Planning to Travel Overseas to visit your Birth Country?

As any adoptee. Many who are adopted inside their own Country are able to get to where they came from a little bit easier than those who are adopted overseas. There is never a perfect time and nobody can answer that but yourself.

We have some tips below that can help you get to where you want to go. Many adoptees travel just to visit where they came from and many go to meet their Birth Parents. Experiencing the culture is always an incredible thing to do!

If you are planning to visit your Birth Country if you are adopted from overseas make sure you have everything ready.

  • Check your Visa Requirements:
    If you are planning to revisit a country you were born in, you may need to have a passport for that Country to get in. It always pays to double check this. Many adoptees including myself have had to renew our Russian passports last minute as we weren’t able to travel into Russia on any other passport. This is because we are born in Russia. Though you do have to check for Citizenship and then go through your passport application. This varies and depends on when you were born. Always pays to double check. Check with the Embassy of that Country. They should be able to help.
  • Don’t rush into travelling:
    Don’t rush into travelling to your Birth Country or place. This is just my piece of advice. Of course you can do whatever you like. But having at least an idea of what you plan to do is always useful. There may be things that you might think about until you get there. Here are some things that I didn’t think about until I got to my Birth Country; SIM Card to keep in touch with my Family in New Zealand. Passport Holder (I actually got one of these through at the airport. This is to reassure me that my passport is always with me). Some things I learnt from others who were travelling. Take a photo of your passport, like a scan. And email this to yourself. Always good to have a digital copy of your passport incase you may need it. Can be helpful if you book something and they may need your passport number. This happens normally online for airline tickets while you want to keep your physical passport in a secure place.

    At the end of each day it is always good to copy any photos off that you had taken. Upload these to a dropbox account at the end of each day if you are connected to the internet or copy them onto a USB Stick. You don’t want to lose these! If you don’t take any computers you can always find a few public places around which can help. On my trip I also had Google Translate by my side. This would help with any useful and quick translations. It was a life saver. Though I now can say a bit in Russian this was always useful. Having a translator with you is also a very good thing to plan in advance. You may struggle with the language barrier but you could be okay if you are in a huge city, but always pays to have someone there who can translate.

    You might even decide to make a travel experience out of it. My friend decided to buy a motorbike with help from Superbike Loans and went travelling around his birth country of Morocco for 3 weeks. This could be a great way to see your birth country and a very fulfilling and enjoyable way to spend a month or so of your life. But travels like this take a lot of planning and thinking ahead so don’t rush into it!

  • Reach out on a Crowdfunding website:
    Go check out a website like Kickstarter or GoFundMe! Tell your story there and with what you plan to do. You never know who could be reading. You can share your story with us and we will be happy to add the link at the end of your story to post on Facebook and the Website.
  • Take a look at Airfare Prices on the go
    I’m no travel expert but I have been able to know what times of the year for me to travel to Russia are! There are many websites that you can get cheap flights from. I always check with where I am booking before I pay. I normally have a look at TripAdvisor for reviews and tips on travelling. Websites like SkyScanner or Kayak I search for flights with. I tend to book direct with the airline so I know for sure that my flights are being processed quickly. Google is your friend here!
  • Be excited!
    Be excited about your trip! It is exciting but do understand that for some it’s not all 100% perfect. You have to be prepared for anything especially if you are meeting your Birth parents for the first time. That is why it is always good to grow a relationship before you meet them. Learn about them and the destination you’re off too. Cultural Care Au Pair have a great tool when wanting to share cultures online, it’s quick and easy and it’ll get you up to speed in no time. Planning is important and this can make the trip a trip to remember!

    – Alex Gilbert

    facebook.com/nzalexgilbert

    Founder & Russian-Kiwi Adoptee