille, Hope won't be allowed to attend school at all! And she'll have to wait until next year to reapply.
I've tried to remain positive and think that everything will work out. But D-day is upon us! School starts on Monday for first year high school students. I hope and pray with all my might that our lawyer is right and that the Apostille will arrive on Monday. We've fought and worked so hard. I'm not ready to give up hope.
To be continued....
(P.S.) In case you're wondering, we're having all of Ashley & Nick's paperwork corrected as well, so when it's time to enroll them in high school, we won't have this problem.