When my husband and I found out we were about to become parents, we were given two days’ notice to travel across the country to bring home our daughter. The excitement and stress made it nearly impossible to think straight! But thankfully, we’d done some advance planning, and, before we knew it, we were packing our bags and boarding a plane to Chicago. My husband and I learned a lot from our experience, and here’s what we’d like to share with you about traveling to adopt.
The wait to become a parent can feel interminable. But you can take advantage of the time to:
- Make a packing list. Start with all the items you want to bring, then pare it down to the basics. Don’t forget to include prescription medications, adoption-related paperwork, phone numbers of loved ones, your camera, and health insurance information.
- Research hotels in the area (if you know where you’ll be going). Your agency may know of places that are close to the agency or hospital, or have family-friendly amenities.
- Talk to the airlines. If you’re a frequent flier, find out how you can apply those miles to your travel. Frequent-flier programs generally allow some flexibility in changing travel dates without penalties.
Pack for Baby
Once you get the call, you’ll be moving in fast-forward. When packing for your trip:
- Don’t forget an infant car seat. Your baby cannot be released to you without one.
- Go easy on diapers. Diapers take up valuable space in your luggage, and you can buy more at your destination. Likewise, pack only a small amount of formula and a few baby bottles.
- Leave the stroller at home. Instead, bring two fabric slings — one for each parent. Slings are portable, and provide a good way to bond with baby.
- Bring plenty of extra clothes for your infant — babies can be messy! Bibs (for spit-ups) and onesies (for diaper leaks) extend the life of an infant’s outfit, and take up little space. Throw in a few comfortable outfits for you and your partner
On the Road
Receiving your new baby is a blissful experience. But caring for a newborn in a hotel room in an unfamiliar city can be stressful. Since you could be on the road longer than expected:
- Check out extended-stay hotels, which may offer weekly rates.
- Consider booking a hotel suite with a kitchen (or at least a small refrigerator), so you can prepare meals in your room or bring back leftovers from restaurants.
- Pack things that will alleviate stress and keep you busy. Bring a few soft toys and board books for baby; and a knitting project, some reading material, and/or a laptop for you and your spouse, so you can stay connected with friends and family.