I’m very excited to announce that a story about my pregnancy with Nathaniel is included in Knocked Up Abroad Again: Baby bumps, twists, and turns around the globe, the second book in a series of mothering abroad. This massive project, a collection of 26 stories that span 25 countries, was done by Lisa Ferland.
From the Kickstarter page:
Knocked Up Abroad Again: Baby bumps, twists, and turns around the globe is a +250-page anthology written by 26 mothers in 25 different countries, all with a pioneer woman attitude.
Each mother, with her unique voice and from her perspective, describes the highs and lows of motherhood as she straddles the distance between what was once familiar and the reality of her foreign environment.
This heartwarming, sometimes hilarious, and sometimes heartbreaking collection of stories illustrates that the more we see, the more we learn about ourselves as human beings.
I know a few people that were born abroad and had dual citizenship as kids, so I just assumed that things worked the same in every country. Not so. China doesn’t allow dual citizenship, so if you’re having your baby in China, you need to decide if she’ll stay Chinese (which is automatic due to birth) or transfer to your or your spouse’s nationality.
For Americans there are different requirements based on which parent is American and if/when the couple got married. I suggest checking your country’s embassy’s citizen services website as soon as possible so that you know all of the requirements and can get everything in order. For couples who were married at the time of the baby’s birth, things are pretty easy and straight forward. There’s a lot of paperwork involved, but just make a checklist of everything you need, go through it one-by-one and it’s not so bad.
We decided that our kids would get American citizenship, and at the start of my third trimester I filled out all of the necessary papers and had my mom send a new transcript from my college and tax returns for my whole adult life (proof that I am indeed American). I also put together a photo album documenting our marriage and the pregnancy. Even with all of this I was still interrogated beyond what I’d expected and was terribly nervous the entire time. It was a woman who questioned every little piece of paper and up until she signed the papers approving his citizenship, I wasn’t sure he would get it.
So I prepared even more with my daughter. I updated my photo album, got a new transcript, added the most recent tax forms and job records and, wouldn’t you know, it was a breeze. The very personable guy that we interviewed with didn’t even open my new transcript (had to order another because it was opened) or look at any of the records beyond our passports. He looked through the photo album and commented on photos in a friendly, conversational way and then congratulated our baby on becoming an American citizen.
As I noted previously, regulations changed slightly between my pregnancies. One was that photos documenting the pregnancy are now required. For my son it was just something extra I did. I’m not too into maternity photos, so I’m glad I caught this change or else I probably wouldn’t have had more than one or two. I took monthly photos and added them to my photo alubm, along with updating it to include pictures of my son’s growth over the years.
The American embassy does recommend you file for the report of birth abroad and citizenship and Social Security Number as soon as possible, but you can wait too. Most American couples make this their first stop on the way home from the hospital, but if you’re part of a Chinese couple, mother and baby may not be allowed out for the first month to 40 days. For our son we waited until he was 3-months old but with my daughter we took her a week after my zuo yue zi was over.
Other posts in the Having A Baby In China series:
Thanks for stopping by Living In China with Kids!
I’m very excited about creating useful blog posts for foreigners who are coming to China, specifically those who are brining kids along. A little bit about me: I’m a 30-something wife and mom of two (Nathaniel is six and Catherine is two).
I came to China right out of college to teach English at a local high school, worked there for two years before getting married to my husband (a doctor at a local hosptial, also Chinese) and switching jobs.
Teaching at the college lasted for three years until I had met the limit of consecutive working years that our province started upholding. I had to stay on a travel visa for two years. In the meantime the college started downsizing and let go most of the English department; thus I too was not needed. Later I got a job teaching corporate managers on a work visa but that too ended when the boss lost his job. Hello again, travel visa.
Now I’m here, hoping to share what it’s like living in China–with kids–with you!