Tuesday, April 15, 2008

For Future Adoptive Parents

Okay, maybe nobody cares to read this, but when I was waiting to go to China I read all the blogs looking for advice on travel, packing, etc., so here's my two cents...

Helpful Chinese Phrases to Know

I'm not even going to attempt to put the Chinese pronunciations on here. You would be better off asking your guide.

Thank you - because someone is always doing something for you
Excuse me/I'm sorry
May I have a fork?
No ice - because the ice isn't clean there and that one is really hard to pantomime
I need some space! - Just kidding, but you will be thinking it

Things I'm glad I Packed or Wished I'd Packed

Stacking cups - hundreds of adoptive parents that went before us were not wrong - it is really the only toy that you need

Blow-up ball or balloons - also a nice to have and takes up no room

Travel alarm - most of the hotels we stayed in had no clocks

cleft bottles - regular bottles probably would have been fine and the other babies were using them, but when we tried one we had to cut the nipple for him and it made a huge mess. He has also had a lot of trouble with sippy cups, even the Nuby

formula mixer

dish soap and woolite

more bibs - the amount of drool coming from all the babies was unbelievable

Cheerios, puffs, teddy grahams, or other snack foods - not that you can't find little crackers and stuff over there, but it seems like they are all made out of fish or shrimp and then you are trying to bond with someone blowing fish-breath in your face

all kinds of medicine - we donated most of what we had brought for Joshua, but all of what we brought for adults was used by us or someone in our group

packing cubes from ebags.com - so helpful for staying organized when you have three people living out of two suitcases for three weeks

laptop - we debated about this because it wasn't ours, keys were missing, and it was extra big and a pain to carry around all the time (especially after it broke), but it was so worth it to do see our kids over skype everyday and it was definitely the cheapest way to call home

Baby carrier - we used Ergo and loved it - once we figured it out. Seriously I don't know who designs these things but it is most certainly not the same person who writes the instruction manual. Once you get to Guangzhou you can use a stroller for free

Other Thoughts

I didn't understand why my husband insisted that we not delete the pictures from our camera after we downloaded them every night. After the computer crashed, I understood.

Expect the first week or so home to be really, really hard. The first week at home with a new child is always hard, but when you add jet lag and a toddler who is jet-lagged on a different schedule than you (and for us, kids who have missed you for three weeks), you start thinking, I may never sleep or shower again!

Don't feel too guilty if you find yourself thinking, What have I gotten myself into? Have I made a mistake? I personally had those thoughts during the first week with all of my children, biological and adopted. It gets better.

In Guangzhou - I can't remember the name of it, but there was a really good Chinese place to eat that was kind of across the street from Lucy's and upstairs. It was one of the few places on the island that was actually full of Chinese people eating there.

Also somewhere not too far from the medical exam place was a fun place to eat (The Station?). Yummy Italian if you're tired of Chinese and you get to sit in a rail car. Kind of a romantic setting until you see the noodles coming out your baby's nose.

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