During our trip to pick up our son from Ethiopia, one area of concern that we had was the flight home—the straight 16 hour flight over the ocean home. The flight that we would be parenting a 3 year old boy who did not know us, had hardly ever been in a vehicle (let alone an airplane), and further more didn't know a word of English flight home.  Do you see why it was a point of concern?

Our trip home went quite well really, save for a few bumpy patches. Nothing you couldn't deal with.  I was glad I had prepared what I did and I also learned some things to make our next trip that much easier.

I hope this post will give you some ideas for your journey home. What to do…and what not to do.

  1. Benadryl does not have a calming effect.

I get terribly nauseous on plane rides. I certainly did not want our new son to be miserable, so I did a little research and found out that Benadryl has the same active ingredient as Dramamine. I planned ahead and gave Jo some children's Benadryl an half an hour before we boarded the plane.  I thought he would avoid motion sickness and might even be a little drowsy….BOY was I wrong. He may have felt ok but he was not drowsy. What I hadn't read was that Benadryl can have the opposite effect of drowsiness in children.  Jo was bouncing, touching, and out of control for the first hour. Don't do this.

      2.    Practice the seat belt before the plane.

 Our son had never worn or seen a seat belt before. When we had to buckle him in for take off, he threw such a fit and screamed so loudly that after 5 minutes the stewardess came over and whispered to me, "Just let him go without."  I'd never seen that before on a plane.

Now I do not advocate bribery in normal parenting, but it certainly was a life saver on our connecting flights.  I held up a sucker and was able to communicate to him that if he wanted that sucker he had to wear the seatbelt.  He complied, realized the seatbelt did not do him any harm and was good with them after that.

    3.      The magic of a light up toy.

A wonder worker for us on the plane was a little battery airplane fan that lit up when you squeezed the handle. For a child who had never really had a toy with batteries, this was a real wonder and caught his attention every time.  Stock your carry on with new little trinkets to bring out along the way.

(Throwing a very loud fit on the floor while I dig out a diversion)

     4.   Have peace, this too shall pass.  It is only a matter of hours and when it is over the long road to your child coming home has finally ended!

(Thank you, Jesus!)