Staff PhotosHello, my name is Megan Kautio, and I am the Assistant Executive Director of American Adoptions. I have worked with many birth mothers and adoptive families in my time here at American Adoptions and love being able to watch families form through adoption.

Q. Why is it important for an adoptive family to wait to travel until their Birth Parent Specialist or Adoptive Family Specialist tells them it’s ok? 

A. With the anticipation that surrounds the birth of the baby, it is inevitable that adoptive parents will feel anxious about travel arrangements. You’ll probably feel a range of emotions, from pure excitement that the day is finally here/close, to worry about not making it in time for the birth and possibly upsetting the birth parents, to concern about airfare and travel costs that seem higher for last-minute travel plans than those arranged in advance. It is easy to see why this part of the adoption journey is one that causes additional stress.

When it comes to this part of the process, it is crucial that families listen to their Specialists’ advice on what to do. The adoptive family’s Adoption Specialists will tell them when they should travel based on several factors: the birth mother’s hospital plan, when she wants the family to arrive, whether she is being induced or having a spontaneous delivery, etc.

If a birth mother is being induced and has a set date for delivery, it is much easier for the Specialist, birth mother and adoptive family to plan travel in advance. However, if the birth mother does not have a scheduled induction or cesarean section set, then the family should not plan to travel until she is in labor. Many families have decided to travel to the birth mother’s state based solely on her due date only to find themselves sitting in a hotel far away from home for two weeks or more before the baby finally arrives. Then, after the baby is here, the family has to wait another two weeks for ICPC and other legalities to be completed. Needless to say, this can cause undue stress as the family is away from home for longer than anticipated and is spending more money than expected. It is also important that a family always talk about their travel plans with their Specialist, just in case a birth mother experiences false labor contractions. We don’t want a family to travel on a false alarm, so your Adoption Specialists will verify that a birth mother is truly in labor before telling a family to go.

When the time comes and an Adoption Specialist tells the adoptive family to travel, it is important that they do not delay unnecessarily. If the Specialist feels that the adoptive family needs to travel ASAP, then they need to heed this advice, as it is likely important to the birth parents that the family arrive as soon as possible. American Adoptions’ policy is that families must travel (and hopefully arrive) within 24 hours of learning their birth mother is in labor.

Don’t worry, we go over this information with each family prior to the birth of the baby. Your Specialist will prepare you for travel and the entire hospital experience. If you have any questions, discuss them with your Specialist.