Traveling After an Adoption

Suitcase Adoption Trip Packing ListTravelling with children can be a challenge, every parent fears a tirade of tantrums or constantly being on guard for disruptive behaviours. Usually however, parents are able to negotiate these worries through their understanding of their child’s habits or needs. But what can you do when your child is newly adopted?

Of course your love, and care for them will help navigate many difficulties along your parenting journey, but truly knowing your son or daughters unique personality and needs take time, so when facing the rigours of unavoidable travel, what can you do to ensure the trip goes as smoothly as possible? In this article we’ll be discussing some of the tips and tricks which may help these first family adventures progress as smoothly as possible.

Why you May Need to Travel

Ideally, parents should wait until least a year after the adoption process, before traveling with their child. This allows the child to become settled within their new home, offering them stability and routine, which they may not have had previously.

However, life doesn’t always obey our wants and wishes, and you may find you need to travel within these early days. You may have completely unavoidable family commitments, sudden emergencies, or, depending on the child, you may need to meet with specialists for appointments who may be some distance away.

Testing the Waters

So long as it does not prove excessively distressing for the child, attempting a few smaller ‘test run’ journeys with them, maybe a useful activity. Traveling just an hour or two away by car, for example, may highlight some of the problems your child may face such as increased anxiety, frustration, or fear.

Use these trips as an opportunity to troubleshoot multiple eventualities, and come up with the necessary parenting techniques to help alleviate them. These of course will be personal to you and your child, but may include regular verbal reassurances, or regular pit-stops where you and your child are able to have physical contact.  

A Familiar Environment

Wherever you need to travel, try to make your child’s environment as comforting and familiar as possible. In car journeys for example, bring along the child’s favorite blanket, or soft toy. For longer journeys consider bringing a range of familiar items such as the child’s own cups, plates, and cutlery,  as well as favorite books or toys, which may help to reduce stress from unfamiliar locations and places.

Prior Planning

If you are traveling with a child that is 4+, then sitting down and talking to them about the trip can help reduce a lot of anxiety within them. Prior to their adoption your son or daughter may have faced regular upheaval at a moments notice. This may make sudden changes, such as traveling to a strange place, distressing, and they may even worry you’ll be leaving them there.

Talking and sharing pictures, will give the child an opportunity to prepare mentally for the journey, as well as create a degree of familiarity with the new location. Answering their questions allows you to allay their worries, and reassure them that they are safe, loved, and will be returning home with you at the trips end.

Final Thoughts

The adoption process can be an intense experience for both parent and child. Within the first year, creating a safe and stable environment, as well as a strong familial bond should take first priority. However, having to travel, at times, is simply unavoidable, and you most certainly are not a bad parent for needing to travel with your child.  

By being prepared, and working in collaboration with your son or daughter, listening to their fears and trying to bring the stability of their home on the road, you can most definitely have a successful traveling experience with your newly adopted child.

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Angel Adoption, Inc. provides marketing and advertising services that assist biological parents considering adoption and prospective adoptive parents to connect with each other, and provides support and referral services throughout the process. Angel Adoption, Inc. is an independent contractor and provides services under the supervision of Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois, License #012998, One Oakbrook Terrace, #501, Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181; 708-771-7180.