The long and winding road...that will lead to my daughter actually getting here? It’s been a week or more of to-ing and fro-ing with my ‘fixer’ on the ground. The adoption decree has finally been ‘verified’ by the Ministry of the Exterior in her country. With that, my fixer can apply for her new birth certificate, the first step in what I predict will be a long and arduous paper chase that will finally lead to a visa in her passport that will permit her to enter Spain.
Which leads me to this all-important point. As I have mentioned in previous posts, I predict this step to be the hardest of all and I am dreading it already. In the case of independent adoptions, a visa is the final summit. Throughout your adoption journey, you will have been dealing with ‘departments’ whereby, more or less consistently, you work within a legal framework for the initial application, homestudy, etc. If you have a query or a problem, you can call them and ask them to help you, to which they will come back with the whys and why-nots according to adoption law. But a visa is a different beast altogether. As anyone who has ever tried to emigrate will affirm, the decision on whether or not to grant a visa falls on one person—the consul of the Spanish embassy where the applicant resides.
Foreign consuls rarely stay in their job for long, and their personality, disposition towards immigration and international adoption and dozens of other factors come into play when applying for a visa. In my daughter’s country, I know of one adoptive parent, a Spanish national, who waited a whole anguish-filled year for the visas for her two adopted siblings.
Believe it not, I tremble in the face of authority. Which is why I sought the advice of an immigration lawyer on the visa question.
Luckily, she has had many dealings with the Spanish embassy in my daughter’s country. She told me that most foreign consuls see a post there as a castigo (punishment) and there is a high turnaround. So whilst I may have had a semi-favourable reaction last time I spoke to them about my plans (in December), I may be dealing with a different, and not so accommodating consul when the time comes to apply for my daughter’s visa.
The number one stumbling block for expats adopting into Spain is the question of the ‘civil registry’. As Spanish law stands, there are only two circumstances whereby an adopted minor can be annotated in the registro civil (which is obligatory and goes in tandem with a visa application): the first is that they have a national/s as parents and they other is that they were adopted on Spanish soil. Neither case applies to my daughter—so when it comes to the visa step I will be navigating unchartered territory.