Sunday, March 15, 2009

Five Visits to the City Hall

It's just about 11:00 a.m. on Monday.  Ken and I left the house early this morning to go back to the City Hall to meet with Mr. Takada, our case manager.  Mr. Takada is the nicest person on earth.  He is a small, well built Japanese man.  He is balding on the top and greying on the sides, always wears a white shirt and a grey vest and has nice hairy arms.  This is our 5th trip to see Mr. Takada in the past month.  Ken has wanted to register Yumiko as an official "Japanese" member of our family for a long, long time - almost since we adopted her ten years ago.  In order to "make her official" we needed to change his family registration to include Yumiko.  But it is not as easy as just adding her name.  Because Yumiko is adopted, we needed to prove that she is truly our legal daughter.  We thought we brought all the right papers with us from the U.S. to do this, but the first time we went to City Hall, we found we were quite wrong.  

Mr. Takada, who could have turned us away because it was all too complicated, told us he would help us through the process, but be aware, he, like all Japanese, is a true stickler for details.  First we had to produce the original Chinese documents that indicate that we adopted Yumiko.  Which we did.  Then we had to provide notarized translations of the Chinese documents into Japanese. Again done. Then we had to produce Yumiko's original Chinese passport.  We didn't bring that with us.  We had to go home and call the person staying in our house (Suzi) in St. Davids and have her do a search of Ken's office to find that passport and send it to us in a fast mail delivery service.  We got it and brought it back to Mr. Takada.  That was good, but now we had to produce my passport that was valid at the time we adopted Yumiko - May 1998.  This was needed to guarantee that I was a U.S. citizen at the time.  Well, knowing me, I could not quite remember where I stored that old passport.  (Ken loves when I can't find these things.)   So again, we went home and again had to call Suzi in St. Davids to do a search of the attic.  She searched high and low, but could only find a copy of the passport pages and a copy of my birth certificate in Yumiko's adoption file.  Suzi sent those to us in a second fast mail delivery service. 

 We realized when we got the copy of the passport and birth certificate that Mr. Takada, as nice as he is, probably would not accept them unless they too were notarized.  So, I took the copies to the U.S. Embassy along with a letter I wrote saying that I was -in fact- a U.S. citizen at the time of our adoption of Yumiko.  A nice person in the U.S. Embassy notarized my letter and a copy of my old passport and birth certificate.  We then took all of these documents back to Mr. Takada who again was so kind and nice, but said we would need to translate the letter and my passport pages and my birth certificate.  So again, we came home empty handed.  

Ken spent a good part of the weekend carefully translating all of this information into Japanese and today we took all of this stuff back to Mr. Takada.  He took a look at the translation of my notarized letter stating I was a U.S. Citizen.  He said he was not sure if that would fly. I should have had the Embassy write the letter.  But, I told him, they are unwilling to do that, they would only notarize a letter I wrote.  Ken's eyes were weary.  Mr. Takada said he would give his boss a call to see if the letter would be O.K.  I watched as he made the call from another part of the office.  He hung up the phone and I thought by the way he sort of skipped to the copy machine, that we were in the clear.

He came back to us and sat down and for another agonizing 15 minutes or so checked every single document again.  Then he looked at Ken and looked at me and said we had passed the test.  Yumiko can officially become a "Japanese" member of the Kono family.  Ken got teary.  I was beyond that at this point.  We should get the official documents in about 10 days.  Yehaaaaaa!!!

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