Adoption Travel Tips

People travel overseas for many reasons. Some pursue the challenges of international commerce, while others seek relaxation in exotic locales.
But, few overseas trips combine discipline and pleasure quite like adoption travel — a series of complex journeys to a foreign country for the opportunity to enrich you and your spouse’s life, along with that of an orphaned or unwanted child.
Image by real00 via Flickr
As reported at , adoption travel is increasing in popularity due to the reduced number of U.S. newborns available for adoption. The Department of Health and Human Services indicated that over 20,000 Americans adopted foreign-born children in 2002, over 75% of whom came from China, Russia, Guatemala, South Korea and the Ukraine.
International adoptions typically include several visits (pre-adoption, actual adoption and homeland heritage trips) and a certain amount of unpredictability due to the involvement of foreign bureaucracies. Therefore, we recommend planning your trip with a professional agent who specializes in adoption travel, and allowing ample time for unexpected delays.
During your pre-adoption visit, it’s important to immerse yourself in the child’s native culture. Absorb as much as you can by keeping a journal and taking plenty of pictures as you interact with the locals. By developing a thorough understanding for your child’s birth country, you’ll be able to answer his or her questions as they grow and their curiosity intensifies.
Preparation is key during the actual adoption trip. Be sure to bring all boarding passes, reservations, passports and adoption documentation. When packing your Travelpro Rollaboards, make sure you leave enough space for your child’s belongings for the return trip. Or, better yet, fill that space with supplies (diapers, infant clothing, wipes, etc.) to be donated to the agency or orphanage you’re working with.
If bureaucratic oversights do delay your departure, use the opportunity to soak in more of the local landscape. Many foreign adoptions take place in “non-touristy” areas, so take full advantage of your chance to take the path less traveled. Just be sure to confirm with your contacts which destinations are safe for sightseeing.
Should your budget allow (which, with the expense of an international adoption, isn’t always the case), homeland heritage trips are highly recommended. Enabling your child to see his or her birthplace firsthand will deepen their appreciation for their native culture and their relationship with you.
Adoption travel — a substantial investment with a tremendous return. Safe travels, and enjoy your new family.
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