3 Reasons Why Traveling With Kids From Trauma Is Worth It.

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It's often a dreaded adventure for foster and adoptive parents: summer travel. Or any travel, for that matter. Often, we wonder, is it worth it? Maybe we're safer just staying home? We're here to tell you, it is worth it. And here's why...

Living far from family means we travel occasionally. Four kids requires extra care when traveling on an airplane. Four kids with trauma and sensory issues requires extra, extra care when traveling on an airplane. Four kids, with medical needs, and trauma and sensory issues requires extra, extra, extra care when traveling on an airplane.

Excitement was flowing, which means anxiety is surfacing. My kids LOVE going to Poppy and Grammy’s. Good anxiety/bad anxiety = same result. Trauma lesson #1. Sensory issues require paying an extra $50 for a suitecase…of stuffed animals. Trauma lesson #2.

We picked the kids up from their beds, tossed them in the car and off we went. Check-in lady was feeling nice and allowed Daddy to escort us to the gate. My most sensory deprived kid went through security and kissed the x-ray machine.

Yes, you read that right…I said “Kissed it.”

Alarms sounded and the TSA peeps scolded him causing more anxiety. I was pulled aside (as always) with my cooler of medicine. Sixteen bottles, all liquid. This requires every bottle to be opened and tested and also a full pat-down. TSA lady says to me that apparently I’ve done this before because I’m very patient.


Yep to the “done this before,” not the patient part.

We kiss Daddy goodbye and head down the runway. Everyone settles in and I notice my daughter’s huge brown eyes and long lashes looking truly broken. She rarely looks sad. Mad, annoyed, vengeful, yes, but rarely sad. My asking caused giant tears to flow down her softened cheeks. Apparently the details of the trip didn’t translate to a 4-year-old that Daddy wasn’t coming with us. Not just any 4-year-old, a 4-year-old with attachment issues. Goodbyes are really, really hard on a child with attachment issues.

And just like that…her sadness turned to the more familiar P O’d.

Her P O’d-ness began with her refusing to put on her seatbelt. And then standing up to let the family behind us know she was P O’d. And then kicking the seat in front of her. And asking for everything under the sun, only to refuse it once I gave it to her. Suddenly I became the antagonist holding strawberry pudding in my hand, her screaming for it, and me withholding it.

What the neighbors judging me didn’t know is that I put medicine in the pudding and knew she would throw it or spit it out. So I held it in my hand while she screamed, “Give me my pudding!!!!!!” I thought about commencing the seatbelt wrestling match but did what was in everyone’s best interest and called the flight attendant. I pointed to my daughter’s lap.

“Is she yours?” I bet bio parents never get asked that question. She proceeded to tell my daughter she had to put her seatbelt on or the police would come. I would be appalled that someone would say that to a 4-year-old, but apparently on an airplane it’s true. She listened to HER like I knew she would. In the air, Frozen on, and she forgot all about not getting the memo about Daddy. And I fed her the pudding.

A man tells my son to stop pushing back on his knees which was in protest to my “no” to buying airplane snacks. Of course we brought our own, but they are never as cool.

Then came, “I’M BORRREEDDDD!”

Nails on a chalkboard to any parent, but out of this kid’s mouth…dangerous. Especially on an airplane. The young angel sitting with him asked all kinds of questions which always results in a conversation about anything…football. She let them play on her phone, shared her snacks, which of course were more delicious than ours. When the plane landed, he was sitting in her lap to peek out the window because he just had to spy our suitcases.

In his words, “She doesn’t care, Mom. She’s a teacher.”

Bless her heart.

Traveling is hard on kids from trauma. Newness is hard on kids from trauma. Crowds and hustle and bustle and lack of sleep because of time change and environments are hard on kids from trauma.

Traveling is hard on kids from trauma. Newness is hard on kids from trauma.

Avoiding birthday parties, extracurricular activities and sometimes even church are what’s in the best interest of our kids. Then there’s those things we know if we do them will end up bad…and we do them anyway.

Because…IT’S WORTH IT! Sometimes, it’s just worth it!

My kids love going to Poppy and Grammy’s. While there are a bazillion reasons why summer travel is not a good idea, here are 3 reasons that just might make it worth it.

  1. It’s good for MY soul. I got just enough of a break to get me going again. With a cleared mind, I was able to see beauty in things I never noticed before. Like the wind blowing soy bean leaves back and forth creating a rolling green carpet. Simple. But refreshing.
  2. It’s good for my kids to build relationships with others. They have other adults speaking truth into their lives. Teaching them new skills and knowing that we may have to say goodbye for a time, but family is still family. And they always come back.
  3. What we remember is not what they remember. While the memories seared into my brain are the arduous travel experience and the strawberry pudding, they remember catching lightning bugs with cousins, how the sun doesn’t sleep until 9:30, golf cart rides through the wooded 5-acres to count bunnies and pick wild berries, checking on the bird houses built with Poppy previous years, building the world’s largest bonfire that the fire truck may or may not investigate, a canoe ride that resulted in everyone falling out because Mommy didn’t steer quite right.

Then comes the even more daunting trek home with now exhausted children creating more havoc on an airplane. Summer creeps around again, and someone asks, “When are we going to Poppy and Grammy’s?” And the excitement/anxiety cycle begins again. And I ask myself, “Is it worth it?”

Yes, it is! And I pull out my calendar and begin planning for next year.

Have you attempted to travel with your kiddos recently? How was it? Share your story with us in the comment section below.

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Mike and Kristin Berry are the Co-Founders of The Honestly Adoption Company and have been parents for nearly two decades. They are the authors of six books, and the host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.

Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is the executive assistant to Mike and Kristin Berry. And she is the best in the land. In addition to providing a warm and friendly response to the many emails our company receives on a weekly basis, she also manages Mike and Kristin’s speaking and meeting schedules, and makes sure that team events go off without a hitch.

Nicole Goerges

Nicole Goerges is a Content Contributor & Special Consultant for The Honestly Adoption Company. She works with Mike and Kristin as a recurring co-host for the Honestly Adoption Podcast, and co-host of Kitchen Table Talks, exclusive video content for Oasis Community, along with Kristin. She is a fellow adoptive mom, and former foster parent.

Matt McCarrick

Matt McCarrick is the Content Production Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. If you’ve loved listening to our podcast, or enjoyed any of the videos trainings we’ve published, you have Matt to thank. He oversees all of our content production, from video edits, to making sure the tags are correct on YouTube, to uploading new videos to Oasis, to hitting publish on a podcast episode, he’s a content wonder!

Karen Anderson

Karen Anderson is the Community Engagement Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends the bulk of her time interacting with, and helping, people through our various social media channels, as well as providing support for Oasis Community members through chat support or Zoom calls. In the same spirit as Beaver, Karen is also passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and supported. Karen is also an FASD trainer and travels often, equipping and encouraging parents.

Beaver Trumble

Beaver Trumble is the Customer Care Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. Chances are, if you have been in need of technical support, or forgotten your password to one of our courses, you have interacted with Beaver. He is an absolute pro at customer care. In fact, he single-handedly revolutionized our customer care department last year. Beaver is passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and encouraged.

Kristin Berry

Kristin Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Content Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends most of her time researching and connecting with guests for our podcast, as well as direction, designing and publishing a lot of the content for our social media channels, blog and podcast. She loves to connect with fellow parents around the world, and share the message of hope with them.

Mike Berry

Mike Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Marketing Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. He spends the bulk of his time and energy designing and building many of the resources you see within our company, as well as social media and email campaigns. His goal is to use media as a means to encourage and equip parents around the world. He is also the co-host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.