the making of a dual national, pt 1

asking the wrong questions

Over the past 6 weeks, we’ve been making the administrative rounds at German and American offices. Lots of forms to fill out. Lots of questions asked and answered.

Yesterday I went to pick up my daughter’s German passport. I figured it would be simple. Walk to the B├╝rgeramt, sign, and leave. Of course, I always get the screwball questions.

Do you have sole custody?

He was nice and smiling but as far as I know I don’t need sole custody to sign and pick up my daughter’s passport. He got the "please stop being stupid" look from me and flipped the application page to see two signatures near the words Vater and Mutter.

Dual national kids are quite problematic for the divorced, separated, never married and not staying together population. Judgments over custody can force one person to be essentially confined to their partner’s country if they want to see their child. There’s always the fear that one parent will essentially kidnap their own child and flee to the parent’s home country.

Perhaps that’s why he was interested in my custodial rights. But none of that had to do with me or his job. I just wanted to pick up her passport and he was just supposed to give it to me. Besides if he was really concerned, maybe he would have asked the right question, like Can I see your ID?

1 Comment

  1. matrokr said,

    Thursday 26 April 2007 at 4:38 pm

    u get those screwball questions probably* because of your colour (* i’m trying to be generous) Just like the stupid questions i’ve got in recent months here in berlin questioning my australian (seAsian) background – clearly, i ain’t blond/white/blue-eyed like in that deutsch imagination… just more of the diffident eurocentrism and exoticisation of the other?!


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the making of a dual national, pt 1

asking the wrong questions

Over the past 6 weeks, we’ve been making the administrative rounds at German and American offices. Lots of forms to fill out. Lots of questions asked and answered.

Yesterday I went to pick up my daughter’s German passport. I figured it would be simple. Walk to the B├╝rgeramt, sign, and leave. Of course, I always get the screwball questions.

Do you have sole custody?

He was nice and smiling but as far as I know I don’t need sole custody to sign and pick up my daughter’s passport. He got the "please stop being stupid" look from me and flipped the application page to see two signatures near the words Vater and Mutter.

Dual national kids are quite problematic for the divorced, separated, never married and not staying together population. Judgments over custody can force one person to be essentially confined to their partner’s country if they want to see their child. There’s always the fear that one parent will essentially kidnap their own child and flee to the parent’s home country.

Perhaps that’s why he was interested in my custodial rights. But none of that had to do with me or his job. I just wanted to pick up her passport and he was just supposed to give it to me. Besides if he was really concerned, maybe he would have asked the right question, like Can I see your ID?

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