Kids are easier then dogs.
Compared to the dog, Albie, our two boys were a piece of cake! We had a family meeting to discuss moving to England. We showed the boys exactly where on a map we were considering moving to. I think the thought of castles and Big Ben (and more castles) sold them on the idea. Aaron was 10 and Elijah 6 when we left, so they were not overly attached to school, sports teams, or friends (especially the girl type). We have always been a very close family. As long as we were all together (dog included) then they were OK with it.
My very practical wife immediately created a to do list for the family. We were all assigned duties with dates for completion in a very military style form. This, once again, proved to be absolutely essential. She made doctors’ appointments for all of us. She made sure that everyone had a check-up and had all vaccines up to date. She even created a medical binder for us with copies of all of our medical histories (Tip: This is a VERY good idea.). She took the boys to our state DMV and got the boys picture IDs (Tip: This is another VERY good idea.).
We agreed as a family that the boys could take with them a certain number of “special items” that reminded them of home. We knew we were not taking everything with us because space and weight were limiting factors. We also were keeping our home in Washington (a lucky deal), so we did not need to get rid of stuff. International flights allow 2 bags per person up to 50 pounds plus 2 carry on items. We bought a suit case scale and maxed our limits to a decimal point (Hint: The airlines allow 2 – 50 pound bags per person and 2 carry on bags regardless of age, even babies, so everyone gets 2 big suitcases and 2 carry on bags.). Strangely, buying 8 matching suitcases seemed to make the dream real.
Getting our passports was a big thrill too. However, if you are going to spend more than 90 days in another country, then you need more than just a passport. You need to seek residency status. This will vary from country to country. For the U.K., getting residency was a pain in the neck. Make sure that you give yourself considerable time to get the process done (about 4-6 months). For example, you will need to go to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to get your biometric screening done. This is not as invasive as it may sound, but does require an appointment. Results from the screening must be either hand delivered or express couriered to the British Consulate within 5 days. Each country we learned is a little different. The burden is on you to learn the ropes.