the Vernon Journal

Serving the Kingdom in Southeast Asia

The Girl without a Country

Thailand doesn't want her.
America doesn't know she exists.
So what is the first thing you do when your baby is born overseas? Get her a passport of course.

Unfortunately for us, that means at least three 6-hour round trips to Chiang Mai.
One trip to get the forms, and send her Thai birth certificate to Bangkok for translation.
One trip to pick up the translated birth certificate, take a passport picture and submit the applications (and the US$).
One trip to pick up the passport so she can travel to her home country this Christmas.

Two of those trips are now behind us, and were relatively easy. Actually the most difficult part was the passport photo.

According the the US requirements, the passport photo must be perfectly straight-on, showing both of the child's ears. Many parents accomplish this photograph by laying their tightly swaddled, sleeping baby on a white sheet and they just click away.

But we encountered three problems when we tried to take her passport picture:
Our first problem was that Abigail hates the swaddle. I mean she absolutely loathes it. Little Abi wants her arms to be free at all times, and preferably over her head.
Second, when Abi was brought into the studio, the lights and contrasts were so engaging that she spent the entire time flailing back and forth to make sure she did not miss anything.
Finally, it seems that Lori's milk is incredibly nutritious, because we found it to be almost impossible to see both of Abi's ears behind those round little cheeks.

Our beautiful baby's first passport pictureWe tried everything we could think of to capture the perfect shot, and the photographer was incredibly patient with her.
He took dozens of pictures.
We tried holding her head and moving all our hands away at the count of three.
We even tried stuffing tissue paper behind her ears to make them stick out (which actually worked but made us so sad to see our beautiful baby girl's Dumbo impression)

Finally the photographer captured this shot on the left. She's doing her best Elvis impression, but you can see a hint of each of her ears - and those beautiful blue eyes!

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