Monday, May 18, 2009

Officially Brasilian!

Gabriela is officially Brasilian now (but not American yet).

She and I spent our first day together with the car last week on Wednesday. Eric and I share one car and usually he drives it to work. But last week I needed to pick up Gabriela's passport and also take care of getting her RG (Brasilian ID card), so Eric got a ride with a coworker and left us with the car for the day.

So now that we've got this:

She has official proof of her Brasilian citizenship!

And proof that she's illiterate, poor thing.

I really wish there was some other wording for "too young to sign her name in her passport" besides "illiterate minor" . . . I feel like I've failed as a mother when my child gets referred to as illiterate! I promise, I read to her people!!!

Meanwhile, I have to comment on the whole passport experience. It was incredible! So, so, so easy. And efficient. I've never done anything involving a government agency (in Brasil or the US) that was so simple.

I went online to the Polícia Federal website and filled out the form with all her information. Then I printed out a payment voucher. Then I made an appointment through their website since you are required to appear in person to apply for your passport here.

We took the payment voucher to the bank and paid the R$156 fee. We went to the Polícia Federal at 7:15 am (our appointment was scheduled for 7:30). In Belo Horizonte the passport division is in a brand new building. At 7:25 we were called back to meet with the passport agent. She looked Gabriela up in her system on a brand new (not slow and dinosaur-like) computer and all of the information I had entered online popped up on her screen. She scanned the passport picture we brought in along with Gabriela's birth certificate for her files, verified Eric's and my identity, and told us the passport would be ready to pick up in one week. And I should also add that the agent was capable of typing, unlike the other people we've encountered who work in data entry for the government here, but yet they type very slowly and only with their two index fingers (seriously, we've witnessed it on four occasions so far). We walked out the door at 7:40 - 10 minutes after our appointment time!

And two days later I received an email alerting me that the passport was ready to be picked up. Holy cow - EARLY! So Gabriela and I went last Wednesday to get her passport. I arrived and was sent directly to a window since I had a baby with me (and Brasilian law requires that senior citizens, handicapped people, pregnant women, and women with small children get priority in lines everywhere - it's fabulous!) Five minutes later, I left with her passport.

I am incredibly impressed with the entire system and how smoothly/quickly it all went!

We haven't been able to catch her smile when we've had the camera out. She was blinking here, but at least you get to see her great big grin!

The process to get her RG wasn't terrible, but it certainly wasn't quite as painless as the passport. Mostly because my three-week old child had to be fingerprinted. The old fashioned way with ink. Ever try to do that with a newborn? It took three of us to unfurl her fingers and get the prints made.

As her mother (and Eric would add, "being from Georgia"), I had always kind of hoped that she wouldn't get fingerprinted until she applied for her concealed weapon permit. But dang if the kid didn't even make it to a month old before having her first mugshot taken and getting fingerprinted! I'm just hoping those prints come back clean and she hasn't been involved in some crime I don't know about. ;)


amodeus said...

She is illiterate, wow! Who woulda thunk it?? I am really enjoying your blog. Please make sure to keep these entries saved for her later. I think she will get a kick out of them!

Thanks for a great blog!!!

Vanessa said...

I 2nd that, I love reading your blog and looking at the pictures of your new beautiful baby girl.

Nadja Saori said...

She is so cute, congratulations for the amazing daughter!!!! :)
When will she get her american citizenship?
Bye Bye

Corinne said...

They have contracted out the passport service and it is a breeze!! We just got Kevin´s renewed (note - you will have to do this several times, since only until the kid is 4 and over will it be good for 5 years like the adult passport). I even found out a student of mine works in the passport office (good to have those connections :)).

The US passport (and certificate of birth abroad) process is not difficult, just long and you have to go to Rio for it.

Fabiana said...

Que brasileirinha mais linda!! :)

Vivi DiLopes Adams said...

Hi Emily ...
Well, I've been reading your blog way before you were pregnant and I really enjoy it. You got pregnant maybe 2 to 3 weeks before I did and I had my baby 1 week before you (sorry)!

I was born and raised in Brazil (except for 3 years) when I lived in Austin, TX with my family. Now I'm back to the States but this time living in the desert.

I love reading your experiences. It's just nice to see the other side of a coin .... sometimes you really make me laugh.

By the way, my name is Viviane, but you can call me Vivi! :)
Take care

Rogério Penna said...

People who type with their index fingers... grrrr