Passport Drama for Adoption #2

passport map

With the first adoption, we had a copy of the original birth certificate. We got the photos at AAA for $7. The Wednesday after finalization, we took our adoption order, the application we filled out, and the other paperwork and went to the library to turn in everything. The person that took the paperwork was very kind. We had a passport for the 1 year old within two weeks.

This time around, things are a bit different. We were given an original birth certificate for this baby but we moved ….  and now I can’t find it. When I asked our adoption worker for another one, she said they couldn’t give it to me due to privacy concerns (we already had one) which made me shake my head. All we have is the adoption finalization paperwork and the medical files from the birth.

When I asked my adoption group if we’d be able to get a passport with that information, the responses ranged from “just take the original birth certificate” (which is no help) to “get your attorney to get it for you” (which is also no help).

Yesterday, our adoption worker called to see if we want to keep our case open or close it. She casually asked where we’re taking our babies (after finalization last time, we took our baby to South Africa) and I told her, “No where”. My plan was to wait the six to twelve months until her amended birth certificate came in and then visit somewhere. She said that she’s had several adoptive families get a passport after finalization with just the two documents that we got after court. She said to make color copies (don’t give the originals to the passport folks) to turn in with the application.

She sounded so sure.

I’m making an appointment for next week. We shall see.

Two Under Three on a Flight

 

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My babies at a park. A year and a half apart. #DoubleTrouble Lol

We are taking two flights in the next few months. One is a coast to coast flight (baby girl’s first) and one is a short one-hour flight. I’m a bit anxious about it. My biggest concern is what to do with them both while on a long flight.

Usually the boy goes back and forth between our laps. He really enjoys looking out of the window. Well now …. she’ll probably want to go back and forth between our laps. He’ll have his own seat now but I’m not sure if that will be better or worse. Lol

I’m excited that:

  • The toddler has first first airline points account.
  • The toddler will have his own seat.
  • The toddler will be able to have his own bag.
  • Baby girl is taking her first flight.
  • They will be able to entertain each other.

I’m worried that:

  • The toddler will want more attention that we can give.
  • Baby girl will not like flying.
  • It will be hard to juggle two little ones.
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Early morning siblings.

We’ve gone on a few driving trips and we’re getting comfortable traveling as a family. I usually get all worked up about something, try to research and plan, and it’s not as big a deal and I had worked myself up for it to be. Let’s hope that pattern continues. Lol

Anyone have any tips for traveling with two little ones?

 

Baby Girl’s First Trip – Baltimore

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Baltimore harbor

We have a week of worked booked in Baltimore so we’ve extended on each end and are making it a family trip (we asked her social worker, hopefully the answer is yes)! Since this is our second time traveling with a baby in foster care, I feel a lot better. Last time I had a crapload of paperwork with me when all the airline cared about was a birth certificate. We had a very successful flight and I owe a lot of it to all the great advice I found on the internet.

This time, our oldest has his own seat and we’ll have a new lap child. We’re getting this airplane seatbelt since we travel a lot and our oldest is still a bit small. I know to pack lots of Ziplock bags, snacks, and a few toys. We’ll have two mei teis for this trip and we’ll have to ship two carseats under the plane.

I’m thrilled to be bringing her into our travel adventures but a little nervous about having TWO little ones on the flight. Our oldest flies like a champ (no ear issues at take off or landing, likes to look out of the window, and sits patiently and watches movies in the air) so I’m not too worried about him. I am worried about our youngest being up in the air on her first flight and I am worried about our oldest wanting more attention since our youngest might get tons of attention.

There’s really nothing to do but see how it goes so …  here’s hoping!

=)

 

Look at the Sky: August 11 – 13

Metiorite

“The best time for you be outside viewing this amazing astronomical phenomena are between the days of the 11th and the 13th of August.”

and

“The fragments are hurling toward the Earth’s gravitational pull at about 100,000 miles per hour, which burns them up, creating a small burst of light just as they are about to poof into thin air.”

 

AfroLatino Travel

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A mural in Cusco, Peru.

I like to travel and every country I go to, I seek out the Black history that’s usually there. Sometimes it’s a bit tough because countries like Japan and Vietnam don’t trumpet the contributions of Black people. Lol

Thanks to a new company called AfroLatino Travel I won’t have that problem in the Spanish-speaking world.

I’m bookmarking this for later.

Family Trip to China

Shanghai

One of our family goals is to visit every Disney property in the world. We’ve been to Anaheim (the original), Florida, Tokyo, Hong Kong so far. We still have Paris and of course Shanghai (the new one) to visit.

Since we’re thinking about visiting Shanghai Disney, it only makes sense that we’d also think about visiting the Great Wall. Tickets are really cheap this year but it’ll probably be a no-go since we’re hoping to be matched again this summer. If we have a baby in foster care, there is a good chance that we wouldn’t be allowed to take the baby to China. Lol Of course if we don’t get matched this summer, perhaps a winter trip isn’t out of the question.

Anyhoo …. if we go, we’ll need to get a visa and think about how we’ll get around once we’re there. My aunt took the liberty of finding out how to write the baby’s name in Chinese: 吉列尔莫. Right now, there are NO PLANS but …  you just never know.

=)

 

5 Tips for International Travel With a Toddler

SA-Durban-Guillermo-Mini-City-2015Our baby started traveling with us when he was six months old. We started domestically (short flights and familiar airline experiences) and moved on to international flights once the baby was a year old. To find out why we travel with our little one, click here. We visited South Africa in September (Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban) when baby was eighteen months old and Brazil in November (Sao Paulo, Rio, Salvador and Iguacu Falls) when baby was twenty months old. We’re heading to Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and Hong Kong in March when baby will be twenty four months old. We’ve had really positive experiences and I thought I’d share how we did it.

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#1 Choose a child friendly city

We like museums, hiking, thrifting and wandering around. For us a child friendly city means someplace that we can meander around and have a good time people watching and eating at random places. When things are too structured it creates stress for us. We especially enjoyed Cape Town and Rio. Some might say these cities are places to be wary of, but I say that with common sense these places are as safe as any other place to take your baby/toddler/child.

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#2 Choose a comfortable rental house

Since our little one is still a young toddler, we look for rental houses that have a crib, a bathtub and a way to easily access transportation. We have used hotels on occasion, but we find that get the best value (good amenities at a good price) when we use AirBnB. I’ve read good and bad reviews of staying with an AirBnB property, but our experiences have all been positive. We prefer to rent a whole home (sometimes a house, sometimes an apartment) that has multiple bedrooms, a full kitchen, air conditioning and heat, a bathtub, cable and wireless internet. We’ve rented homes in the swanky financial district in Sandton, South Africa (suburb of Johannesburg) and average sized apartments in Salvador, Brazil. Before we had kids, we CouchSurfed in Japan. I’d do it again but most CSers tend to be young and are usually NOT looking for a family to move into their home!

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#3 Bring touches of home

We travel a lot. A LOT. We’re usually on the road for business a few times a month and the way these travel deals (TheFlightDeal / SecretFlying) keep happening, we are traveling internationally more and more. To make sure that we don’t all lose our minds, we bring things from home that make us feel comfortable and help us keep our routine. For the baby that means bringing one of his turtle blankets, some familiar toys, a few snacks (granola bars) and a tablet with his videos (Storybots, Rafi, Mulan and Kung Fu Panda are his faves right now). Regardless of what’s on tv in the country we’re visiting he can sit on his blanket, play with his toys and watch the same thing he might watch if we were at home. It keeps him grounded and helps us all sleep well.

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#4 Think strategically

Traveling with a toddler can be all fun and games IF you put things in place to lessen your stress and create opportunities for awesome things to happen. We’re all different and what that looks like to you may be different than what it looks like to me, but here are the things I do to increase the chances that fun will happen:

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  • Choose fewer sights to see in one day. What do you absolutely want to make sure that you get to do?
  • Choose times to see sights when foot traffic will be low. This is a no-brainer.
  • Bring snacks for everyone because cranky adults fight with cranky kids. A hand full of trail mix and an apple can turn even the worst attitudes around.
  • Bring our baby carrier. There is no way I’d even attempt all this travel without my handy mei tei.
  • Use caribiners to attach water bottles and snack cups to backpacks and mei tei.
  • Bring a small backpack inside of my larger backpack for day trips. Less weight means less effort expended on humping items and more effort enjoying the day.

 

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#5 Let ’em be free range

Some of the best experiences we’ve had, have happened because we are open to letting  the baby explore a bit. In Salvador the baby and a waiter played tag while we ate. It was still early (we have to feed the baby before sleepy time) so the restaurant was pretty empty. There were two waiters that started playing with the baby. At one point, he wanted to get out of his high chair and then wanted to get down off of my lap. The waiter assured me that it was fine and then began chasing the baby around! The baby loved it. He began running and squealing with delight! The other waitstaff came to see what was happening and joined in. That’s one of the best memories I have of Brazil and it happened because we allowed the baby a little freedom. See what can happen when you allow children to experience the world they live in on their own terms.

This is how we’ve managed to take our not-yet-two-year-old on almost twenty five flights on four continents in four countries. Do you have any tips about traveling with a baby or toddler? I’d love to hear ’em. Please share in the comments below.