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An empty airport during COVID-19 adoption travel

An almost-empty airport, San Diego, May 2020

As many states are starting to re-open, travel remains a bit of a question for all of us. In regards to adoption, we’re hearing questions like:

  • Will we be able to travel to a different state when the birth mother goes into labor?
  • Can we fly? Or do we have to drive?
  • Are there certain things we should know about adoption travel right now?

Let’s take a few minutes to answer those questions about where we are right now, in relation to travel and the economy, in light of COVID-19.
 

Will we be able to travel to a different state when the birth mother goes into labor?

Yes, you will be able to travel, as travel is essential for adoption, which is not paused during the pandemic. At Lifetime, we are issuing documentation to adoptive families who are traveling, stating that this is essential in light of any local restrictions.
 
It is important to research where you are traveling to so you can have current information on what is open, what is not, and what you may need along the way. Even though your state may be getting back to normal, or perhaps back to a “new normal,” the state or region you are traveling to may be still under a shelter-in-place order with limited resources such as restaurants and hotels. Planning ahead is vital.
 
Additionally, keep in mind that hospital policies remain very restrictive to help minimize the potential for infection to people at risk. Visitation policies for patients remain very restrictive. Your coordinator can help you learn about the hospital you are traveling to. Staying flexible at this time is key. Remember, your adoption may look different than you had hoped because of coronavirus, but all of us are in this together, doing our best, and that includes the hospital personnel.
 

Can we fly? Or do we have to drive?

Empty airport, San Diego

San Diego airport, May 2020

Airports and airplanes are empty right now. If you want to look into flying, a great place to start is Southwest Airlines. However keep in mind that at this time, air travel is extremely limited. The daily flights we once saw continue to be reduced to just a few. And once you get there, rental car options may be more limited. All that to say that flying is definitely an option, but you need to do some serious research to make sure it is a good option for you and your destination.
 
Driving is always an option, just plan for more travel time coming home with a newborn if you are driving a good distance. It is recommended that babies not stay in car seats for long periods of time, so if your return home is a distance, plan for frequent stops and the potential for a few overnights if you are traveling a distance.
 

Are there certain things we should know about adoption travel right now?

Probably the biggest change to adoption travel is simply that nothing is as easy as it was a few months ago. In January or February, we could hop on a flight, get a rental car, book a hotel, and order up what we needed from Amazon to be delivered easily and quickly. Now, everything is just up in the air. Flexibility is key, as is planning ahead to do your best.
 
The interstate process to get clearance to return home remains a bit up in the air in different states. Some states are processing clearances quickly, others are finding it more of a challenge. Again, staying flexible, understanding that everyone is doing their very best right now is key.
 
Adjusting your expectations right now is important. Also understanding that every county and state may be on a different timeline for reopening. You may find restaurants open but court is still meeting via video conference. Hotels may be open but hospitals are still allowing no visitors.
 
Keep in touch with your coordinator and if you have questions or concerns about travel, ask her. She, along with your home study provider and attorney are the best sources of information right now and your adoption success is their goal!

Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P.
Written by Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P.

Founder of Lifetime Adoption, adoptive mom, adoption expert, and Certified Open Adoption Practitioner (C.O.A.P).

Since 1986, adoption expert Mardie Caldwell has been dedicated to bringing couples and birth parents together in order to fulfill their dreams.

“Many years ago, I was also searching for a child to adopt. We didn’t know where or how to get started. Through research, determination, and a prayer, our dream of a family became reality. I started with a plan, a notebook, assistance from a caring adoption consultant and a lot of hard work; this was my family I was building. We had a few heartaches along the way, but the pain of not having children was worse!

Within weeks we had three different birth mothers choose us. We were overwhelmed and delighted. Many unsettling events would take place before our adoption would be finalized, many months later. Little did I know that God was training and aligning me for the adoption work I now do today. It is my goal to share with our families the methods and plans which succeed and do not succeed. I believe adoption should be affordable and can be a wonderful “pregnancy” for the adoptive couple.

I have also been on both sides of infertility with the loss of seven pregnancies and then conceiving by new technology, giving birth to a healthy daughter. I have experienced first-hand the emotional pain of infertility and believe my experience allows me to serve your needs better.

It is my hope that for you, the prospective parents, your desire for a child will be fulfilled soon.”

Read More About Mardie Caldwell