Transitioning living arrangements/visitation arrangements
This may be a pretty unique situation, but I'm wondering if anyone has done similar and if so, what kind of things you ran into as far as challenges and/or what you did to make it easier on all involved.
Kids are in 7th and 9th grade. Happy, good students, well adjusted. They get along well with both of their parents.
Since their folks divorced up until recently, they split time between parents about 50/50. One week at one house, the next week at the other, year round. There were times when they were with dad for several weeks in a row, but generally speaking, it was a 50/50 arrangement.
Due to a dwindling ecomony in our home state, job loss, etc, DH/BF took a gov't job that required us to move to the DC area. Because the move was after school had started here, BPs decided that the kids should stay "back home" to finish out the year. They've been visiting nearly EOWE and spending their school breaks here. Between that and the daily skyping, everyone still seems to be doing quite well with the arrangement.
The plan is that they will come here for the summer and then when we move overseas this fall or later, they will be coming with us, attending IB schools, and spending school breaks/holidays with Mom. Everyone agrees that this will be a great opportunity for them to get out and see the world. They're very excited. It looks like we'll probably be moving to Africa.
So we're all on the same page there. For now at least.
But I'm wondering if anyone has had experience here? Transitioning kids from small rural schools into the IB program? Or has experience with FS (Foreign Service) life as it pertains to kids. They've never lived outside of the small town where they live now and are used to having lots of extended family around. This will be a big change. I'm trying to gather any info I can NOW to get prepared.
When we go, I will not be working so I will be available to get them to activities and make sure that they have plenty of stuff to keep them as busy as they wish. Dad will be working a lot. Any experiences or advice to share for the SP in a situation like this?
Most of our friends here in the FS either have grown adult children or very small children. There are family resources available and programs for preparing the kids that are offered by the State Dept but since they're not here right now, there's not a lot we can do on that track.
Overall, I think that the kids will do very well because they have adventurous spirits. Not much phases them. I'm not working since the move though so I've got plenty of time (and spare energy) to spend researching how to make this as easy on everyone as possible.
It's difficult enough to move to a foreign country--I've done it a few times. But not with kids or a spouse. I only had to worry about me.
One other question I have is with regards to travel expenses. Right now, we're paying 100% of all travel expenses, which makes sense since we are the ones that moved and they're technically living with Mom full time now. But when we go and the living arrangements are essentially reversed, how have people handled it? We will still be paying the full CS amount as far as I know. I don't think DH will try to get that reduced. Is it at all feasible then to ask that the travel expenses be split if we're still paying full CS AND have the kids? Obviously, that is a discussion to be had between BF and BM, but I'm just wondering what others have done.