MexMo: A journey to La Paz for passports

So we took a little 2.5 hour field trip to the capital of Baja California Sur (our state) in order to get the ladies' Mexican passports.

You might recall that we unsuccessfully attempted this once before when we had just one little lady. We made the appointment. Assembled all of the documents: letter from the pediatrician, photos, copies of passports, of visas, etc. and we were flat out denied.


Because of my my name. (Seriously? I should have never changed my name. Had I known I was going to move to Mexico and have children here, I wouldn't have.)

Here's the deal, my current name is Kylee Ann Smith. (No, it's not. But for the sake of some privacy, it is today.)

My husband's name is Craig Ross Jones. (Also, not his real name, but you get the gist.)

Since we had our children in Mexico, they go by the Mexican naming convention and their names are "Lila Ross Jones Smith" and Vivienne Kate Jones Smith". In Mexico, their legal names include both of our last names. (This is rather ironic since the only reason I changed my name when I got married was so that our family would ALL have the same last name. As it turns out, Craig should have just added Smith to his name... Hee hee.) 

So yeah, my maiden name is tacked on to the end of my girls' standard American name -- even though I no longer legally use my maiden name. (I've tried to get around this convention. Especially after having learned how problematic it was with Lila, but alas - Vivienne has both last names, too.)

This naming issue served as problem when we first tried to get Lila's Mexican passport since my legal name no longer includes my maiden name on anything of substance: my U.S. passport, my Mexican visa, etc.


...this time we were ready. We had a notarized document that indicated that KYLEE ANN SMITH and KYLEE ANN JONES are the same person. This document included a translated copy of my birth certificate and our marriage license, witnesses, their credentials and a few other documents.

We were armed and ready.

Our appointment was for Monday at 10:30 a.m.

So, we (Craig, my MIL, Lila & Vivienne) left a day early and checked into the CostaBaja Resort & Spa in La Paz.

It was LOVELY.

The girls enjoyed it, too. (Vivienne sitting with her Mimi.)

Without my amazing MIL - this trip wouldn't have been do-able at ALL. She was awesome. And the girls adore her.

Lila loved the pool. "I wanna pool. I wanna pool" Over and over again.

(I love that look.)

(The birds at this pool were the biggest I have ever seen in my life. They were out of control. Ew. Gross.  They were bigger than Vivienne. For realz.)

That said, we had a nice day. A really nice day.

Before bed, Lila chilled out and watched some Wonder Pets on the laptop. (Thank you, iTunes.)

(This is a mixture of camera phone pics and real camera pics.)

She was so sleepy.

Even though we took a pack and play, we all ended up sleeping in one bed. (Note: "all of us" sans my MIL - who was soundly sleeping in an adjoining room.)  Look closely, Craig is sleeping in the back.

We learned that we are not a co-sleeping family. Especially since Lila sleeps sideways most of the night.

We all were grumpy in the morning...

 ...except Vivienne.

"Let's do this thing."

So, we [sadly] checked out of the hotel, piled into the car and drove to the passport office.

Yeah. It's the blue-building above. And, no. It's no bigger than an average sized dorm room. Ok, maybe two dorm rooms. It's a "new" location and it wasn't nearly as gross as the old one. You could actually lean against the walls in this place without plaster (or something) coming off on your clothes.

AND, the A/C worked.

But the bathroom didn't. (But who would use that bathroom?)

And no one speaks English. (As they shouldn't. This is Mexico. I respect that.)

Now, let's briefly say that acquiring a Mexican passport is no easy feat. For some reason, and I have no idea why, the passport gatekeepers take their job far more seriously than they do in the States. In fact, it's more so the rule to get turned down, than the exception. And this rule stands for both Gringos and Mexicans.

With that in mind, we got there early. First, I pled my case to the first reception guy/agent/person. I explained that I was indeed Kylee Ann JONES and Kylee Ann SMITH because in the States, many of us CHANGE our names when we get married.

He looked at me like I was crazy.

Finally he tells me in Spanish, "It's fine with me - but next you need to convince him over there. Just explain it to him."

Whew. Score.

About 40 minutes later, after having convinced the emotionless man "over there" that I was indeed Kylee Ann JONES and Kylee Ann SMITH he moved forward and approved their passports...

...but then of course, there was a problem with Lila's photos.

We had to get new ones from the little photo booth/copy "center" next door. This meant we had to get out of line. We had go get the photos, Lila had a breakdown, then we had to GET BACK IN THE SAME LINE behind more people. Oy.

The original "problem photo" is on the left. The new photo, which included about seven minutes of screaming and crying, is on the right. (Camera phone pics.)

What's the diff? I don't know.

We also just went ahead and got Vivienne new photos, too. They used the second one on the right. I feel that the first on the left in the polka-dot dress is far cuter.

The whole process was stress-inducing, quite honestly.

I wasn't overwhelmingly confident in my Español -- but I am so pleased that I was able to communicate CLEARLY with nearly everyone I came in contact with. Were my conjugations wrong? Absolutely. But did I try? Yep. And did they notice that I tried? Indeed.

So, we waited and waited to see if all was clear... then after about 2 hours, it started looking better. Still, we were watching people get turned down because their copies were too dark, too light or just not right.

Finally, we made it to the last point of contact before the applications get taken into the back room and I looked over the information that would be printed on their passports. I signed my name - and about an hour later - we left the office with two passports in hand.

I cannot begin to tell you how good that made me feel.

And, how exciting that we get to do this all over again in just one year.


Yep. Mexican passports are only good for one year for kiddos under three.

Ah. Life in Mexico.



This was amazing. It was a perfectly pristine VW van parked alongside the street near the passport office. I would have taken more photos of it had it not been a million degrees outside.

And check this out. A BRIGHT patch of bougainvillea growing in the middle of a parking lot. I wish I could show you just how amazingly vivid it was. And how odd to be growing there. Beautiful.

That's all for now.

Viva Mexico.



  1. I have to go back and read the whole story when I have time. But I LOVE the photos. So beautiful there! And I love the photos of you all in bed. PRECIOUS!

  2. Wow. That place looks gorgeous!

    Is it easier to renew their passports than to get them in the first place? Hope so!

    I feel like I had a "Lila" experience with my passport the first time...they kept declining my photo because they couldn't tell exactly how long my hair was. As if I wouldn't cut it and grow it out 10 times in the length of time before my passport expired. Duh. ;)

    ...and I had a 'Kylee' moment with renewing my passport to my new married name. I swear I felt like I was in Mexico. I had to convince them I was the same person...even though I had several documents saying so. Because, you know, I look all shades of crazy. It took me months. Passport people are nutso.

    Glad everything worked out for you! And Yay! for great MILs!

  3. Yay for you all! You are my hero for surviving all of this. Seriously, my hero!

  4. Phew....I can't imagine going through that process every year but thank goodness it went as well as it did and you left with TWO passports!! BRAVO friend :) And kudos on your spanish!!

    And that view at the hotel looks AMAZING. I mean seriously, how beautiful. What a great way to spend the day before having such a crazy day!

    I kinda want the VW van. Seriously.

  5. I had no idea it was that much trouble! Glad it all worked out. I think Lila's 'new' photo is hilarious. I hope those meanies loved seeing her scowly 'how dare you take another photo of me!' face! teehee

    The hotel you stayed at? Gorgeous! Such a vivid blue sky.

  6. How awesome that you were able to navigate this difficult process with your Spanish skills! I'm muis impressed.

    Your girls are so pretty. Love Vivienne's smile!

  7. My blood pressure rose just reading that blog. I am sorry, but glad you got them this time. :)
    Way to go!


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