December 12, 2008

Travel Warning for Guatemala

The US Embassy in Guatemal has issued a travel warning for Guatemala. As always, it is prudent to use common sense when visiting. And it is good to have the government point out ways to improve safety. But also remember that near everyone visits with no problems so don't be scared, just be smart...

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Posted by Kevin at 06:44 AM

June 29, 2005

Release of the Second Edition of "Guatemala Travel and Etiquette: A Guide for Adoptive Parents."

the release of the Second Edition of "Guatemala Travel and Etiquette: A Guide for Adoptive Parents."

This free, online, informative volume answers the many questions that
both first-time and experienced travelers have when planning trips either to visit or to bring home their children. Our goal is to promote etiquette, cultural sensitivity, and informed travel.

Several **all new** sections cover:
> The trip itself
> Day trips to popular tourist attractions
> Shopping
> Transportation (with names and phone #s of reliable drivers)
> Heritage travel
> Interacting with foster families
> Accessibility

Three appendices -- also new to the second edition -- address
attachment, cultural pride, and toy ideas.

A pdf of the guide is available HERE

We invite you to download a copy for yourself and to forward the URL to
agencies, parent associations, and individuals you think could benefit from its use. Those of you with web sites (agencies, parent groups, etc.) might consider adding a link to the Guide on your site!

You may submit comments about the Guide to

Finally, we wish to thank everyone who contributed to the second edition of guide, all of whom are named in the Acknowledgements. We are also grateful to everyone who submitted comments about the first edition using the electronic comment form.

We extend special thanks to Kevin Kreutner and Kelly Caldwell of for giving the Guide a home and to the list managers of Guatemala-Adopt for permission to publicize the Guide on the list.

Our best wishes on your journeys,
Marcy McKay, Richard Stollberg, and Bea Evans

Table of Contents:
1. Introduction
2. What to Know Before You Go
3. Planning Your Trip to Guatemala
4. What to Pack
5. The Trip, with a capital T
6. Etiquette
7. The Foster Family
8. The Transition
9. Day Trips
10. The Passport and Visa
11. The Embassy Appointment
12. Departing Guatemala
13. Heritage Travel
Appendix A: Toy Suggestions
Appendix B: Attachment, for You and Your Child
Appendix C: Developing Cultural Pride

{Posted on behalf of Marcy McKay, Richard Stollberg, and Bea Evans...our travel guide team}

Posted by Kelly at 01:27 PM

March 14, 2004

Guatemala Travel and Etiquette

{Posted with permission from Richard Stollberg, Marcy McKay and Bea Evans}

**Please note: The Guide has been updated with corrections 3/16/2004. It is also advisable to visit before making the trip.**

Following a recent thread on the Biglist (around January) regarding
etiquette while traveling, some of us Listeras and Listeros got together
and created a booklet "Guatemala Travel and Etiquette: A Guide for Adoptive
Parents." It covers:
- What to Know Before You Go
- Planning Your Trip to Guatemala
- What to Pack
- Etiquette
- The Transition
- Entertaining Children
- The Passport and Visa
- The Embassy Appointment
- Departing Guatemala

The pdf version is now available online on the Guatadopt web site at:

We invite you to use and disseminate this guide! You may download,
photocopy, and distribute it without our written permission, but we ask
that you include the title and acknowledgements pages when you do. Our
goal in writing this guide is to promote informed and prepared travel, and
cultural sensitivity, so PLEASE forward this URL to your agency, to your
parent support groups, and to anyone you know who will be traveling.

If you have comments on the Guide, you are welcome to submit them through:

The Authors wish to thank both the Latin America Parents Association of New
York (LAPA-NY) for permission to use their "Guidelines for
Behavior While Visiting Another Culture," and Adoption Associates Inc.,
(, Jennison, MI, 616-667-0677) for permission to
use material from "Adoption Travel for Smarties." This popular and
extensive guide covers China and Russia as well as Guatemala, and is
available for order through AAI.

We thank Stevan Whitehead and Lisa Smith for offering suggestions and
allowing us to publicize the guide on this list, as well as list members
who have offered travel and etiquette suggestions "along the way." Thanks
also to our reviewers, Jane Nahirny, Anita Rodriguez, Leticia Jaime, and
Marjorie Koplowitz.

Finally, we owe a SPECIAL debt of gratitude to Kelly Caldwell, owner of
Guatemala Adoption Information and News (Guatadopt), for very graciously
allowing us make her site the guide's "home." She far exceeded our
expectations by welcoming the guide with open arms and working with us on
technical issues. She makes the difficult look simple.

The Authors
Marcy McKay
Bea Evans
Richard Stollberg

Posted by Kelly at 08:30 PM

October 26, 2003

Travel Helpers

I tell anyone that asks....traveling with a baby is stressful (especially, if you are a new parent). While we historically put up with a little hassle to save a few dollars, NOW (as parents) we spend those dollars to avoid as much hassle as possible! To plan your travel adventure, do a quick excercise. Imagine yourself VERY stressed out and loaded down with heavy luggage and a new, how much would you pay someone to lift a burden? You may surprise yourself....I found $100 each was well worth getting a direct flight. I found that there were other little areas that I could ease our journey (I also have an article with travel tips that might help you out). In addition, here are some items that you might be interested in....(CLICK ON THE PICTURES TO TAKE YOU TO THE PRODUCT INFO).


Sit 'n Stroll
We have traveled with our daughter three separate times. Two of those times, we had to haul around a carrier or carseat as well as the stroller. Honestly, I would have bought this handy combo stroller/carseat in a pinch...for you cannot travel *light* with a baby/toddler and reducing the hassle factor (and the trunk room) would be pretty nice!!! I admit, I have not purchased one yet so I can not attest to the durability.


Tote 'n Stroll
Here is another option for children that are over 25 pounds. I am not sure how a young toddler would do with this, but it definately has its advantages.

Baby 'b Air
During all my trips, I was nervous about hitting turbulence...but with a baby on my lap, I was downright paranoid. This seatbelt is made to handle such a situation.

Snug Tub Blow up Tub
This blow up tub is perfect for travel (for babies sitting up to 2 year olds). Deflated, it fits nicely in your luggage....but at the hotel, it is a wonderful helper!

Table Toppers

Disposable table toppers that STICK on! These are wonderful for taking babies out to a restaurant.

Again, see my TRAVEL TIPS...

Posted by Kelly at 12:04 AM

September 19, 2003

Getting Ready to Travel

For those of you that all the sudden find yourself preparing to travel, CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! I have a list of travel tips that may help you prepare for you trip (it is updated for older toddlers).

Also, since many of you have been so caught up in the day to day news, I would like to remind you of a few items.

1st - Mongolian Spots: Please read up on them. It can save you a lot of embarrassment and problems with any additional caregivers.

2nd - Skin Conditions and Eczema: Our little girl had really dry cheeks (unrelated to drueling). After the doctor's recommendation didn't work. We switched to using Aveeno wash and baby lotion and her dry cheeks cleared in two days. However, Aveeno (which means oatmeal is not always recommended for children with Eczema).

3rd - Size and Head Circumference: Some (not all) Guatemalan children are a bit smaller. Small Head circumference is normal for these children and it does not signify a problem. It is a cultural reality. My little girl who is considered by her doctor to be "ahead of the game", is only in the 5 - 10% in head circumference at a year old. She is only in the 10% in weight.

4th - Speech delays: For the toddler, you may experience some speech delays as your child adjusts to hearing English (or another language other than Spanish). Again, this is nothing to worry about.

5th - FIND A DOCTOR FAMILIAR WITH INTERNATIONALLY ADOPTED CHILDREN: This is important for YOUR sanity. Whatever growth records you have, TAKE them with you. A doctor may worry about a child that is barely in the 1% of weight or head circumference if he/she has nothing to compare it to. I find it REALLY helpful to write down as much as you know about their diet, care and any other items that come to mind. This takes a load off your shoulders instead of trying to remember every point off the top of your head.

6th - Crying is normal: Try and keep yourself relaxed and calm. YOUR behaviour is going to affect their response. A confident, calm presense is going to do wonders for your child's emotional state.

7th - Post Adoption Depression: You get home and you are running on adrenalin for the first couple of weeks. All the sudden, the depression kicks in....your time is gone, the house is a wreck, your clothes don't fit, you are running on a few hours of sleep....and EVERYONE expects you to be all sunshine and light over bringing your precious child home. THIS IS NORMAL!!!! OK, so you did not have the hormone issues, but you have been on the most wicked emotional rollercoaster ride. I've noticed that many parents do NOT seek support because they are too embarrassed to gripe about their new addition when they worked so very hard to bring them home! But if you find yourself depressed....PLEASE, PLEASE find another adoptive parent (preferably one that has brought their child home;-) to blow off steam with.

It is now time to put away the TYPE A personality Preparing yourself:and concentrate on you. Limit your home-internet time. Make yourself watch a movie, sit down and see if you can play with those new toys (Megablocks are wonderful therapy). Stretch, stretch, stretch.....a baby tends to make you bend and stretch in ways you forgot about;-)

Posted by Kelly at 03:49 PM

March 16, 2003

Travel Tips

Here are some ideas for those ready to travel :
Checklist and Tips (PDF format)

Posted by Kelly at 12:14 AM

March 08, 2003

Foster Mom Questions

What is his schedule during the day? What does he enjoy doing?
What is his schedule at night? How do you get him to sleep?
Does he sleep in a bed or crib? Does he share a bed?
When does he nap and for how long?
How do you comfort him? How does he like to be held?
How do you give him his bottles? How much at a time?
How do you feed him other foods?
Does he have a favorite toy or blanket?
Is he crawling? When did he start?
When did he roll over? Sit up?
Who is he around during the day?
Teeth or teething pain?
what are the names and ages of your children?
Have you fostered other children?
Do you have access to email?

Posted by Kelly at 11:38 AM