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Information for families who are waiting to travel or are currently traveling.

Time to Referral, Travel, and Age at ReferralGraphs

The most current version of the waiting time graphs are maintained by Ralph Stirling. The graphs and charts are usually updated weekly.

Preparing while you wait for adoption travel: Getting Yourself Immunized Now

As families collect the mounds of paperwork to prepare for international adoption, some prospective parents find ways in which to prepare themselves for parenthood. Besides reading books about parenting, taking a class on infant CPR, fixing up the child's room, cleaning out the garage and attic, and meeting other parents through support groups, there are some unexpected ways to better anticipate the travel abroad by protecting yourself now for exposures that may occur when you travel.

Most trips to adopt internationally last no more than three weeks. Even so, during that short time new parents are exposed to a myriad of infectious diseases that are rare in most parts of the United States, due to better health conditions in the U.S. It makes sense to be prepared and to be protected while you travel, rather than risking that you will be significantly ill just as you become a new parent. Some of the recommended vaccines require multiple doses spread out over up to six months to confer full immunity. If families prepare to travel before they have a referral, there is less concern about all that needs to be done once they have a date to travel abroad.

It is recommended that all adults and children traveling abroad to developing nations have an updated panel of all routine immunizations, as well as additional ones that are necessary just for travel.

For all adults traveling internationally, it is recommended that they have three Hepatitis B vaccines to fully protect them from acquiring Hepatitis B. This disease, which is spread in manners similar to HIV, is contagious through blood and body fluids, particularly sexual transmission. Testing for children still in the country of their birth is not reliable, and some children who have tested negative abroad have tested positive once in the U.S. Family members have then been needlessly exposed. All newborns in this country begin this series of shots shortly after birth, and many states now require the full series of shots for school entry. Adults employed in occupations with the risk of exposure to body fluids (particularly health care workers) should be already vaccinated through their place of employment. The vaccine is given three times, the second one at one month after the first dose, and the third shot four to six months after the first dose. Although the risk of exposure for families while traveling is probably low, this is an important vaccine that should be given in the event of an accidental exposure to an adult or child with Hepatitis B, especially if that child becomes a member of your family (since it may take more than four months for an adult to become immune from the vaccine).

Families who travel abroad are also at significant risk of contacting Hepatitis A, another form of hepatitis that is preventable by a vaccine. This disease is much more contagious than is Hepatitis B, and is spread through contaminated water, contaminated food, or the mouth or fecal excretions of a person infected with this virus. Thus, it can be communicated by sharing food, drinking unsafe water (ice in drinks, as well as water that is not boiled or bottled), eating food washed in unsafe water (including lettuce, uncooked vegetables and unpeeled fruits), and even by changing the diaper of an infected infant without using good hand washing. This vaccine is effective for a short term if given one month prior to travel abroad. If multiple trips are planned, it is suggested that an individual have a booster 6 to 12 months after the initial dose, as this will avoid the need for a repeat booster prior to all future trips. This vaccine should not be given to children less than two years of age. The Hepatitis A vaccine has replaced the need for the gamma-globulin shot, which was formerly given to most adults prior to international travel.

Although wild type polio has been eradicated in North America (some vaccine acquired polio has been seen from the polio vaccine that is given by mouth in individuals who have a compromised immune system), polio is still seen in developing nations. It is recommended that all adults traveling to a developing nation receive an inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) to lessen the risk of acquiring polio abroad. This should be done even if the polio vaccine was given during childhood, as it will serve as a booster dose. The oral polio vaccine (OPV) should not be given to adults because of the risk of acquiring polio from the vaccine itself in individuals whose immunity may have waned. If children are traveling abroad for adoption, they should also receive an additional dose of the polio vaccine, preferably as IPV. This means that they should have a total of five doses of polio vaccine by age 4 rather than the recommended four doses. Adults that receive a booster before travel do not routinely need a dose before each trip.

Diphtheria and tetanus are still seen in other countries. Adults are reminded to have a Td booster every ten years to give continuing protection against these diseases. If an injury that is at risk for tetanus occurs more than five years after one's tetanus shot, a booster is needed at that time. Since none of us can predict what injuries may occur while we are abroad, it is recommended that adults have a tetanus shot booster if it has been more than five years since the last shot. This lessens the chance that a tetanus shot may be needed while overseas.

Measles, mumps and rubella are childhood illnesses that were once common, and have lessened in frequency due to the MMR vaccine, now given during childhood. Due to several outbreaks of measles in children returning from China, the recommentations have been updated as of 5/2004:

Born before 1957: likely had jouer blackjack en ligne gratuit disease, so no vaccines officially recommended. If you are unsure, immune compromised or want to be certain, an antibody level (rubeola titer, not rubella, which is the GERMAN measles) can be drawn.

Born after 1957: TWO doses of the live virus measles vaccine or an antibody level (as above) to demonstrate immunity. There was a killed virus vaccine given in the early 1960's, and this likely did not give long term immunity. My recommendation is for families to be certain that they are immune,(via the two doses of the vaccine or blood test) and if not immune then get the vaccine. The vaccine has a certain percentage of failure to the measles component, so that's why the two doses are recommended. The second dose catches the people who missed making antibody the first time.

For children traveling: CDC recommendations include a dose of MMR (Measles/Mumps/Rubella) at 12-15 months. A second dose (for vaccine failure) is given at 4-6 years old. If a child has not received the second dose prior to travel to China (such as a child between 1-6 years old), it can easily be given earlier. The timing of the second dose is very arbitrary and not necessarily related to any medical reason. In fact, the two doses can be given as closely as 6 weeks apart.

There is now an effective shot to protect against chicken pox, which can cause significant illness in adults. The shot, given in two doses (the second 6 weeks after the first), is thought to be fairly protective against this disease, lessening the illness if an individual does acquire chicken pox. A blood test can be done if an adult's history is unclear, although the shot is not harmful if given in someone who had the disease and did not know it. This shot, as well as the MMR, should not be given in pregnant women.

For individuals traveling during the fall and winter months, it is recommended that they have the influenza vaccine which is offered each fall.

The recommendations regarding malaria prophylaxis vary depending upon the length of the visit, the ultimate destination (particularly rural versus urban), and the hours of exposure (whether you will be out after dark). Given that most adoption trips are relatively short in length, many doctors do not recommend that you take these medications, which have significant side effects, and must be taken for long time prior to travel, during the trip itself, as well as upon return home. For updates about malaria, it is suggested that you contact the CDC Malaria Hotline at (404) 332-4555, the CDC automated fax line at (404) 332-4565 or the CDC web site http://www.cdc.gov.

There are also vaccines for cholera, typhoid and yellow fever, but these are not univerally recommended for all international travelers due to expense, side effects, low availability, and mostly the low risk of exposure in most travel for international adoption. Again, for information about the particular area of the world where you will be traveling, contact the CDC at the above numbers or through the International Traveler's Hotline at (404) 332-4559. Many cities also have an international travel center with physicians who are knowledgable about travel abroad.

By Deborah A. Borchers, M.D., F.A.A.P.

Please reprint at will, permission is not necessary for families, health care professionals or social workers. This information is provided for adoptive parents, according to the current guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics. It is intended to encourage prospective adoptive parents to immunize early, but not to take the place of a primary care physician familiar with each family member. All immunizations should be given by trained medical personnel in a health care setting. Dr. Borchers is a general pediatrician and adoption medicine specialist in Cincinnati Ohio, and may be reached at 513/753-2820.

Written August 25, 1998, revised May 8, 2000.

Authentication and Visa Fees to Increase

New Prices Effective January 1, 2000

Starting January 1, 2000, the prices for document authentication and for visas will change at the Chinese Embassy and all Consulates in the US. Here are the new prices:

Prices for Document Authentications:

  • Document Authentication: $20 per document
  • Expidited Service: 3-4 day turnaround: $10 extra per document.
  • Expidited Service: 2 day turnaround: $20 extra per document.
  • Expidited Service: same day turnaround: $30 extra per document.

Prices for Visas:

  • Single Entry Visa: $30
  • Double Entry Visa: $45
  • Six Month Multiple Entry: $60
  • One Year Multiple Entry: $90

Note that Visa service may be expidited for the same additional fees as for document authentication.

Packing Tips & Lists for China Adoption Travel

This is a collection of tips for packing and actual packing lists that were 'borrowed' from a variety of postings on A-P-C and various AOL BBs. The observant person will note that some of the suggestions contradict those made in other lists. This reflects the fact that different people travel to different places and have children with different needs. For example if the child is fussy about the temperature of her bottle, then a small thermos is very important. If not, then it is useless weight. Each parent will have to use their own judgement as to what and how much to take. My own personal advice is to pack as light as possible and enjoy the trip.

Another set of packing tips on line can be found at http://www.crosswinds.net/~monkeyking/triplist.html

Set # 1

1. Anti-bacterial wipes and packs of kleenex. I kept some with me at all times and these were esp. useful traveling out of the main areas...

2. A jar of peanut butter. Some days I was just not up to the food, but crackers with p-nut butter helped keep the energy up.

3. Two really good pairs of walking shoes. (Alternate days.)

4. Shampoo and liquid soap. There was some (soap) there, but it just didn't feel the same.

5. A flashlite. (Power is unpredictable.)

6. Many gallon size ziplock bags. I sealed and carried everything from dossier, pics, papers, etc. to disposing of dirty diapers.

7. Several copies of all my USA numbers, contacts in Nepal, etc.

8. Disposable diapers. I took a week's supply with me, but found brand name Pampers in the dept. store in Kathmandu. Same for wipes. (I talked to others that used cloth while traveling... I never did figure that one out...)

9. Medical supplies (drugs, syringes, basic surgical stuff) though I didn't need much of the stuff I brought. All of the medical facilities I saw were excellent (tourist clinic) to acceptable. Pharmaceutical supplies were readily available, provided you knew what you needed. (And I was steered to the better local clinic by previous adoptive parents.) I just felt a greater peace of mind since I had most of what I could need in an emergency. (I was traveling into the jungle where there were no medical facilities.)

10. Sling to carry the baby. I don't like the front carriers and found the sling to be wonderful for carrying the baby, letting her be awake or asleep, also putting a few extra supplies in.

Didn't need or glad I didn't bring:

1. A purse.

2. Make up and hair dryer

3. Fancy clothing -- Lands' End and LL Bean were just fine.

4. Had way too much film

5. Couldn't have handled the camcorder by myself

6. Formula -- You could buy it there, and that was what she was use to. I brought some home with me and converted her here.

Set # 2

Things I wish I had brought:

1. The Texas Medical Kit (it wasn't around then)

2. More little toys

3.clothing in more than one size for the baby ALL were too big

4. Puffs Plus, I had allergies and the TP just didn;t get it. Tissues were like gold in our group.

Things I would leave at home:

1. umbrella, I kept forgetting it at the hotel so it was extra weight, it was easier to stay inside or run for it.

2. travel games for us to play, however we did play cards one afternoon

3. less clothing for ourselves.

4. most of the snack food, would have cut the amount by 2/3rds

Things I couldn't live without

1. I rubbermaid container to put dry formula in. Our chinese formula came in bags once openned it would spill out without a sturdy container

2. Kitchen tongs to hold the bottle nipples, when I swished them in almost boiling water

3. My stainless steel thermos. We kept hot water in it while out with the baby and when traveling so we had our safe water source with us all the time. I got good at mixing bottles in moving vehicles. Our daughter would only take VERY HOT bottles.

4. Paperback books for the ride to China. Even with movies and talking I read two on the way to China and just left them on the plane in case someone else wanted to read them. Once we got her I read less than 20 pages.

Set # 3

Some ideas about things to take with you....

Backpack: it ended up being the key to my survival on the way home. I was disconnected in Memphis, TN with no luggage (didn't make the transfer in Hong Kong) and I had stuffed it with formula, diapers, and changes of clothes for both of us.

I'd follow your agency's advice on formula and diapers. But, recommend bringing a package of US diapers and a 6 pack of canned formula for the trip home.

Suppositories for babies. 3 kids in our group were unbelievably constipated. At least one person in your travel group should bring these.

Kaolectrolyte. There was an earlier post about this. It is great because it comes in little packets. Sarah wouldn't drink the flavored at first but downed the unflavored from a bottle.

Cherrios if there is a possibility your child will be eatting.

Also snackfoods for yourself. I ate oatmeal and granola bars for breakfast almost every morning once she arrived. Also brought Folger coffee singles.

Don't forget a plastic bowl, mug, and utensils. It was a lot easier than going to the restaurant - unless of course your child is eatting solid foods.

An insulated bottle holder - I wouldn't have brought the thermos with me if I had brought one of these.

Not many clothes for yourself - laundry service at hotel was great and cheap - and a variety of sizes in clothes for the babe.

Set #4

Things I wish I'd brought:

Better/more experience with our camcorder (practice before you go!!)

Baby nail clippers

Anbesol for teething

Extra baby tylenol

Polaroid camera to take pictures and hand out snapshots along the way -- one of our travel mates did this and it was VERY pleasing to people everywhere we went

Hand-held recorder to tape our guide telling us historical facts and legends as we did our touring -- you think you'll remember this stuff but you won't

Better knowledge of Mandarin -- I tried to make time for my Berlitz tapes before we left but didn't make it a priority -- I now realize how gracious it would have been to have known more of the language

Baby spoon and bowl -- our daughter was 6 mos so we didn't think we'd need this stuff, but she wouldn't drink from a bottle so we had to spoon feed her!

Baby sun hat -- big oops on this one being in Guangzhou in 90+ heat! (But we were able to buy one there)

Hats for ourselves -- didn't buy these, we just baked in the sun (I *did* remember to bring a small tube of sunscreen though, so we didn't burn)

Set # 5

Pepto Bismol (2 tablets 4x per day, Kaopectate, Immodium AD & Gatorade for rehydration. Everyone in our travel group was warding off queasiness. My husband came down with travellers diahrrea and the Kaopectate & Gatorade got him back on his feet within 2 days. Didn't use the Immodium AD because I've heard it's dangerous to use for the wrong things, but we were glad to have it with anyway.

Baby Tylenol & Baby Tylenol Cold.... We should have had 3 bottles of the baby Tylenol, though. The Tylenol Cold medicine (with decongestant) was useful before flying because of fluids in the baby's ears. Worked well for several of us.

Duct tape - Used by other members of our group as well for diverse uses like taping up broken luggage. I even used it to cover an open cut on my leg when I had to shower with brown water.

Quart size Rubbermaid bottles.... brought 2 for mixing formula and carrying hot water when we went out with the group. They were light, kept water sufficiently hot when carried in the diaper bag. For travel, we stuffed them with snacks to save room. We left them in China to make room for carrying home souvenirs. Also brought a tupperware bowl for washing things in.

Sterile syringes and tongue depressors... we really used these when the kids got sick.

35 mm and compact video camera with lots of film -- took them everywhere.

A note written in Chinese explaining that we were Americans adopting a little girl to love and care for... that we would never abandon her and that her cleft lip could be repaired quite easily in the US. People in China were amazed that anyone would adopt a less than perfect child. When they stared and talked about us, this gave us a chance to engage them.

Wish we had brought more formula - we only brought 1 can thinking we could buy it there. While formula was available in Nanchang, we weren't taken to any stores until about the 6th day.

Umbrella stroller - Same thing.... we were half way through the trip before we were able to buy one.

Wish I'd brought a pillow case.... the pillow case & sheets in our Nanchange hotel were terribly stained and I suspect quite dirty. I'm not a finicky person and this really threw me. I ended up putting shirts over the pillows.

Phone and fax numbers of doctors and insurance companies int he US - really glad we had these!!

One of my favorite things I used in China was a Sassy tub. One of the other moms in the group brought one with and we all ended up borrowing it. She purchased hers at a Toys'R Us. You blow it up and it's wonderful for bathing a child who isn't used to a real bathtub-type situation! Emilee screamed her head off at bathtime, but when using the Sassy tub, she enjoyed laying on it as it floated gently in the water. The mom who brought it with gave it to me to take home and when I was through using it, when our daughter outgrew it, I sent it to another family who was traveling. It may not work for everyone's particular situation, but it was something I liked and found helpful.

I've also seen zip-lock bags mentioned and I couldn't have survived w/o them when I traveled. My favorite brand is the one that has the sliding "zip".

Backpack - it saved me coming home when I ended up spending an unexpected night on-route with no luggage. It was also easier to haul stuff around in on my back so my hans were free.

Flashlight. Bought a small one. I used it to read by after our daughter went to sleep and to navigate the room without having to turn on a lot of lights.

Travel hair dryer. It was small and light and made me feel more human! We stayed at a modern hotel so there was not a problem using it.

Breakfast snacks. Since she was not on solids, it meant not having to eat one meal with a baby on my lap! I'd have oatmeal or a granola bar in the room with a cup of coffee. Every once in a while, we went down for the breakfast buffet or ordered an american service breakfast.

Duct tape. Useful for all kinds of things.

Infant tylenol and cold medicine (think I took dymatapp)

35 mm Camera and film. Didn't take a camcorder because it was just me but wish I had video. There were 4 single mothers in our travel group and since the kids arrived in 2 groups we helped each other out taking pictures. The couples also took pictures of us and we swapped.

Phone numbers, including for the airlines. We ended up in China a week longer than planned and I had to call lots of people. My company's 800 number actually worked from Hangzhou and I used it to let me friends at work know what was going on and they in turn called my family.

1 can of formula and 1 small package of diapers. Both were plentiful in Hangzhou. I saved the U.S. diapers for the return trip home.

Books and travel guide. I wish I had brought several more books. She would go to bed and I had time to read - ran out before the end of the trip! Travel guide was helpful since Hangzhou is a tourist area and there were quite a few things to see. The descriptions also helped when I got home and started putting the photo album together.

Umbrella stroller and front pack carrier- Even though are hotel supplied us with strollers when we were in Nanning, we needed it at Guangzhou. We traded off and on with each of them, and they were lifesavers walking the streets, touring, and walking the halls of the hotel in the middle of the night! At the airports they were difinitely a plus too.

Gas medicine for baby - This sure helped us and our daughter get some needed sleep.

Cheerios and crackers - This must be a staple for all babies! We never went anywhere without them. In fact one of her first words when we came home was,"cracker" when she spotted them on the shelf in the grocery store. Remember Ziploc bags to keep them in too.

Stainless steel thermos - Bulky to take, but we needed it for extra boiled water for bottles.

Tylenol and Cold Tylenol for baby. Also Benadryl, and Hydrocortisone creme. Our girl and many of the other babies all broke out with rashes at one time or another.

Prescribed medicie for adult diahrrea. My husband had a horrible night and this medicine did the trick so he was better the next day. Medicine dropper for any medicines that don't come with one.

Small size diaper bag for short trips.

Toys and books - Should have taken more, but we shared with our group.

Definitely Duct Tape - One of our suitcases ripped and we borrowed some. They are really hard on your luggage over there, so be prepared!

Anti-bacterial wipes and packs of kleenex. I kept some with me at all times and these were esp. useful traveling out of the main areas...

A jar of peanut butter. Some days I was just not up to the food, but crackers with p-nut butter helped keep the energy up.

Two really good pairs of walking shoes. (Alternate days.)

Shampoo and liquid soap. There was some (soap) there, but it just didn't feel the same.

Set # 6

John's words of wisdom: "tell everyone to make sure they are in good physical condition, especially if they are adopting a toddler." Bending over to help a new walker get around is hard on one's back! And carrying a 20+ pound baby is not easy. Pack the Tylenol or pain reliever of choice.

We also took an umbrella stroller. Another couple did not find one in the Nanchang Friendship store, and there may not be a whole lot of time for shopping. We were particularly glad to have the stroller in Guangzhou (walking from White Swan to medical exam and back isn't a long trek unless you are carrying someone and all their gear - remember that heavy diaper bag - and a camera bag too!).. Infants seem not to care for a stroller, but our girl and other toddlers did fine. We also had a sling for shorter distances and airports. I also used it a sort of seatbelt in the taxis (where there were none). Probably would not have done any good in a collision, but it kept her in place on bumpy roads and bends. By the way, when we arrived home, she had no problem with the car seat (thank God), other than in and out more than three times in one errand running morning is TOO much, Mom!

She was bigger than our updated measurements, so the orphanage got some extra things. Two piece outfits (a dress and a diaper cover/shorts thing) are best in case your daughter is taller than expected. Nanchang was hot at the end of May (like Georgia) and Guangzhou was hotter (like Tampa), and no clothes police corrected us for not covering her head to toe (although we always put socks on before we went out).

Toys: She loved her plastic keys rattle. Also another rattle and stacking cups were a big hit. We gave her a small zipper cosmetic bag with handles to use as a purse and she loved taking things in and out. Linking fish (chain) were fun. She said no thanks to the pacifier. We took an activity play mat with a farm design that she liked to look at. She wasn't (and still isn't) very interested in a ball that squeaks. (She now has a Gund cloth ball with a bell inside that she loves.) And the best of all is a soft chewable Goodnight Moon bunny rattle that is her pacifier (children are given pieces of cloth to suck on in the orphanages). She sucks Mr. Bun's ears, paws, tail, etc. as she falls asleep. A lifesaver!

Books: We took a small variety of board books - probably about 8, and we could have done with a few less, but they were small. Very Hungry Caterpillar popular with very hungry girl. Goodnight Moon to read at bedtime (it is important to start establishing your routine as soon as possible). Little chubby sized books are good in small hands (and fit into her purse). A new book I wish we had in time: Tomie's Little Mother Goose; Tomie Depaola's Mother Goose is now available in board book.

Other diversions: She loves looking at herself in a mirror. Most elevators and restaurants have them. A child safe mirror would be a good thing to pack.

Gifts: I think we drove our facilitator crazy "when do we give the gifts", "should we bring the gifts", "how many gifts", "are you sure we don't need them now".... It boiled down to, we gave a box of gifts to the Orphanage director when she gave us her passport just before we left town. No one else (except we gave a small piece of costume jewelry to our facilitator, plus our group pitched in and gave her some cash). Gift box included (items were individually wrapped and we put in all in the medical kit box with a ribbon around it): US postage stamps, small hand lotions, costume jewelry, and neckties with Disney characters, and the too small clothes (we were expecting an infant) for the girls at the orphanage. Plus at the facilitator's recommendation, we gave the Director some Chinese money to buy lunch for the group on the drive back to the orphanage.

Food: for our daughter, 2 cans of soy formula was enough (we were there with her almost a week), rice cereal (easy to mix and serve anywhere), Cheerios (in small individual size boxes (I took way too many - 4 would have been plenty), graham crackers (not a big hit). For us, granola bars (a life saver for cranky girls) and instant oatmeal - good for quick breakfasts in the room. I took along a few tupperware type containers, but should have had some toddler type feeding bowls and cups (china does NOT work with a toddler - I also did not have any waiting at home! Who knows what I was thinking).

Toddler spoons and forks. Sippy cups (Playtex does not leak. Sophie will drink from them now, but they were extra baggage in China). Gerber disposable bottles - She did not like the squared off Playtex nipples (it was tough finding disposable bottle with round nipples - it may be worthwhile to use the old fashioned bottles and wash them, since you have to wash everything anyway). Liquid dish soap and a nipple brush.

Things we did not need but I'm glad we had: medical kit from Texas group (we even forgot to take the "ahh" sticks to the medical exam, but they used clean ones there) and rain ponchos.

Set # 7

Things I couldn't have lived without:

1. Umbrella stroller. Buy it or take one. This time of year the temp + humidity = unbearable conditions for carting around anything, let alone little hot bodies. We're talking high 80's to low 90's with about 95- 98% humidity, folks. My girl and I were both so much more comfortable. Families who brought snugglies and backbacks quickly abandoned them and many replaced them with strollers. I'm sure needs would vary alot depending on the time of year/temperature of travel.

2. Infant tylenol, triaminic and kleenex. Moving babies between air conditioned hotels to hot/humid outdoors almost guarantees a cold. Also a good idea pre-vaccination even to ward off discomfort.

3. Thermos to carry around hot water for bottles.

4. Cameras: Video. 35mm. And a Poloroid Instant. Guides, interpreters, officials and other families all loved having an instant photo of themselves with the children and families. The Chinese people truly love these children and are incredibly pleased to see them going to loving parents who will give them a good start in life. A photo with my daughter and myself and the official - or whomever - made an instant friend and bond between us. One that they can keep and one considered an excellent gift, I am told. By far the best $27 investment I made for international relations. I took three rolls of instant film (30 photos) and shot it all, leaving most photos behind me in the hands of people I can never begin to thank enough.

5. A good backback (larger than the typical daypack with lots of side and front pockets for bottles, thermos, etc) for day trips to cart around baby supplies, mommy stuff and 10 pounds of paperwork!

6. An empty suitcase to toss clothes in for the return trip so that the sturdier suitcase could hold all the important "treasures" that would be impossible to replace.

What I could have left behind:

1. The second pair of shoes. I took one good pair of walking shoes and my favorite tennies. The tennies never saw the light of day.

2. Blue jeans. Wore them on the plane over and not again. Should have just worn shorts on the plane. Much too hot for jeans.

Wish I'd taken:

1. Cough drops for me.

2. E-mail addresses for friends so I could have sent more messages from the White Swan.

Didn't use much but really glad I had and well worth the space/weight:

1. The Texas Med Kit.

I didn't take alot of clothes (more for her than me), bought diapers when I was there.

Managed to leave for China with one carry-on bag, one backpack and one checked bag plus the stroller. Came back with one additional checked bag.

Didn't take snacks. Did take a couple of mysteries to read - and left them behind at the hotels once they were read. My thoughts, such as they are.

Set # 8

Here is a list of as much of what I can remember that we packed: 1

. copy of dossier (actually, supplied by agency). We took extra copies of things, such as documentation of insurance, two years' tax returns, photos of the house, nursery, us, etc.

2. $7,000 to cover their stay and travel within China, donation, food, incidentals, legal fees, etc. Jackson brought home $200 of that.

3. Gifts for the orphanage director and two caretakers, as well as for several others such as the guide and doctor. The types of gifts we took were calendars with an Oregon theme, little Oregon-themed thermometers, lipstick for the caretakers, etc. I wrapped everything in shiny red paper, with gold stars on it (red and gold are "lucky" colors to the Chinese).

4. My husband packed a minimum of clothing for himself, because of weight limits. The big suitcase was devoted to our daughter: *eight outfits, based on her weight. These all fit well, except the booties, which were way too big. These kids have small limbs, so keep that in mind in terms of shoes and socks. The Chinese think babies should be bundled to the extent of overkill. We didn't pack any bunting outfits. You might want to take one major bunting-type of outfit. Otherwise, you'll be stopped by Chinese accusing you of freezing her to death. On the other hand, Guanzhou, to the south, is like Hawaii, so don't pack just hot things. All they really need (according to the pediatrician) in one extra layer than what we feel comfortable in, but the Chinese believe in practically suffocating the babies.

*7 diapers per day; this was too many. She used about 5-6. Again, because of her smallness, the ones we took based on her weight were too large. We have found that Luvs have the best elastic fit around the thighs. I'd definitely recommend trying to find Luvs brand. *a Snuggli for carrying her around. We actually packed two, not knowing which would fit. Glad we did, because one was just way too big. If you can find one with all sorts of pockets and stuff for you to tote things around in, great. But just be sure to keep in mind how small she'll be.

*as diaper bag, with diaper-changing pad

*one canister of iron-supplemented milk-based formula, which we emptied into a large baggie. When you first get her, you'll need to feed her their formula for a couple of days. They supplement this with a thick, stickly rice powder. BE SURE TO TAKE SOMETHING TO STIR WITH, such as a sizzle stick. They also add sugar. Dad gradually cut down so that she was just drinking our formula. You can buy formula there, so don't take much from home. It's the diapers that are expensive, so pack them, but count on buying the formula there. It's easy enough to get hot water for mixing the formula. We took Playtex bottles (two) with the disposable inserts. Great idea! Dad would fill the inserts with the powder and then roll them up and rubberband them to carry with him during the day. Much easier than regular bottles.

*medical kit; she had a cold at first, plus an ear infection, and eczema. He used the antibiotic and the Nystatin and 1% cortisone. Since seeing the doctor, we've learned the best thing for her skin problems is few baths, little soap, Lubriderm and 1% cortisone twice a day. But you never know which of the items you'll need. I'd also take one of those suction bulbs, for suctioning out her nose, if you need to.

*Different pacifiers, none of which she used. But I have heard that some babies go for them. On take off and landing, he'd always give her a bottle to help with the ears popping.

*Many baggies and plastic garbage bags. Everything we took was unboxed and put into baggies, to cut down on space and weight. This made things very handy.

*two boxes of wet wipes, all of which he used. You'll really need a lot of these.

*antibacterial dish soap

*hot pot, which took up a lot of space and which he did not need at all. The hotels are all 4-star; no need for hot pot (or power converter), but I guess you never know...

*we had planned to pack one of those sponge bases for a baby bath tub, but in the end couldn't fit it in the suitcase. That would have really helped him at bath time, so if you can manage to squeeze one in one of your suitcases, do.

*some rattle toys and books. At her age, she likes paper as a toy best. But she did play with the rattles we packed. One thing we took was a chain of plastic links. These were useful for attaching to the rattle on one end and to the Snuggli on the other. See if you can find those, as they serve a dual purpose.

*two blankets, though they used only one (the cribs come with blankets)

Set #9

Lisa's Packing List for China Adoption

I'm leaving in 2 days for a two week trip to China to adopt my baby. I'm hauling more luggage than I've ever travelled with before. Fortunately, most of it won't be coming home. (I've promised the empty space in my suitcase to my mother, to fill up with souvenirs.) After I return, I'll update this list with comments about the usefulness of each item.

For Me: (including what I am wearing)

* Large rectangular soft side suitcase with wheels

* Clothes: 2 pair of jeans (black & dark green), 3 loose summer shirts, 1 cotton turtleneck, nylon rain jacket, nightgown, 1 pair leather shoes, socks, underwear, wristwatch (Note: I am taking old underwear and socks, 14 sets, to wear and throw away so I don't have to wash them out.

* Other: Basic toiletries in a nylon zipup bag, blow dryer, kleenex, handwipes, medicines for basic ailments, travel diary, pen, camera with 7 rolls of film, disposable panorama camera, money belt with cash, passport, tickets, credit card, and other adoption documents in a plastic pouch, novel, China guide, Chinese language guide, a dozen envelopes, tatting thread and shuttle.

For My Daughter:

* large diaper bag, about 9 outfits, (but many of them may be too small. If so, then I'll give them to other babies) several pairs of socks and tights, one pair shoes, 2 flannel blankets, 64 disposable diapers, 1 box baby wipes, 3 sets onesies underwear, 2 blanket sleepers, diaper cover, 2 cloth diapers, several small toys, 2 8-oz bottle holders, 8 cross-cut juice nipples, 40 disposable bottles, 1 pacifier, 1 box Gerber rice cereal with bananas, 1 box animal crackers, feeding spoon, bib, basic baby toiletries, baby benadryl for the plane ride home.

For the Chinese:

* 9 4-oz boxes of Colorado chocolates, gift wrapped

* 4 bags of dried bolete mushrooms, with southwest motif cotton bandanna, and flyer describing how my mother and I gathered these mushrooms ourselves.

* 1 metal gift tin with 2 small bottles of Kentucky whiskey

* Small photo album with photos of my home and pets, plus empty sleeves left for additional photos to be sent later, for Lara's caretaker.

* 50 Chinese New Year Commemorative stamps, each in a tiny zip lock bag.

Set # 10

China Packing List (Revised 4/97) These are general guidelines, of course. What is right for one person may not be right for another. I'm including ideas that made sense to me and were suggested by friends who have also traveled to China.

FOR YOURSELF: (someone once suggested taking old clothes or buying at thrift store, then leaving them behind. Frees up luggage space on the way home)
3 or 4 shirts or tops and 3 or 4 slacks and underwear, socks, etc. for 7 days.
sturdy, broken-in, pair of walking shoes.
sleepwear or extra T-shirt.
ttravel-sized toiletries & toothbrush. Miminal makeup, all melts in the heat anyway. If taking perfume, keep it very light. Some babies hate it.
x sanitary protection, if needed.
x comb, brush, barrettes.
x blow-dryer, if you absolutely have to. Good time for French twists & ponytails.
x lightweight jacket or sweater (youill use it mainly in air-conditioning & plane)
x collapsible umbrella, smallest you can find (almost guaranteed to rain)
x security pouch for money & passport - use religiously in Hong Kong.
x camcorder, converter (you can use for blow dryer too)& extra batteries.
x camera, film and extra battery. Also take lead pouch to protect film from x-rays.
x Small pocket notebook - for addresses, reminders, ref. notes on pictures taken.
x Swiss army type of gadget & small scissors. Donit pack in your carry-on in case of security problems. Useful for all kinds of things. Bob used his almost daily and everybody was borrowing it from him.
x backpack large enough to use for camcorder, essentials and as diaper bag. x lightweight, collapsible dufflebag. Put in your suitcase to fill with souvenirs.
x 2 Rubbermaid-type 1-qt. plastic bottles to cool off sterilized water in your room. Designate one for drinking (keep in room fridge) and other for toothbrushing.
x Small calculator for doing exchange rates, calculating duty owed, etc.
x Business cards to give to guides, orphanage director, caregiver, etc.
x couple of boxes antibacterial wipes. Use after washing your hands (remember that water is unsafe) and after changing babyis diapers (untested for nasties yet)
x toilet paper (2 rolls is plenty). Trust me and keep a roll in your backpack.
x Small package laundry detergent or use hotel laundry (fast and cheap)
x Make & carry 3 copies of all documents. Pack one, and one each in carry-on.
x Ziplock plastic bags of different sizes. All kinds of uses.
x Snack items - Food in the hotels is very good but not much Western (except the White Swan) so instant oatmeal is good. Small snacks that travel like cheese & crackers, soup, dried fruit. Take a few juice boxes to add to your bottled water for flavor (or powdered drink mixes). Donit pack too much food. We ended up dumping lots.
x Medications (see Medication master list - start working on this now!)

FOR YOUR CHILD: Again, it has been suggested that you take older, hand-me-downs or buy clothing in China because of uncertainty about size. Your choice.

x 6-8 one piece outfits or combinations of tops and bottoms. Choose with the weather in mind. It is very hot and humid in China during the summer. For toddlers, I suggest stretchy shorts & leggings in bright colors and t-shirts for maximum wear - Go to a Gymboree store for inspiration, buy elsewhere for price (although Mimiis closet is bulging with Gymboree. I canit resist them). x couple of sleeping outfits, long sleeved for air conditioning.
x One beautiful arrival home outfit to dress up in.
x Light-weight sweater or jacket - needed for air conditioning & plane.
x Cool summer hat to wear when you go out.
x Couple of drool bibs x Baby shampoo and lotion. Small bottle Eucerin for very dry skin.
x Socks (and shoes if child is old enough to walk - contact me for sizes)
x 3-4 cloth diapers - burp pads if infant, cleanup rag for toddlers
x 1-2 baby blankets, for covers, security, the plane, etc. x comb or brush for children. Barrettes if she has a lot of hair.
x Baby nail clippers.
x Inflatable baby bathtub if your child is infant. They collapse and are easy to pack.
x Carrier of some kind. Either a sling, backcarrier or umbrella stroller, depending on your back and the age of the child. You can buy umbrella strollers at Friendship stores for under $20 and it saves the wear and tear of packing it.
x Small thermos for hot water for bottles when youire on the go.
x Small food grinder for babies - much easier than taking jars.
x Small bowl and spoon for mixing baby cereal or feeding toddler.
x Sippy cups for toddlers. Get no-drip type.
x Box of rice cereal for baby; Cheerios, Goldfish crackers, arrowroot cookies for toddlers. It is best to stick to the diet the child is already on until you get home.
x If infant, bring 2-3 bottles (get larger holed nipples) and one can of formula. Then go to the Friendship store and buy Chinese formula. Itis better to not to upset the baby, keep her on what she is used to and switch her once you're home.
x Diapers - bring one bag, but buy more in China. Diapers and formula are what tend to fill up suitcases and itis not necessary when you can buy them there.
x Wipes - Bring one large box, whatever the age of your child (you can use them as toilet paper, to wipe a dirty face after eating, to cool off a sweaty child, etc.) and (if you have room) a refill pack.
x A small box of scented diaper disposal bags. Youill find these in the baby stores. It sounds silly, but remember that you are in a hotel room with no way to dispose of those stinky diapers.
x Toys - for children under 1, bring bright plastic rattles and board books, maybe one small stuffed animal. For toddlers, try bright manipulatives such as links, sound books, little purse with mirror, plastic keys and comb, stacking cups, a doll, bubble maker (under supervision and pack in ziplock bag), pop-up cars.
x Pacifiers - be sure to bring along one of those pacifier cords to attach to clothing.

GIFTS AND TIPS: There have been many posts about appropriate gifts and, rather than try to come up with new ones, I will try to list as many of them as I can recall or find here. Remember to wrap them in red paper (tissue paper is lightweight and ideal).
x Stamps - Many people in China collect stamps or know someone who does. The size of the gift can vary according to how many stamps you give out. Go to a stamp store at home and buy a bunch of the small cellophane envelopes to package groupings of stamps. This is also a great gift because it packs so well. Year of the Ox stamps are available at post offices and there are also many wonderful American scenes and celebrities that would be a hit.
x Small make-up "kits," such as the type offered by the leading manufacturers. Iive seen some reasonably priced ones by Clinique, Estee Lauder, even Cover Girl and others. These are nice for primary caregivers or foster mothers, guides, etc.
x Marlboro cigarettes. I donit smoke and I donit condone the promotion of smoking, but most men in China do smoke and it would be a very appreciated gift for drivers, orphanage directors, notaries, etc.
x Work, hometown, or state imprinted items such as caps, pens, key chains, etc.
x Guide photo books for your state or city (i.e. I would bring a pictoral of San Francisco) would be a very thoughtful gift for people who cared for your child because they would be able to picture the setting of her new home.
x Small "brag" books of photographs of your family, home, the childis bedroom, etc. to give to the orphanage caregiver or foster mother.
x Yes, guides and drivers do expect to get tipped. The easiest way to deal with this is to consult with your facilitator about amounts, collect the money (US cash) ahead of time and give it as a group in an envelope.
x The greatest gift that I can think of is to give the child is caregiver your address and take theirs and promise (and keep your promise) to write. Since coming home, I have been blessed with a rewarding and growing relationship with my daughteris foster mother. Through our letters, she continues to be a part of Mimiis childhood and gets regular photographs and descriptions of her accomplishments. In return, I maintain a connection to Mimi's homeland, a country Iive come to love, and her foster mother continues to fill in the puzzle of Mimiis early months through her letters.

x Flu/cold medication. We favor Contac but there are many brands available.
x Immodium AD
x Pepto Bismol chewable tablets or other stomach irritation medication.
x Aspirin, Tylenol, ibuprofen (take some of all 3 - they work differently), also Midol or other medication you take for cramps if needed.
x Prescription antibiotic like Cipro for intestinal infections or other broad-spectrum antibiotic that your doctor can recommend.
x Sleeping pills or Melatonin.
x Any of your regular medication.
x Written prescription for glasses in case of breakage or loss (or extra pair).

x Tylenol drops
x Liquid Motrin
x Pediatric cough syrup and/or expectorant - consult pediatrician about brand. x syringe-type dropper or medicine spoon
x Prescription antibiotic in powder form (pharmacist will give you pre-measured distilled water to go with it) - usually, this is Amoxicillin but some children are allergic to it. Ask your pediatrician about Ceclor, which I personally think is a better choice and has the added benefit of being able to be given 2x a day instead of 3 and smaller amounts.
x You may want to talk to your doctor about a prescription for anti-emetic infant suppositories in case your child has serious vomiting.
x Pedialyte replacement for dehydration or diarrhea. There is a powdered (packets) brand that you can reconstitute called Kao lectrolyte.
x Lice medication - consult pediatrician as to best brand for child.
x Elimite - prescription medication for scabies.
x Tube of Lotrimin AF for yeast infections. Ask the pediatrician (or an experienced Mom) how to recognize yeast infections and donit worry that the tube says itis an athleteis foot medication. It is, but it is also the non-prescription version of what the doctors used to prescribe for yeast infections.
x Hydrocortisone cream (half or one percent) for rashes.
x Desitin or preferred diaper rash cream.
x Thermometer - digital ear type is nice and least intrusive.

x One good book - yes, there really are occasional moments when youill have nothing to do and youill wish you had one.
x Mailing tube for carrying scrolls and other delicate artwork.
x neck pillow for airplane.
x bungee cords. These were useful for broken luggage, tying up the umbrella stroller, tying smaller suitcase on top of larger when going through airports

SOUVENIRS: It would be presumptuous to dictate what to bring back, especially since there are so many wonderful things available in China and at such reasonable prices. Therefore, I will only tell you what I have enjoyed the most since our trip.
x a beautiful, carved "chop" with Mimiis name, accompanied with a red ink stamp. I stamp all of our letters to her foster mother with Mimiis chop. Now I want to get one for myself with my chosen Chinese name on it. These are available in Friendship stores, all over Hong Kong, and in the White Swan (where I found the best selection) and they will carve your chop based on your name.
x Delicate silk embroideries mounted in teak frames. This is a specialty of Hunan, where Mimi is from, but they are available all over China. One, a spray of chrysanthemums, is on our living room hearth. Another, two children lighting firecrackers, is in front of Mimiis bedroom window.
x A red silk pajama suit and a pink cheongsam dress for Mimi which she wore at a couple of FCC events and I used in some formal portraits.
x Some childrenis songs and folk song CDs that we like to play for her.
x Jade pieces. I bought some really good pieces and then tons of the cheap, jadeite carved pieces. If I ever get my act together (and with the help of a fellow a-p-c member who is a jewelry designer and not-so-patient mother to be), Iill turn them into pendants for gifts. The jade market in Hong Kong is actually a better place to go and they have a bigger selection than the places we went to in China.

x One check-in suitcase for each adult. Distribute babyis clothes and supplies between the two (except for medication). Do yourself a huge favor and get lightest luggage possible with sturdy handle and wheels.
x One carry-on bag for each adult. Ditto on lightweight and wheels. Keep one change of clothes, documents and medication in these.
x One light, plastic, cheap duffle bag. Flatten and put in check-in suitcase. If you donit need it on the way home, pass it on to another family who will. These are great for carrying (and checking in) dirty clothes and other non-essentials.
x Backpack that can serve as diaper bag too. On the way home, pack away as much as you can (where diapers, formula, etc. used to be) in check-in bags. Take only amount of formula, diapers, wipes, changes, etc., that you need on your flight home. You can also pack toys, snacks, etc. in this.

NOTES: Goody! This is where I get to editorialize! Actually, these are odds and ends, random thoughts that might make your trip just a little more comfortable. As with the packing list, use what you can and toss the rest of the advice.
x Make sure you visit your pediatrician before leaving and get complete instructions on when to use which medications, what the correct dosage is for your childis age and how to give it. Show him a list of what you are taking and ask him for his input. Give him a copy of the Letter to Pediatricians found on the FCC website so that he understands the need for the medications recommended and what tests he should be performing once you get back. Schedule your child's first appointment at this time too, preferably within a day or two of coming home.
x In packing, how you pack makes all the difference. A few suggestions from a lifetime of traveling --- 1. Lay your clothes out on top of each other ( 2 or 3 items), fold in sleeves and roll tightly. Store the rolls alongside each other. This will also cut down on wrinkling (if youire not packing linen or silk!) 2. Put jewelry and other small items in socks and underwear, stuff these into shoes and place shoes toes to heels. 3. Go for a monochrome look. You'll need less pieces and everything will do double duty. Think "capsule" dressing and stick to fabrics that wash out easily and dry fast. Heavy cottons stay damp for a long time in a humid climate, while the polyester/cotton blends do much better. 4. Use diapers to pad breakable items. For smaller delicate things, pack with toilet paper or tissues around them in a ziplock bag and close while itis full of air to create even more protection. 5. Remember NOT to pack your (or child's) passport, visa documents, adoption-related documents or anything else that is questionnable in check-in luggage. One single mom traveling alone recently did this and created a considerable delay since her passport was in the cargo hold of the plane!
x Reserve bulkhead seating (and a bassinet if you are traveling with an infant) ahead of time. Even if you have a toddler or your baby wonit use the bassinet, the bulkhead seats have extra floor space which your child can use to play on or sleep.
x Give strong consideration to flying business class on the way home. We flew coach to Hong Kong, but business back. It added about $500 each to our travel costs but was much more comfortable in terms of seats and leg room. During the 5 hour layover in Hong Kong, we were comfortably ensconced in the business class lounge instead of in the crowded, smoky waiting area. Someone posted recently about getting the platinum American Express card. For $300 (the annual fee), you can pay for one first or business class seat on participating airlines and you get the second free. Also, check discount fare retailers, your credit card companies and regular travel agents. There are a million travel deals out there and you just might qualify for one that will make your travel cheaper and more comfortable. Use your waiting time to research whatis available.
x In the medication list, I put in sleeping pills or Melatonin. With these or any other medications, you should try them out at home. You don't want to discover that you suffer from an adverse drug reaction once youire in China!
x Don't forget to have a carseat ready when you get home. If someone is picking you up, make sure they have the carseat ready and properly mounted. As Stallone said, "It is the law!"
x Most importantly, have a wonderful time. There will be a lot of stress, good and bad, and youill be exhausted, but this is truly the trip of a lifetime (I mean, when have you ever brought home a better souvenir?) and you should let yourself see it as through the eyes of a child full of wonder.

Bon Voyage! (Wish I was going with you O sniff, sniff)

Set # 11


80-100 thin diapers
200 Baby Wipes
2 changing pads
3 cloth diapers
3 receiving blankets
1 heavier blanket
5 one piece outfits & tops
5 onesies
2 long pants for baby
2 pr shoes/soft booties
sweater/coat for baby
5 socks for baby
baby sun hat
6 assorted nipples (long/straight)
2-8 oz Disposible Bottles
One roll bottle liners
Sippy cup
Baby prunes
Instant Rice Cereal
Soy Formula-3 cans-powered
Sugar Cubes (to sweeten formula)
Feeding Spoons
2 hooded towels
2 washcloths
2-3 toys
Baby Book
Diaper Bag
Fingernail clippers
Nose Syringe
Baby soap/lotion
Glycerin Suppositories
Baby Texas Medical Kit
Children's Tylenol
Tongs(for washing nipples in hot water)
Rubbermaid containers for dry formula
duct tape
Ziplock bags-assorted sizes
Pepto Bismol/Stomach stuff
Cold medicine
Pillow Cases
Phone, fax,e-mail addresses
Pocket Knife
Video Camera/tapes/charger
tape recorder/tape/batteries
Hike & Roll/Stroller/Backpack
Hairdryer (to dry clothes)
Undergarmet holders for Money
Credit Cards
Copy of Dossier
Updated Documents as needed
3 yrs tax returns
Passports w/Visa
Clothes for parents 5-6 days worth
2 pr shoes each (in case 1 gets wet)
Gifts for officials
Wrapping paper or gift bags for gifts (red is good, not white!)
Travel/guide book
Flashcards in English & Chinese
Business Cards

Set # 12

What to pack?  I'm sure your agency will provide you with a list, but here are my best and worst:

- Most useful stuff we brought: lots of zip-lock bags, a backpack instead of a diaper bag, snugli, cloth diapers (great for covering up the baby in chilly restaurants, spit-up cloths, can be rolled up for head support, used as changing pads, etc), antibiotics for our daughter, small bottle of Dial antibacterial soap (we washed our hands very frequently and never got sick), film and video camera.

- Least useful stuff: extra roll of toilet paper (never needed it -- all our hotels were fine), hairdryer (all hotels had built-in dryers), sandals (streets were filthy - never wore them).

Wish I had brought: a small tape recorder to record a lot of our sightseeing adventures. We had a great guide who shared lots of Chinese history with us wherever we went ... if I'd had a hand-held recorder, I could have taped so many interesting stories. Already my memory fails me!

My best overall advice to you would be to take WAY more pictures than you really want, and to videotape your trip WAY more than you really want. You will cherish your pictures and video and come home wishing you had more to share with your daughter. Also, save lots of memorabilia: ticket stubs, newspapers, hotel brochures, etc. -- these all make great souvenirs of your trip and are great for a lifebook. Don't forget to buy some little gifts for your daughter later in life. We bought a jade necklace for our daughters 16th birthday, silk pajamas, a tea set, dresses, and other little items to give her throughout her life. It is hard to focus on shopping while you are there, but we are so glad we got what we did.

Good luck getting ready!

Set # 13

Packing for a seven year old child.

 Proud mother of a 7 year old daughter.

When we left last Feb to get our daughter, there was not much information as to
what to pack for older adopts. Other parents were helpful for us and we have added
a few things of our own. Here goes:

Balloons - the large kind. You can do lots of things with these. Often our
whole group would gather in the large area in front of the elevators and
play balloons. Even the babies had fun.

Blow up beach ball - great for soccer, kickball, and keep away. Many new
dads joined in the fun

Bead sets - Karyn kept occupied on the flights with these

Little girls purse - Karyn wanted to be just like mom. Inside were small
pencils, notepad, kleenex, and some change

Doll - don't forget dolly bottle and some changes of clothing along with a
receiving blanket. We found a rice paddy hat in a gift shop at the YMCA in
Hong Kong that just fit the oriental Cabbage Patch doll. We did not take
diapers for the doll, so had to get some from our fellow travel companions.
They had plenty

Bubble bath - the powdered variety. Karyn needed to soak in the tub to get
rid of some of the dirt. Bubbles were a delight for her

Bubble solution and wand - make sure to wrap it in a zip lock baggy

Coloring book and colors

Paint with water book and brush

Children's picture books

Play jewelry

Snack treats - fruit rollups and chewies. Karyn began to bond with us within
the first 10 minutes due to giving her these

Colorful backpack - Karyn carried her own toys. With the backpack and
everything packed in our luggage, once we got Karyn and gave her the
backpack, we had plenty of room in our luggage to bring back our purchases.

STICKERS - use these for rewarding western style toilet training and proper
behavior. We forgot these (and me a teacher of 20 years!). We rewarded with
M&Ms and I really don't like food rewards.

Set # 14

Packing ---We use a 28 inch suitcase that stands on end and rolls, and 
has a retractable handle for the baby. We take the Land's end super baby
diaper bag(we haven't used the backpack one, some people like it alot),
and we have been very successful in packing both of ourselves in one
other 28inch suitcase. In the baby suitcase, we put a backpack/stroller
called something like hike and roll. It is a two wheel (not 4 wheel
stroller, that can also be a backpack. We also take a snuggly, but the
bigger the baby , the more you want the stroller. My first daughter was
only 9 pounds, and she loved the stroller. Any bigger and I would have
loved it even more than she did. We take two outfits a day , and we try
to take old or not cherished used clothes that can be left behind. About
100 diapers, 150 wipes, 4large, 2 small playtex bottles, with about 80
big liners and 50 smallones. Also, 6 cans of powdered Mead brand
LACTOFREE formula (30% of Asians have lactose intolerance, this is
precautionary), but we pack the formula in ziplock bags, not the cans,
because it packs better. We take 1-2 hats, 1-2 sweaters, 10 onsies, 3-4
fuzzy blanket sleepers, couple of blankets, 2 pairs socks per day,
several pairs pajamas (although most baby clothes tend to double as
pajamas),a couple of cloth diapers (that's all we can think of right now,
if we think of something later, we'll add it randomly, ok?)
For us we pack as many t-shirts as we can each, that we no longer
want, we wear them once and throw them away (We try to do this with all
our clothes - we take our old, worn-out stuff that we don't want and
leave it behind. This gives us lots of room in the suitcases for
souvenirs and it gives semi-good quality clothes to the maids, etc. in
the hotels who will keep anything of garage sale quality they find after
you leave. Because China is so dirty, we don't want to wear anything
again after we've worn it in China. Several pairs of pants (Skirts and
dresses are NEVER necessary in China, everything is VERY informal) even
for the adoption. I went to a wedding once and the bride was wearing
brown stretch pants. Electric converter and ALL the adaptors - each
hotel and somethimes each hotel room has different shaped plug outlets,
we've seen them all, and some that there are no adaptors for!. We take a
US bought hairdryer that can change current by the flip of a switch. We
take a video camera, and regular camera, lots of film, lightweight weight
coat. A pair of GOOD, broken in walking shoes.
FOOD _ The food is good - not necessarily like Chinese food in America,
but you will recognize almost all of it, and there is KFC and McDonalds
everywhere. Lots of stirfry veggies, rice, seafood, pork, beef, chicken,
etc. Parts of animals you didn't know they had, much less thought you
could or would eat. We bring a metal cup each(with a lid- you can buy
them in China or at a sporting goods store (Camping section) and instant
oatmeal, coffee singles, granola bars, poptarts, cheese in a can, Peanut
butter, hard candy.
They have boiled water on every train and in every hotel room that is
safe to drink and make bottles with. DO NOT DRINK THE WATER FROM THE
FAUCET. The Chinese don't even do this. We rarely buy the bottled water
because of the expense, but it's available. It is NOT necessary, tho.
If you ask for ice in your coke the ice will be ok, too.
GIFTS to take - picture books of your home town or state, t-shirts with
English writing on them, hats (sportsteam from your town shirts, hats,
etc are great), pins, etc. are good for officials, orphanage directors,
caregivers, etc. Other people may be the Chinese guide/translator, bus
driver - these people like the same stuff. You might want to bring
stickers and gum, etc. to hand out to kids, bus drivbers like stickers of
places (your home town) to put in their bus.
SOUVENIRS - for daughter - silk pajamas of every size, something that
their hometown is known for (example - Tianjin - carpets and kites -
Nanjing, freshwater pearls, etc) , cloisonne jewelry , kid size cloisonne
silverware, cloisonne or rosewood chopsticks, and a chop (name stamp) of
her name carved in China. For RELATIVES _ for grandmas, aunts, etc,
cloisonne necklaces, silk glasses/makeup/lipstick cases, etc. For
grampas, uncles, etc - cloissone tie bars, pens, mustache combs, and
especially silk ties - they're everywhere.
HOTELS - if you stay in 3,4,or 5 star hotels they are fine. 3 star are
like holiday inn, 4 star are a bit better, and five star are grand.
prices are according to stars, and comparable to many US prices. They
are mostly 2 twin beds with a crib (you can TRY to get a double bed, but
don't count on it), bathrooms are American style, most hotels have a
chinese and maybe another restaurant in them. Room service is sketchy.
Most tv's have color tv's with CNN and maybe one or two English channels,
direct dial telephones (direct to USA on USA direct is available in most
hotels), most even have a business center. Few have pools or excersize
rooms. Don't expect the hotels to really understand your English. They
understand very basic hotel English, and if your request is too weird or
complez, they might act like they know what you want, but they really don't.
SIGHTS - depends totally on where you are going, how long you'll be
there, and how much money you have. If you are anywhere near BEIJING -
The forbidden City, Great Wall are MUSTS. Tiananmen square is cool.
Ming tombs are the worst - the BEIJING friendship store is great
shopping. GUANGZHOU is sort of a bust - SUN YAT SEN"S Memorial hall is a
waste of time, walking the streets away from the White Swan hotel and us
consulate is good - just see everyday China. All the souvenirs we
mentioned can be found almost anywhere, but for sure within two blocks of
the Whie Swan hotel in Guangzhou (most agencies seem to book their people
there) Chinese farmer paintings are very interesting, some valuable, if
you're into folk art. I collect traditional chinese musical instruments
and am always on the lookout for bizarre things.
ANTIBIOTICS - for the baby - something like amoxicillin, or zithromax,
are good for upper resperatory and ear infections. Mylecon drops for
gas,cortizone creme for exzema, desitinfor diaper rash, baby tylenol and
motrin for fever or teething, oragel, nasal bulb aspirator to suction
mucus, glycerine suppositories for constipation.
For adults - zithromax, any normal medications you use like cold
medicine, nose spray, etc. Eye drops, because the air pollution is
terrible, cipro is good for travelers diarrhea, as well as imodium,
$$$for souvenirs, food, extras. Food is less than $10.00 per meal - WE
can usually eat for less than $5.00. Souvenirs are inexpensive, but it
depends on how many you want, and wheter you're buying good quality or
just fun stuff. For two people, 12 days in China, I'd take about
$1500.00 - and I'd come home with lots of change. Also - most hotels and
tourist shops take credit cards.
PEople in China are very friendly and curious about your daughter. They
will want to practice their English by asking you simple quesitons. They
like Americans. If they ask you something political, just say something
non-committal- they are usually not interested really, they just want to
practice English.
AIRLINES -= the flight is long. The better the airline, the more
enjoyable your trip. From California to HK is 14 hours. Northwest and
United will give you about 15-18000 frequent flier miles in coach class,
but most of the other airlines (foreign owned) won't. Cathay Pacific and
Singapore are deluxe and great. JAL and Korean are also very good. Air
China is average to poor, but VERY cheap usually.
That's all we can think of right now - hope this helps.

Set # 15

The best things that you took with you were:

1. A travel thermos that fits in the diaper bag for storing hot water to
make bottles.
2. Video camera (a very popular answer)
3. Snacks
4. Variety of over the counter medicines for adults
5. Antibiotics for children and adults
6. Antibacterial hand wipes in sealed packages
7. umbrella stroller
8. sleeping pills
9. soy formula (a popular answer)
10. Kleenex for toileting purposes.
11. diapers and wipes for at least 5 changes per day
12. Antibacterial soap
13. Sweet Dreams baby bed. Folds up, converts to flat bed with four sides.
(Frank will even give you his used one. E-mail him at
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. He's in Rochester)
14. neck rest for the airplane
15. a copy of your Dossier (another very popular answer)
16. Baby sling
17. latex gloves for handeling baby
18. pictures of family and home to show guide, and orphanage staff
19. camera (a popular answer)
20. pacifier
21. empty duffel bag to carry purchases home
22. chocolate covered almonds (?)
23. sandals
24. Baby suppositories
25. Tupperware type containers
26. plastic sandwich or zip lock bags

The most unnecessary things that you took with you were: (in no particular

1. kettle
2. hair dryer
3. plug adaptor
4. A bottle of Cetaphil
5. Too many snacks
6. dress shoes and skirt ( a popular answer)
7. sandals
8. too many diapers
9. neck/head rest for the airplane
10. nylons
11. toilet paper
12. lysol
13. reading material
14. hot pot
15. plastic knives and forks
16. More inexpensive gifts to hand out

Things that you wished you had taken: (in no particualr order)

1. Soy formula
2. Baby suppositories
3. Camera that worked (pupular answer)
4. Warmer Jacket
5. More snacks
6. Mailing tube to carry the art work home in
7. more business cards
8. neck pillow for the plane
9. hooded towel and burp cloths
10. Soy formula
11. antibiotics
12. Camcorder
13. Cold drugs/throat lozengers
14. index cards to note what you were taking pictures of to match with
photos back home

Helpful Medical Items to take to China for Your Child

With the assistance of your child's physician it may be helpful to a course of antibiotics. My personal favorite is Zithromax, as it does not require refrigeration and only needs to be given for five days. Antibiotics may be needed for ear infections, skin infections and pneumonia. With a prescription, the dry powder of any of these may be obtained from a pharmacist. Upon request the pharmacist will also put the correct amount of sterile water in a separate bottle to mix with the powder. Ask your doctor to write down the dosage range based on weights. (You may be able to estimate your child's present weight by looking a growth charts and plotting known weights, then using the curve to estimate up.) Optimally antibiotics should not be used without an examination by a physician. Physicians in developing countries may not look in children's ears the same way that western physicians do, so prior to travel you should discuss with your child's physician at home conditions under which you should start antibiotics. Such symptoms may include a child with a fever for three days or an irritable child who is pulling her ear. A runny nose (including with green drainage) is not usually bacterial and does not require antibiotics. Neither does a constant cough, which parents often attribute to bronchitis. Given that most childhood infectious illnesses are viral in etiology, antibiotics are rarely needed.

Many pediatricians are reluctant to give antibiotics, particularly since they have never examined your child. Sometimes US trained physicians travel with adoption groups, and one may be able to examine your ill child (although the physician will not have access to a pharmacy to prescribe necessary medications). Otherwise, ask for the best way to contact your child's physician via e-mail or phone (you may need to reimburse if a callback is needed) for appropriate guidance about what medical care is needed, as well as whether or not to start medications. Before starting medications, please consult with a health care provider to insure that your child will not be harmed by taking medication, as well as to make sure the medication is really needed. If your child's physician is reluctant to prescribe, please ask him/her to provide you with a reference list of where to access appropriate medical care in the country of your child's birth, as well as where to obtain medications if they are prescribed by a physician where you are traveling.

A syringe calibrated in cc or ml (identical) is needed to mix and give antibiotics. If you do not have water premeasured in a separate bottle, you may safely use the boiled water provided in the rooms once it has cooled down. That water may be also used for making the baby's bottles. If your child has feeding problems and will not suck on her bottle, the syringe may be used to slowly feed your child fluids and prevent dehydration. A medicine cup may also be useful with the administration of medications, as well as fluids if your child is having problems taking liquids.

Nystatin cream (prescription) or Lotrimin cream (over the counter, in the athlete's foot treatment area of pharmacies) may be used for diaper rashes that are red and weepy, often caused by yeast infections. These often occur when children are on antibiotics or kept in wet diapers for extended periods of time.

Desitin cream, Daily Care cream, and A & D Ointment are useful in small amounts for irritant diaper rashes. You do not need to put any medication on your child's bottom if there is no rash. Check with your child's health care provider to see if he/she recommends the routine use of baby powder -- most do not.

Elimite cream is a prescription medication used to treat scabies. This condition, caused by a skin mite (and highly contagious) is characterized by small red bumps that are very itchy. Consider this diagnosis if all (or most) of the children in the orphanage have rashes, especially on their faces, heads, hands or feet. A doctor should always be the one to diagnose scabies if possible. Apply the cream from head to toe everywhere (not just where there is a rash). Leave it on for 8 to 12 hours, and then bathe. All bedding and clothing should be washed after treatment. If your son or daughter has scabies, also wash or dry-clean your clothing that came into contact with him/her. You may wish to put his/her clothing from the orphanage into a plastic bag or two, and wash them in hot water when you get home. Good pictures of scabies are often available on the internet (try a Google images search).

Nix cream rinse is the best (and unfortunately the most expensive) treatment for head lice. Lice are little hopping bugs about 1/8 inches long. Often you can only see the nits, the cases of the eggs, which are concentrated behind the ears and at the hairline. Nix is safe for all children. After washing the hair you put on the Nix for ten minutes (just as you would a cream rinse), and then rinse the hair. There is a comb enclosed. You can use it to comb out the nits. Combing every day for several days will help to successfully remove all of the nits. Sometimes they must be removed by hand picking them out. Generic forms of Permethin 1% (the active ingredient in Nix) are just as effective and are cheaper. Some physicians recommend retreatment for lice in one to two weeks.

Baby shampoo is useful for washing your child's hair, as well as to treat mild cases of cradle cap. At the start of your daughter's bath, put a small amount of the shampoo directly on the area of dried, crusty hair, which is most commonly over the soft spot on the top of the head. Wash his/her body as usual and then work in the shampoo with a damp washcloth to loosen the scaly area. Using the rough side of the washcloth will provide the necessary friction to loosen the dried crusty area, but if that doesn't work after a day or two, use a moist toothbrush (often provided in the hotel rooms in other countries). More severe cases may need to be addressed by your child's doctor upon return home, as fungal infections such as ringworm of the scalp will be less responsive to this treatment.

Acetaminophen drops or syrup (best known as Tylenol, but generic substitutes are just as good) is helpful if your child is irritable or running a fever more than 101 degrees. The dose is 40 mg (1/2 dropperful or 1/4 teaspoon) for a child under 12 pounds, 80 mg for a child 13-17 pounds, and 120 mg for a child 18-23 pounds. You can estimate weight from kilograms to pounds by multiplying kilograms by 2.2, then giving a dose of 10 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. It may also be helpful to take acetaminophen suppositories in the event that your child will not take medications by mouth.

Take a rectal thermometer, either glass or digital. Ear thermometers are convenient (and expensive), but many doctors question their accuracy when used by inexperienced caretakers or on younger children. To take a temperature, lubricate with vaseline and insert less than one inch into the rectum while your child is held over your knees. A glass thermometer should be held in place for five minutes, a digital until it beeps. If your child has a fever (usually defined as a rectal temperature more than 101 degrees), it lets you know that you should watch your child for other signs of infection. What is also important when your child has a fever is the way that your child feeds, sleeps and interacts with you and her environment. A low grade fever without other symptoms is not harmful. If your child has a temperature more than 104 degrees, the fever itself is unlikely to be dangerous, but the reason for the fever may be. You should always seek medical care if your child is acting ill or not responding to you ("lifeless"). With any fever your child will require an increase in his/her fluid intake to prevent dehydration.

Saline nose drops (such as Ocean, Nasal or Ayr) and a small ear (not nose) syringe are also quite useful for nasal congestion. They may be safely used in children of any age, and are especially helpful when the nose is noisy or wheezy, but not necessarily draining. Put one drop into each nostril with a dropper before each feed or prior to sleeping, then suction the nose once (not repeatedly) with the ear syringe. You do not have to obtain mucus when suctioning for these to help. This may be used frequently (before feeds and sleeping), as the saline drops will help to restore the nose's natural moisture and make breathing easier.

Many physicians do not routinely prescribe over the counter cough and cold medicines anymore. Many children have some runny nose and a dry cough after leaving an orphanage. Most doctors only recommend treating these symptoms if they interfere with sleeping or eating. Often children with nasal congestion will "feel" like the congestion is "in their chest," and you may be concerned about bronchitis or pneumonia. This is merely the sound of the nasal congestion being transmitted into the chest cavity. You should be concerned about one of these illnesses if your child's breathing is labored and fast (more than 10 to 15 times in 15 seconds of counting). Medical consultation should be obtained if rapid breathing is present, especially with fever more than 101 degrees (although children may breathe fast just from the fever itself). If recommended, a safe dose of cold/cough medicines for a child over 6 months old is 1/4 of the dose recommended on the bottle for a six-year-old child. Consult with your doctor before leaving home to see if he/she recommends these medicines for children younger than six months old.

Hydrocortisone 1% cream may be useful for rashes due to bug bites or irritation from new clothing or soaps. This cream may be used for any rash that remains after treating scabies or for rashes with very dry skin. Do not use it with any rash that looks infected, namely with blisters, scabbing, pus or significant redness, as it may worsen infections.

Benadryl (generic name is Diphenhydramine) is an antihistamine with the most potent side effect being sedation. It is safe to use 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon every six hours on the flight home if your child is inconsolable. Be warned, however, that some children may become more irritable with Benadryl. It is suggested that you give a trial dose of Benadryl one afternoon at nap time to see if he/she becomes more irritable, rather than waiting until the flight home (if you think that your child will not adjust to the airplane conditions well).

Babylax or Glycerin suppositories are useful to have in the event that your child has constipation. Constipation is usually defined as hard, infrequent bowel movements (less than one every two or three days). Normal bowel movements for children are soft and mushy (usually requiring two to three baby wipes to clean up). Some children have problems with constipation in the change to different baby formulas. The suppository or Babylax should be put in only about 1 inch using your finger. Do not push further into the rectum if resistance is met. If your child has severe abdominal pain with drawing up of the legs, vomiting or bloody bowel movements (more than just a small streak of blood), obtain medical care IMMEDIATELY. It may also be helpful to take one or two small cans of apple juice to help keep your child's stools loose if a suppository is needed. Ask your pediatrician about her/his recommendation, but a good mix is 1 ounce of juice to 1 to 2 ounces of water, given once a day. Most pediatricians do not recommend more than 4 ounces of juice a day once a child's stools are regulated.

Pedialyte or KaoLectrolyte is a helpful formula substitute to use in the event of diarrhea, defined as frequent (more than 2 or 3) water loss bowel movements. Pedialyte comes premixed; KaoLectrolyte is a new formulation that comes in pre-measured powder packets, takes up less luggage room, and is cheaper. If unavailable in your home stores, you can take rice cereal and salt to make up a substitute for these water-based solutions. Use 2 cups of water, add 1/4-teaspoon table salt (the amount of salt in two salt packets from your favorite fast food place), and dissolve the salt into the water. Gradually add 1/2 to 1 cup infant rice cereal to the water until the mixture is as thick as is drinkable. Mix well. Give this solution or the Pedialyte or the KaoLectrolyte solution to your child after each diarrhea-like stool, giving infants a half cup and older children a full cup. The rice cereal solution should be discarded after 6 to 8 hours. If your child is vomiting, offer the mixture in amounts of 1 teaspoon or less. If your child fails to urinate, a medical evaluation is needed.

Written by Deborah Borchers, M.D
Adoption and foster care medical specialist
Mother of three daughters born in China
Eastgate Pediatric Center, Cincinnati, Ohio
513-753-2820; fax 513-753-2824
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Revised May 29, 2005. Permission is not necessary to reprint this information with parents, health care professionals and social workers involved in international adoption. Please contact me for permission before placing on a website.

This advice is not intended to be a substitute for medical care. All families traveling to another country for the purpose of international adoption should schedule an appointment with their child's physician or nurse practitioner prior to traveling to review these recommendations, as well as others that their health care provider may have.

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