Many families are opting for international adoptions. They are becoming more and more common with international adoptions accounting for approximately 13% of all adoptions in the United States.

When a family is adopting a child from another country in most cases they must travel to that country to pick up the child. Traveling to a foreign country can be a challenge, especially if you are picking up your new child. The packing list becomes very different, the travel plans are more complicated, and the paperwork it different.

There are many things to think about from what life will be like when you get home, what you should pack for yourself and the baby, what you the country is like and what paperwork you have to have with you. The list is endless. Here are few tips for making your travel planning a little easier.

  • Pick your airline carefully. You will want to make sure the airline provides good customer service and is family friendly. It is probably a good idea to talk with other parents and the agency you are working with to get recommendations. Some airlines offer specials for adoptions so shop around and don’t be afraid to ask if they offer a special deal. Be sure to find out if you will have to pay extra for your child.
  • Most adoption agencies will assist with the hotel arrangements, and will likely have a specific hotel they want you to stay in. Be sure to find out of special rates are available. It is also a good idea to find out what the hotel offers such as room service, free breakfasts, shuttle services, etc, so you will know what additional arrangements you may need to make.
  • There is often a language barrier both with communicating with your new child and with their current caregivers. Take the time before your leave to learn some common phrases and important words to help you communicate with your child especially, but also with the people who have been taking care of him or her till now. It would be a good idea to stock up on a few good translation dictionaries.
  • Find out what paperwork you will need to fill out while you are there, how much it costs to file the forms, and if you need to pay in cash. Be prepared for all of the expenses you will have while you are there, especially those that will require cash and make sure you have more than enough currency with you.
  • Be aware of your own health. Watch out for signs of illness and fatigue due to jet lag. You will be so excited that you might not notice just how tired you are. Also be aware of what you are eating and drinking. It is very common to become ill from eating things your system is not used to. Be aware of things you should stir clear of.
  • When you pack your bags be sure to leave room for things you may receive while you are there and souvenirs you may purchase. Be sure you have everything you will need, but don’t over pack. Make sure you know what the weather will be like and pack clothing that is appropriate for the weather. The agency will probably provide you with a list of things you will need to bring for the baby, if they don’t ask them or other parents to find out what is necessary and what can be left at home.
  • Educate yourself about the country you are traveling to. Learn about the culture and customs.
  • When you return home from your travels you are likely to be very tired and all you will want to do is spend time with your new little family. The last thing on your mind will be cooking dinner every night. Before you leave think about preparing a week’s worth of dinners that you can freeze for when you get home. This will free up a lot of time when you get home, plus it will give you something to do in the final days before you travel.

These are just a few of the things you need to think about when preparing to travel for an international adoption. Most adoption agencies will help you prepare for your trip, make travel arrangements, and provide you with information about the country you are traveling to. Take advantage of the expertise of other parents. Talk with them about their experiences, what they found helped and what didn’t, get recommendations for what to pack for yourself and the baby.

This is a very exciting time in your life. The more prepared you are the better the experience will be.

Here are a few helpful websites.

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