November 18, 2008

Must "have" Items while in China

I want to lighten up this Adoptive series with a fun post. To all my adoptive blogging friends, share a few of your "MUST HAVE" items that you brought with you to China. I'm not asking for your exhaustive packing lists, just a few absolutely essential items that you took with you.

For anyone that wants an exhaustive packing list, this link is great!!

Here are my top items:

1. Laptop, with webcam and skype account (we talked to our extended family members and Emma's 4th grade classroom several times a day via skype while in China. Skype was FREE and the video connection was amazing. It was a great way to introduce Josie to her extended family before she ever met them in person. We updated a website the entire time we traveled and our family and friends were addicted to our pictures and daily posts. I'm so glad we lugged a laptop, digital camera and web camera with us to China).

2. Peanut butter (Emma brought her jar of peanut butter with her to our buffet breakfasts every morning. We could always find bread and crackers, but we never saw Jiffy peanut butter in China and it was a quick snack and breakfast).

3. Stacking cups and baby carrier/sling (if you look at our Gotcha day video at the end of this blog, you'll see how those stacking cups broke the ice with Josie. We took those stacking cups with us everywhere in China...restaurants, the Civil Affairs Office, the Police Station..etc. Those stacking cups were a lifesaver. To this day, she still plays with them in the bathtub. The baby carrier/sling was ideal for bonding and it saved my arms/back while we were walking and touring China. I would have loved to have had Chris the opportunity to use it with Josie too, but it was the perfect way to cuddle with my daughter).

4. Travel compression bags (compression bags were amazing. We could fit so much more in our suitcases because of compression bags. We traveled in March when it still required winter coats. By the time we got to Guangzhou at the end of our trip, we didn't need those winter coats anymore and we could seal them up and stuff them in our suitcases.

5. Pants in various sizes for Josie (we did NOT do this and I wish we would have. She was much smaller than we thought and her size 12 month pants didn't stay up). Our guide took us to a local Walmart to find pants in a 9 month size but it's hard to find non-split pants in China).

NOW, it's your turn. I want you to list your top five "must have" items for China. I can't wait to read your posts and I know our readers who are getting ready for China will appreciate your valuable tips.


The Young's said...

Ok...Mark and I were talking about this and we have just forgotten. Isn't that terrible?!?!? There ARE a few things we can remember...maybe I'll think of more while I'm typing. Here it goes!
1. DEFINITELY a laptop & skype to communicate with family back home. It was a LIFESAVER!!! Of a blog too for everyone to keep up!

2. We didn't do this...but wish we would have...take someone else with you to take the pictures so everyone can be in the photos.

3. OH...this is a BIGGIE for me...cause I couldn't find it there. FEBREEZE!!!! Every place we went had an interesting smell...and I like really fresh clean smells. I went to the store to find something and all I could find was real "flowery" things. Too much like perfume! :( Anyway...throw a bottle of febreeze...your fav. smell in that bag! It will help!!!

4. DVD player to watch movies, and handheld games. All of our telivison was in Chinese and we had NOTHING to do. We were in our room A LOT!!!!! So...this was very helpful for Sophie (our older daughter).

5. DEFINITELY portable handwipes and toliet paper....LOTS OF IT!!!! I had these on me at all times and was SO GLAD!!! OH and hand sanitizer....HAD TO HAVE IT!!!! I'm sort of picky about having clean hands and this helped me a lot! But toliet paper wasn't too plentiful in some of the places we it was very helpful to have my own..AND the baby wipes too!!! This is a MUST!!

SEe....I thought of a few thing! WHEW....I had to really sit and think about it. Can't believe it's been 16 months ago! Wow...time flies!!!

This will be fun to go back and read! Thanks Kim. Have a GREAT day!

Tammy said...

Great post, Kim! It looks like you have all of the major things covered...

Signing Times DVDs: As you know, sign language has been a big blessing for us. Madi couldn't speak, but I know it helped her learn English quickly, so I think it could benefit any child.

Disposable Bibs, Changing Pads and Wipes: Loved all of these. We took enough that we were able share with other families.

Carry On Mini Bags: I used ziploc bags for the following travel sized things:
Nose spray
Chap stick
Handsanitizer spray
Tide stain remover pen
Sleep mask
Ear plugs
It was so nice to have to have everything easily accessible on the plane.

Our digital camera: I love taking photos, but didn't want to take along my big camera and a video camera. Our little pocket-sized camera that takes videos worked great.

Chinese New Year Stamps: We gave these as gifts to the officials, guides, etc. It was by far their favorite gift.

Hope this helped! I have a link to my packing lists under "Labels" and "Getting Ready To Go" if anyone needs any more ideas.

Kim Kenward said...

This was sent to me by Angela - Thanks for the suggestions!!

Stacking cups, a cheap point&shoot camera, disposable bottle liners, a scoop for the formula, a way to journal the trip. Everything else you can buy there! Lots of love for your existing family, patience for your self and a calmness for dealing with the chaos that may come with the new addition. Do NOT expect love at first site, and if it happens that is great. DO Expect the return to be hell for the first week as you all suffer jet lag, but your new addition loses every familiar sight, sound, smell and food they have ever know. But we do it, we do it well, and we all succeed.


Nicole said...

Goodness... you're making me think!! :o)

Let's see...
1. Laptop with Skype... couldn't have done without it. We were able to communicate with our boys at home and journal our trip. Also loved our camera! Took over 600 pics and video while there.

2. Stacking cups and bubbles... also, fingernail polish... we didn't have this with us, but one of our friends did... it really helped in the bonding process... Katelyn loved watching me paint her toe nails.

3. Baby Carrier (we used an Ergo)

4. Luggage Scale... got a cheap one from Target. Really helped when we were trying to distribute the weight between the bags.

5. Little portable fans... it was HOT when we traveled and the A/C in China isn't quite like it is here.

Other things... Febreeze or Downy Wrinkle-Out, hand sanitizing wipes, chocolate candies, single serving powdered drink mix and LOTS and LOTS of patience... a good sense of humor can help too!


Nikki said...

1. YES!! LAPTOP!! We actually bought one for the trip and now we use it all the time. (take some DVDs too)

2. Space Bags

3. Snacks for all of us. We were right across from a 7-11 in Guangzhou, but everything tasted just a little bit different. We had chips, chocolate and cookies to tide us over.

4. Elastic waist skirts were a must for Lili. We weren't sure what size she was and these were a life saver. Cheap T-shirts in a couple sizes too.

5. We also brought a photo album filled with pics of our pets, the grandparents and every room of our house. (we adopted a 4 year old) Lili really took it all in and it helped her transition home.

Great post, Kim!
I've enjoyed your Adoption series.

Robin Miller said...

I would have to say that the laptop should definitely be at the top of everyone's list, as should a Skype account, and a webcam. We "skyped" with Gracie's grandparents at 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. each day. They all met at a central location and we would talk, laugh, cry, etc. The grandmas both played "Peek-a-boo" with Gracie so much that when she first saw them at the airport, she covered her face!!! We were amazed that she would make that connection. The laptop was great for updating my blog too. All of our loved ones could post, read, and truly feel that they were experiencing the adoption with us.
Next on my list is stickers...lots and lots of them (especially for toddlers). We took those stickers everywhere! I'm pretty sure I signed lots of important papers with stickers all over my arms. Gracie loved them, and they certainly helped occupy her while we took care of official business.
Next would have to be bubbles. They are just the world-wide favorite for kids! Our 9-year old had Gracie belly laughing at those bubbles only 2 hours after meeting us.
Bath toys were also a hit, as were the snacks.
Above all, don't stress about things you forget. It will be fine!


Cindy said...

OMG, you are pulling my brains. A year ago what do I remember...
#1 Medicines - Adults and Infant Tylenol, Motrin any samples, many family practice office has tons of supplies.
#2 Baby bottles and Thermos, our favorite snacks, especially when traveling with a 3 1/2 year old. bibs and wet ones. couple of diapers just in case we did not have enough time to go to the store.
#3 stacking cups, Ava's very first baby doll, the very same one that Malia had when we first adopted her, CD's, DVD player to keep the toddler busy when paperwork needed to be done.
#4 Clothes of various sizes. On our first adoption trip Malia was wearing 6-9 months clothes. So when the referral pictures came of Ava she looked a little bit bigger than her sister did. We ended up packing 6-9, 12-24 mos luckily we did pack the bigger size since 12 months was what she ended wearing most. Most important an extra carry on set of clothes for each member of the family in case luggage was lost or delayed for any reason.
#5 Last but not least of course the camera and video camera to be able to capture wonderful memories one can ever remember. We also were able to purchase adapters, converters to charge the camera and DVD player, that was the best purchase ever.
Hope it helps.

Shanna said...

All of the things on your list are MUST HAVES! They are at the top of my list as well. I didn't want to be redundant :)

A travel candle was wonderful! It made a calming light in the room at bedtime and helped with the often musky odors. Because I always burn candles at home, it made us feel a little closer to it :)

Painter's plastic drop cloths. When we were too tired to go out for dinner, we would order room service and let the little ones sit on the floor and eat. It was very messy, but I brought a bunch of drop cloths, so I would just roll it up, food, messes and all, and throw it away. Super quick clean up!!

Lots of DVD's. After our morning activities, we all looked forward to a movie while Chloe slept. Once again, made us feel closer to home AND was so much nicer than watching Chinese channels. BTW, Baby Einstein ROCKED with Chloe.

A couple of dressy outfits. I dressed very comfy and casual our first adoption. I wanted so badly to wear something "cute" to dinner a couple of times. With our second adoption, I brought fun costume jewelry and a few snazzy outfits for all of us. It was so nice going out in GZ. It was like we were on a fun vacation!

Zip Lock baggies. When we ate breakfast, I would load down the baggies with all of the things that Chloe and the other kiddos liked. I would put them in the fridge in our room and then heat them by putting the baggy in a sink of hot water, TOTAL life saver!!

Paper plates, bowls and spoons. I took grits and oatmeal just in case the kids couldn't stomach the food. That was never an issue. But the paper products were wonderful when heating up the left overs!

But it goes without saying, the very best things that I took to China were................MY KIDS!!! I just cannot stress enough about how much better our trip was with our older babes with us. They were the most incredible travelers. They learned so much and grew tremendously spiritually from the journey. We didn't take them along when we adopted Kai. I grieved for my sweet darlings back at home the entire trip. When we adopted Chloe, it was truly a wonderful vacation. I didn't want to come home. Imagine that!!!

Thank Kim for dedicating your blog to Adoption Month!!

Angela said...

I was checking in tonight. And thought I would chime in a bit more on the "spiritual" side. Go with a sense of adventure. I was so happy to have our older child there; even though he was only 3. He reminded me of the wonder in all things new even if he did eat pigeon and swim in water where we couldn't see our feet. Go with a sense of wonder and don't be surprised at the frustration and fright that may emerge in your heart at the difference in culture. It is a perplexing society which really values children and family although you will be there for a child that was unwanted. Totally take the medicines! But listen to your instinct as well as doctor advice. Take a way to communicate, be it a lap top or just email addresses so you can reach out from the road from Hotel business centers (which was my path). And go forth with a sense of purpose, getting home. Once you are home, think about the next step.

Special K said...

My top fives:

1. Laptop/skype- yep! Doubles as a DVD player to watch Elmo before bed everynight.

2. Wipes. Useful for everything from diaper changes to meal cleanup to dealing with dirty bathrooms.

3. Plates/silverware for eating in the room (I second the jar of peanut butter!)

4. Pocket-sized camera.

5. Clothes for layering. We went in winter and weather varied from freezing to really warm.

Jeanne said...

1.laptop computer- I second everything you said about communicating and in our case, planning medical care for when we got home.( we had plans in place, but we had to expedite our return trip because josh was really sick.)

2. We had a hot pot,and french press coffee maker. The tea in China was good, but if you are a coffee drinker... this was comforting and home like.

3. sling. Josh loved it he was 2.5 but too sick to walk. we used it all the time.

4.Backpack for the important papers. It was easy to have with us,and did not look too "important" so was not very interesting to other with bad intentions. We carried the laptop in there too.

5your sense of humor. It is very handy when all else is lost. Ron and I shared some of those laugh 'til you are crying and your stomach hurts moments.

good idea! Jeanne

Susan said...

Hi Kim!

As usual, I am so happy to continue to read your posts! I will definitely be taking notes when we meet soon, but will also be printing out pages and pages of your blog. I may become one of your biggest fans, and am so happy to read your posts over Rumor Queens! I think you have a wonderful future as a "famous" blogger, and will soon have sponsors "knocking on your door" wanting to add banner ad's to your blog!

On an added and wonderful note, Roger and I received our PA today! We're still dreaming of traveling by early January, but only time will tell.

We're looking forward to meeting all of you! Thanks for your passion for blogging. You are amazing, and I hope to have your energy once we're back home!

Susan & Roger

P.S. I need tips on how you create your blog! Even though I'm a graphic designer, I'm clueless how to create a cool blog page. I have a header designed, but can't figure out much more. Help!

Blessed Mom of Four, Now Five said...

Okay, I'll agree with many of these posts:
#1--Laptop-I could keep up with friends and family from home, any time of the day while remaining in the room.

#2--On our second trip, JT was almost 5 years old, and her own backpack filled with entertainment was a must. She could carry it herself on the airplane, and it was in the hotel filled with the things she enjoys.

#3--Oddly enough, Slim Fast meal bars, not because I diet...but, sometimes, I didn't want to go out for a meal. It was good to have a source of protein/nutrition handy. Funny....when we adopted Josie-Tatum, it had been so long since I'd had a baby, 11 years, I had a hard time getting my act together and didn't always make it to the breakfast buffet in time.

#4--MY SISTER!!! Well, for our second adoption, we left the teenagers behind, but wanted Josie-Tatum there for her own emotional well-being, as well as for Ellie. My sister added so much to our trip. She would care for JT when we had to devote more attention to Ellie. She is my best prayer warrior friend. She was such good company when we were "alone," the only family with our agency in Ellie's province.

#5, For JT's trip, Handwarmers! It was the dead of winter, cold, cold, in early February and I've never been so cold as I was standing on the Great Wall or touring Tiananmen Square. We used hand warmers, found in the hunting sections of sporting goods, in our pockets, and even in our shoes. That felt so good.

This was fun,