Ready to travel to Ukraine to adopt

Get ready to adopt your trip to Ukraine! Lots to plan and prepare to make your trip less stressful and your stay more comfortable:

• Go online and familiarize yourself with the Ukrainian currency. The appearance of the different denominations and exchange rates. (Currently $1 USD is about 8 Ukrainian Hryvnia) Practice converting prices to dollars.

• Make a list of places you want to see in Kiev while you are there. You want to make it unforgettable. This could be before you meet your child, or fun things you can do together. Kiev has many cultural activities and things to do. Where your child’s orphanage determines where you will spend the most time, but you won’t know that until after your referral interview!

• Your clothing needs depend on when you travel to Ukraine. Be sure to break in all your shoes and plan to travel light. You are going on a journey across the country!

• Start pricing flights to Ukraine and determine the best routes and time options to fly to and from Kiev. Please note that you must have an open ticket as you do not know your exact return date. Talk to airline agents and discuss whether it is best to buy a closed ticket and pay a change fee or buy an open date ticket. There can be a big price difference. Don’t forget there’s a kid flying with you, so you’ll need a one-way ticket too! If you’re considering using frequent flyer points or miles, find out what to do so you don’t get any surprises.

• Discuss your travel budget with your adoption agency or adoption counselor. Think about what type of accommodation you want: hotel or apartment for example, and what your budget will be. Do you eat out or do you prepare your meals? Depending on where you stay in Ukraine, there may be fewer options available.

• Bring 2 cameras that you know how to use. I suggest one for each spouse. You want to document everything. This is a once in a lifetime experience, just like the birth of a child. You will always look back on it and wish you took more photos from your adoption journey. Each spouse should have a camera so there are photos of both adoptive parents with your newly adopted child.

• Consider bringing a camera for your newly adopted child so she or he can take photos and capture the adoption experience through their eyes.

• Over and over again discuss the adoption process, steps, and timeline with your adoption agency or adoption facilitator. Traveling and adopting will be stressful and very emotional, the more you understand and the better prepared you are, the better.

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• Check if your health insurance covers medical emergencies if you are outside the US. Consider getting additional travel medical insurance. Book with an insurance company that offers per-trip policies. Premiums are generally nominal for coverages up to $50,000. The costs depend on the age of the traveler and the length and costs of the trip. If you are an American Express cardholder, call them first.

• Work on your Russian for traveling!