Tips for Preparing and Staying Connected with Children at Home

by Jean MacLeod

  • Write out a daily schedule in words/pictures so your child knows what to expect.
  • Talk about the time change and what it will mean. For instance, if you are traveling to Asia, the time difference is 12 hours. So when your child wakes up in the morning to have breakfast, you will be sitting down to dinner, and vice versa.
  • Buy an inexpensive globe and map out your journey together.
  • Before you go, read a book like Seeds of Love together to help prepare your child for your extended separation. Encourage your child’s caretaker to continue reading it while you’re gone.
  • Put together a mini photo album of the parent(s) who is traveling.
  • Put together a second mini family album to give to the foster parents or orphanage caretakers of the child you are adopting. Be sure to include a copy of the referral photo.
  • Make an audio cassette or video tape recording for each day you are gone, saying hello and reading a favorite story.
  • Pre-arrange play-dates and special outings before you leave and talk about them.
  • Leave little notes and gifts with your child’s caretaker to be opened throughout the trip.
  • Discuss privately with your child’s caretaker the likelihood that your child will become sad, and give suggestions for cheering him or her up.
  • Discuss feelings with your child, that it’s okay to feel sad, that Grandma (or whoever) will know how to make your child feel better.
  • Encourage your child to tell others about the trip that will bring the new brother or sister home.
  • Be sure to leave caretakers with copies of medical insurance info, your pediatrician’s phone number, and a notarized power of attorney to seek medical care.
  • Call or send a fax to your child if and when you can.