Monday, January 27, 2014

Travel plans

Aislinn asked on my last post how the travel plans worked.  So here's the skinny, since we had some major accomplishments today.

This is an other area where I'm sure situations, agencies, states, etc can be different.  From what I've read, we are mostly the norm, but obviously if you are in the adoption process, your experience could vary quite a bit from this one.  Ideally this is a good starting point reference though!

Our agency's general guidance is that they will call us and give us permission to travel.  This occurs once the expectant mother has been admitted to the hospital (she could go thinking she is in labor, and they could send her home).  At that point, they expect us to travel within 24 hours at the most, so we can be down there as soon as possible.  If you have any Type A planning traits in your blood, this is your worst nightmare :)  You can't make any arrangements ahead of time, outside of "knowing your options" and likely will pay through the nose for last minute travel.

T and I have decided to approach a little differently.  H's prior children have all been born ON her due date, which is kind of insane.  Obviously this one will need to buck the norm, but we do have a good sense that she doesn't trend towards going early or late.  So we've started making plans with the priorities being flexibility and refundability.  In researching, I read so many people that were able to get special discounts/treatment by calling the airline/hotel/rental car place directly and explaning the situation.  I don't know if we just sound like dirty rotten scoundrels or what, but no one we called seemed to give a rat's ass that we are adopting and trying to save money.  So to the interwebs we went!

**ICPC:  note that the reason this is hard is that we will have to stay in Florida for a period of time after placement.  This is called ICPC and is when both the sending state and receiving state finalize all the paperwork.  This gives us permission to leave the state without a federal kidnapping offense.  There is no set time period for this, so we are told to expect 2+ weeks.**

 If we fly from Des Moines, we need to change planes.  If we can fly from Kansas City, we can get a direct flight, but would need to drive 3 hours from Des Moines to KC.  Our initial plan was to wait for the call and then just start plotting costs vs arrival times of our flight options.  We were sad that there was no way we'd be there for the birth, because it would take at least 10-12 hours after the call to get there (depending on the time of day of the call).  Or, at least for H's sake, we hoped her delivery wouldn't be that long!

We did then figure out that we'd be in Kansas City for the weekend close to H's due date anyway.  So we've decided to go ahead and book a flight from KC to go direct.  If H gives birth earlier, we're back to the plan above and would need to change our flight.  If not, we save enough money booking in advance that it is worth it...even if we end up in Florida with H still totally pregnant and no sign of giving birth.  It takes about 6-7 days to "break even" on extra hotel costs, and we can still do some work from down there to avoid taking too much vacation time.

It's going to be so weird flying down with a car seat, bassinet, diaper bag, and no baby, but hopefully people don't look at us too strangely :)  We did only book the one-way flight for now, so we'll still have to pay last minute fares for the return.  Oh well.

This one was super easy.  We used Enterprise last time we were there and it was seamless.  We just booked the car for 3 weeks starting the day we have our flight scheduled, and we can change or cancel for no fee.  Thank you, lovely lovely Enterprise.

This one was a PAIN IN THE ASS.  PAIN. IN. THE. ASS. 

The first logical answer, as recommended by several adoption sites, is to get an extended stay hotel with a kitchenette (for washing bottles, making food for us, etc) There is a Residence Inn across the street from the hospital, so everything seemed easy peasy.  Except the fact that the Resi Inn was charging $200/night.  Take that times a potential 21 days (3 weeks), and we were sick to our stomachs.  Plus we'd be stuck in a smaller room in a strip mall area hotel for potentially 3 weeks. WITH A NEWBORN.  Blech.

The next logical choice was to look at a vacation rental, like through vrbo.  We happily got back to work finding little condos on the beach that would be just perfect.  Most worked out to be closer to $100/night with access to coin laundry and the beach.  Half price! Full kitchen! Beach! Sold!  Except we had to pay in advance, commit to those dates, and if we cancelled less than 60 days in advance, we'd still have to pay for the full reservation.  Um, no.

We looked at other hotels in the area, trying to find ones with kitchens, but to no avail.

Then we had dinner last weekend with some friends headed down to Disney around the same time.  They mentioned that Orlando would be a good place to look, since hotels there cater to families.  H's town is about an hour away from Orlando (we fly into Orlando), so I can't believe we didn't think of this on our own.  I think we wanted to be closer to H, but she may not want to spend time with us anyway.  And we can always drive back as long as baby girl is doing all right.

So we found a spacious 2 bedroom, full kitchen condo in Orlando for $130/night!  With a washer and a dryer.  Still more than I want to spend (I was hoping for a $5 room, but no one seemed to have that), but reasonable all things considered.  And flexibility on scheduling.  Yay, yay, yay, yay, yay!  We booked a Fairfield Inn for the first couple nights in H's town as well, to cover us until baby is discharged.

So now we just continue to wait and pray and love and wait.  We're getting pretty good at that part.


  1. It is remarkable how challenging the arrangements can get. I hope all the airlines can be flexible once they are informed of the circumstances. I'm glad you found a place in Orlando and, as I read your post, I was hoping you'd find that $5 a night deal too... kidding! :-)
    Elizabeth via ICLW

  2. Oh my goodness, all of that would give me such a headache, I can't imagine trying to plan for it all! Not that I want H to be in labor for 10-12 hours, but I secretly hope you guys get to be there for the birth ;-)

  3. Thanks for updating!! I have been thinking about you all. Isn't it exciting when a new month comes and you can think...that's one more month over until Baby comes! I'm sure your stepdaughter is over the moon about a baby sister. Congrats and can't wait to follow along on the journey.


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