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Traveling to Adopt – What to Pack and How to Prepare

When a family makes the decision to adopt, they begin an often lengthy process of preparation for their new member. There are piles of paperwork, interviews, and home studies to complete. There is a house to prepare and necessities to buy. While all of this seems like it can take forever, your new family member may be ready to join you sooner than you think!
Some families are presented with an adoption opportunity in advance, and may have a number of months to prepare for traveling to meet their child. Other families may find out their new addition was born yesterday! Regardless of the timing of your adoption opportunity, think about what you’ll eventually need when you get the call. Traveling in adoption is unique, exciting and nerve-wracking. Here are some tips for traveling on short notice.

  • Think about how you’ll get to your destination – If you know where the birth mom will be, think about which route you’ll take if driving. If you’re flying, research the best airport to fly into. Think about where you can stay while you’re there.
  • Wait to book a flight – Due dates can be highly unpredictable, so wait until the prospective birth mother is headed to the hospital to book your tickets. While a last-minute flight can be more expensive, you don’t run the risk of losing funds should something change. Travel sites such as Expedia and Travelocity search multiple airlines for the best deals.
  • Get your documents in order – Have your adoption paperwork ready to go, along with your own IDs. You won’t have a birth certificate for a few weeks, so be sure to get an official doctor’s note with the child’s birth date and identity before you leave the hospital.

What to Pack

If you know the mother’s due date, start setting aside travel items a few months in advance. Even if you don’t know when your child will arrive, make a list of items you’ll want to pack. You don’t want to miss something when you’re scrambling to leave.
Here are some things you’ll want to pack:

  • A few outfits for everyone, including your new child
  • Toiletries
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Camera and charger
  • Book/ipad/laptop (or other entertainment items)
  • Blankets or swaddles
  • Diaper bag
  • Pacifiers
  • Lovey or small comfort blanket

It is very easy to over-pack for a baby. Keep in mind that most baby necessities can be purchased wherever you are. The hospital usually sends new parents home with a few days’ worth of diapers, wipes, and formula. Replenish your stock at a local store. Wait to purchase a car seat until a day or two before the baby is discharged. The hospital will not allow you to take your child home without a properly installed car seat.
This is an exciting time! Relax and prepare as best as you can. Don’t let the hustle and bustle of last-minute travel overwhelm the joy you’ll feel when you finally meet your new addition.