Sunday, January 25, 2009

Questions and questions that need answers

This shall be the first of many posts looking for your honest and humble answers from those who have been there and done that.

Lets first say that I have no clue as to what I am doing. I can tell you that we we in fact have a crib, a car seat, stroller and 2 boxes of diapers.

This is real. We are totally going to China and bringing back the daughter we have dreamed about and prayed for for sooooo long. That in itself is a whole other post.

So, here is the beginning of my long and somewhat silly list of questions.

1) what do you do on the plane 17 hours???

2) what do you take in your carry on?

3) VISA's- when do I learn about that? I have seen people recommending certain sites but havent heard anything

4)Should you take food into China?

5)If you had the opportunity to wire the orphanage fee to China, would you?

6) what was on your list of things to do before China???

7) What do you wish you had taken to China?

8) What kinds of things did you give the nannies as gifts?

Thats enough to get you started. See, my mind is crazy and its 2:15 am at work. But today, our LOA arrives and we are sooooo excited..YIPPPEEEEE!!!


Miss Lila in Atlanta said...

Hello from Atlanta, GA

I hope you won't mind as I follow along with you to China. I found your blog by accident and when I saw that sweet sweet little girl I just wanted to read all about her. She's a doll. And I know with all your tender loving care she is going to blossom.

When my husband and I flew to Ireland (10 hr flight) we took a couple tylenol PM and had a glorious 6 hour nap, watched a movie and we were there! Sounds like you could use some sleep, LOL

I am praying for you and baby. Can't wait till Gotcha day. Just know that there are folks out here hoping and praying for you.

Have a beautiful day.
Miss Lila in Atlanta

Miss Lila in Atlanta said...

Hello from Atlanta, GA

I hope you won't mind as I follow along with you to China. I found your blog by accident and when I saw that sweet sweet little girl I just wanted to read all about her. She's a doll. And I know with all your tender loving care she is going to blossom.

When my husband and I flew to Ireland (10 hr flight) we took a couple tylenol PM and had a glorious 6 hour nap, watched a movie and we were there! Sounds like you could use some sleep, LOL

I am praying for you and baby. Can't wait till Gotcha day. Just know that there are folks out here hoping and praying for you.

Have a beautiful day.
Miss Lila in Atlanta

Miss Lila in Atlanta said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Miss Lila in Atlanta said...


SORRY! I'm kind of new at this BLOGGING THING and don't know much about it! But my 10 year old grandson is teaching me, LOL.
Miss Lila

Miss Lila in Atlanta said...


SORRY! I'm kind of new at this BLOGGING THING and don't know much about it! But my 10 year old grandson is teaching me, LOL.
Miss Lila

bbmomof2boys said...

First of all - congrats!! I know you are getting excited.

1. Plane trip - on the way there you'll watch movies and hopefully sleep!
2. Carry on - I took books, my laptop, neckpillow, snacks, socks, jacket, my son took his ipod, game, books. My friend also brought along suduko puzzles.
3. Visas - your agency will send you instructions on your visa
4. Food to bring - this depends on how picky you are. I'm now sure what province you are going to but in Guangzhou there is enough there. Also, your guide will take you to a Walmart or Carefour where you can get snacks. I did fill some sippy cups with cheerios.
5. LIst to do - hmmm...not freak out?!! :), visa, pack, last minute shopping, gather paperwork, power of attorney (hubby did not travel)
6. Taken to China - power adapter, bottles, sippy cups, clothes for baby, clothes for you, toys, laptop, tolietries.
7. Nannies - well, I left MINE at home - I was so upset! I had bought them some hand lotion form bath and body so I went to a store in HOng Kong and got some more.

Enjoy yourself there - if you get a chance to go to the orphanage GO! I didn't and regret not going. See the "real" China - go out and about. Most of all, enjoy your new daughter and have fun!!


Michelle said...

I am very excited for you. I know you have been watching me and Malia and I am glad it is your turn. Here is my advice.

1 - plane: I tried to sleep but ended up watching movies. Too excited.

2 - carry on: extra clothes (in case suitcase delayed), snacks, prescription meds, eye shade (in case you are in front of the movie screen), laptop, and of course all of your paperwork.

3 - Visa: you should hear when to apply from your agency.

4 - Snacks: We brought a lot of snack food to fill in between meals and in case we didn't get out. We would have lunch at the hotel while Malia napped and you get tired of eating out.

5 - Wire: It wasn't an option for me so I am not sure the pros and cons.

6 - To Do: pack (and pack again), check paperwork, get fresh bills from the bank (yes, they do check), schedule doctors appointment for your little one for when you return, list of gifts to watch for.

7 - Wish: Malia was much older so it is hard. I would have brought more sippy cups but otherwise I probably overpacked.

8 - Nanny gifts: I brought lotions, MN potholders, MN Timberwolves t-shirt for the director, etc. However, people told me not to worry and I did. They do not look at any of the gifts in front of you. The big part is to make sure you have enough of them versus what is included or the cost. Some families in my group ran short.

Just enjoy this time and have a blast in China. You just have to let go and go with the flow.

Carol said...

don't pack a lot of clothes for the can buy in GZ...and buy LOTs of shoes, take snacks you like because the food doesn't taste like home...they carry most everything in China however...Emily loved Gerber Puffs, hated the Cheerios....and animal crackers went over well on the LOONG plane ride....and we walked the isle with Emily on the LONG flight home that is what we did!! Visa's should be taken care of by your agency??....Lots of wipes...keep them at all times!! Also..go to the hotel front desk and ask for maps of the area...that's great for your baby book pages when you get home...FREE..don't take many toys...they have them there and the baby probably won't like them anyway....Emily didn't like toys that made sound....very scary...Nanny gifts...we gave things from our area, like Medium sized T-shirts from our hometown....postcards, DO take some candy for the orphanage if you get to go!! a cd of music in China to help her sleep at night....that was the BEST thing I bought....she had to have noise to sleep!!! worries they have diapers but make sure you take a few days worth because we didn't get to a store for DAYS in our providence!!...also Femine items don't forget don't want to have to ask your guide for that!!!...Chapstick and cough drops...our lips and throat hurt from the air!!!!

Carol said...

Neck pillow ABSOLUTELY!! And test them...get a NICE will need it!!! Trust me!! I was rolling blankets and everything...nothing worked...and we took the direct flight...thought I'd go nuts!!

cheepette8 said...

1. slept, read and watched movies. Not much else to do. I did take some tylenol PM and that helped.
2. My laptop, my original documents (and I put a copy in my checked bag as well) and a change of clothes just in case my luggage got lost.
3. We used and it was very quick and inexpensive.
4. The only food I took was jelly beans and cheerios. I'm not a picky eater and had no trouble finding snacks for me and the kids.
5. yes, yes, yes, yes. I would send the money ahead.
6. clean my house and make sure I had a few frozen meals for the first couple of days home.
7. Everything was pretty easy to find. I would take batteries and the little scented trash bags for the hotel room.
8. I gave the nannies jelly belly's, lotion and antibacterial gel. I would not stress over them. They don't open them in front of you and I'm sure everything is appreciated.
The most important thing to remember is have patience, take lots and lots of pictures and videos, experience everything you can and have lots of fun.
I hope you guys get your TA soon.

Cristy said...

1) Sleep
2) snack foods, books/magazines, change of clothes, meds, toiletries. I also packed a change for baby incase luggage was lost, a few bottles, and diapers. Probably overkill but better safe than sorry.
3) I would wait til CCAI gives you the okay but we used a lady in Houston... I can find her info.
4) we did because we wanted to stay in the room and bond with our babies. The second trip we brought Aria's comfort food. It depends how adventurous you are with eating and if you want to go out for every meal.
5)YESSS!! We did for Aria couldn't for Gianna. I preferred not having all the $$$ on us until gotcha day.
6) Deep clean, declutter, baby proof in case she is walking. Wash her clothes. Shop for stuff to take. Take naps and enjoy them. Date your hubby.
7) Not one thing. BOTH trips we brought everything we needed. I am a professional over packer. :) Kim and Michael are more realistic!
7) I would bring AMerican stuff for Pam that she might miss, for nannies we brought makeup, and lotions, I think CCAI gives you tips for the province and we followed those guidelines.
You will be a wonderful mom!!!

Jen & Bill said...

1. Plane - read, watched movies, played games on the entertainment console, walked around, played cards.

2. Carryon. We took backpacks one for each of us (packed a small diaper bag for the way back). Books to read (actually I use an Kindle), extra set of clothes, neck pillow - I used the blow up kind - worked okay, paperwork, laptop, snacks for the plane.

3. CCAI will tell you when to get these. We used JC Travel for this.

4. Well we brought oatmeal, snack bars, candy, granola bars, crackers, cheerios and peanut butter. You can get snacks in China. The oatmeal was great to have in the room when you didn't want to go out.

5. Yes we wired. Do it. No need to carry the extra cash.

6. See your post before.

7. Make sure you take kitchen tongs for the bottles - you rinse out with the hot water from the hotpot. Also I found dish detergent that was in cloth material instead of the bottle - I cut them into 4's. Scissors but pack them. Scented diaper trash bags (look at dollar tree - recently found some great ones there). Balloons, stacking cups should do it on the toy item. I actually bought a couple of toys in china and then left them there. Hand Sanitizer (small little bottles), and hand wipes plus diaper wipes. I brought some diapers with me used them for the plane. Used China diapers when in China.

8. CCAI will give you suggestions based on province. Check the Parent Access area. We gave georgia made candy, and lotions.

Beth and Ryan said...

As for the plane, we listened to our ipods, read magazines, watched movies and tried unsuccessfully to sleep. Oh, and we ate and watched our watches slowly move from one hour to the next :)
We carried on an extra set of clothing for each of us - including the baby, our adoption documents, laptop, medicines, and I don't really remember what else. Ask Donna about Visas. We took snacks, granola bars, pretzels, individual packs of peanut butter, instant oatmeal...really we would eat a huge breakfast, a snack from our suitcase for an afternoon snack and then we would find something "western" for dinner, we aren't huge Chinese food eaters unfortunately....get your mail held at the post office, arrange care for the animals, buy groceries so that you will at least have something when you get back. Definitely wire the isn't hard to change in China but it would be one less thing for you to worry with once you are there. I am so excited for you guys! I am reliving our adoption timeline with you...this time last year we surprisingly got our LOA and we waited so impatiently for the CNY celebration to end so that we could get our could not happen fast enough!

Anonymous said...

Im an adoptive mom who's been following your blog( also in Atlanta) Your daughter is adorable!
You've gotten lots of good advice - almost everything I was thinking of passing on except
I would take a journal for the plane - good time to put down in words all the excitement and anticipation you'll be feeling.
Definitely take snacks for the hotel, and lots of Ziplock bags- they really come in handy.
Unless they've changed their suggestion since last year, CCAI asked that we stick to the specific items they suggested as gifts for nannies etc. I took ties and cosmetics
I used the lady in Houston for Visas too and she was very efficient.
Definitely take anything irreplaceable in your carry-on , and a change of clothes
Toys are fun but a waste of much-needed space and you can buy them in China ; Most of the kids seem to have NO fondness for stuffed animals!

I had the option to wire the orphanage fee and jumped at it! No problems and I was glad not to have to worry about all that cash.
They really DO get obsessive about the US bills being perfect -they examined each one closely and wouldnt exchange one with the slightest mark on it.
And last - try to relax and enjoy it ; In many ways the trip is really hard, but it's also the most amazing experience you can imagine!
Best of luck!


Brandi said...

Those are GREAT questions, Amy. And as someone who is awaiting her LOA, I would love to know how people answer them. You will post the answers, won't you? :)

Kim said...

Check your email. I wrote A LOT!!! Don't worry about packing - Donna and I have you covered!!!

Kate said...

Looks like you got a lot of great responses! I'm exhausted tonight, but wanted to come on here and say CONGRATS and I can't wait to follow your journey!

sarah said...

1) I talked to the person next to me and I slept (and thought a lot). Took pictures. . . .

2) Anything we couldn't fit in our checked luggage, including a light blanket (I am ALWAYS cold and nearly froze on a couple of flights there - so glad I had that) and an inflatable pillow and eye cover (to block out light)

3) Your agency should tell you when to do all the Visa stuff

4) We did and am glad we did


6) Pack, and do whatever paperwork our agency requested we have complete before we could travel

7) Baby formula

8) We made a donation via our orphanage - as that was an option instead of bringing gifts

*What we are SO glad we brought: 'Little Noses' saline spray and pedialyte strips and baby tylenol, bulb syringe.
...possibly this is TMI...but if you think you may have a period while in China bring tampons (you cannot find them anywhere in China - I don't think they know what they are).

sarah said...

#8 - should be: we made a donation to our orphanage via our adoption agency in lie of individual nanny gifts, etc.

awaitingmissemily said...

You have gotten such great advice, I will just share the story of what we did on the plane. We left on Nov. 1, so we decided it would be fun to stay up all night the night before and go out for breakfast then we would be so tired we would sleep most of the flights. Breakfast out was fun, it was halloween and there were plenty of drunks (we don't drink) to entertain us!!

Again, Congratulations and enjoy this time. You will be such a great Momma.

FHL said...

Amy, Every now and again I make a point of dropping by to see how your family is doing.....OH MY GOODNESS!!!!! I was not anticipating to see the sweet sweet face of your cutie patootie!!! So many heartfelt congratulations and Praise for GOD!

Redheaded Chick said...

Hello Amy...

Oh My God! You followed my blog when I was waiting (Murphy Adoption-11/18/2005 LID) and I am scrambling around on the Internet at 3:13AM (and yeah, my day starts at 5:30AM) and decided to check in with people I knew from my blogging days and OMG you have a daughter!!! I hope we have a snow day tomorrow so that I can catch up

Redheaded Chick said...

Argg! Sorry about that! Anyway, I hope we are totally snowed in tomorrow so that I can catch up on everything.

We took a few boxes of Zone Bars to China and I am really glad we did. We lived on those. Sometimes we found that we were just not hungry at meal time, but we'd be starving later on. Also, you may be up much of the night with your daughter, and you'll get hungry.

Lisa said...

Just thought I'd come out of the woods and share my ideas to some of the items you asked about.

1. You'll watch a lot of movies and sleep. At some point in the flight they made us pull the shades down and try to sleep.

2. I highly reccomend taking your own noise reduction headset type ear phones. They are very comfortable and they do drown out the sound of the plane. Helpful for sleeping too.

3. Your agency should be advising you about this.

4. Only pack comfort foods like Quaker Oat cereal, cup a soup, and for heaven sakes don't forget the Cheerios!! These will come in real handy on gotcha day.

5. I would definately NOT wire the money. Communication is not always a strength there and you don't want to end up getting there without the money and they report that they never received the wire.

6. Make food for 1 week and put it in the freezer.
We hired a stretch limo to pick my parents up at our home and take them to the airport. It then waited for us to arrive and brought us all back home. The cost was well worth it in the whole scheme of the adoption. Also my parents hate driving around a busy airport and after sitting on a plane from China for hours on end the last thing you want to do is try and get out of a busy airport.

7. I wish I had made a list of what and who I wanted to buy gifts for. I also wished I'd made a list of ideas for small gifts for each gotcha day celebration until 18 years old.

8. Lipstick, nylons, sented soap, chocolate.

By the looks of your comment section you'll have lots of ideas. Thanks for sharing your journey with us and we can't wait to see you guys all together.

Lori said...

Congrats on your LOA! We are currently waiting on our TA also. We got our LOA on 1/6.

Your daughter is absolutely adorable. Soon you will be holding her.

Jen & Bill said...

re wiring the money - we did this via CCAI. I don't think you have to worry about them not receiving. You may need to pay a hundred more when you get there due to the value of the dollar that changes daily.

TimandKim said...

1) Watch movies on the plane. I saw some I wouldn't pay to see, but it was nice to at least know what they were about. I also timed my Lunesta and took it about 9-10 hours before landing. FIgured it would give me a good 8 hours sleep. Not happening when I'm squished between a stranger and my husband and it is hot on board. If I had not taken it, I would have slept less. So take a sleeping pill or Tylenol PM. Try it out at home first to see how you react.

2) carry on-medicines, all your documents, cameras, etc. A change of clothes for emergencies, eye drops. tissues, hand sanitizer.

3) OUr agency told us when to get the visa so no help there.

4)I don't think we took any food with us. DH took the powder to add to water as he can't stand plain water. We might have taken a few snacks for the plane. Unless you are really picky, don't waste space for food. If you are picky, maybe some peanut butter tubes or oatmeal packs or something for protein.

5)If I could wire the fee, yes, I would. One less bit of money to carry and less that I had to get in good, crisp bills.

6) Have a nice dinner with DH before we left. Have the house cleaned, mail stopped for the time we are gone, someone to feed any pets you have. Just make sure the baby's room is ready and I have all most needs in place so when we get back I don't have to go anywhere. If I had the time I would have made some meals for the freezer. As it was, my MIL prepared a meal for our first night and church families brought a couple that week.

7) I don't think I missed taking anything. We took all we needed.

8) For gifts for the nannies, I did scarfs made in India and some lipsticks or eye pencils. I figured lipsticks and eye makeup go with any skin tone, don't take up much room, weigh little and the scarfs weighed nothing. On the advice of a Chinese friend, we also stuck about $10 in each bag. We were told they earn so little, the money would be nice. I have no idea if they got to anyone though, as they were all collected and supposed to be distributed equally among the nannies. No one knows who the gift is from so don't stress over it. If we do it again, I would again do make up and maybe the scarfs. Weight little and can be used by anyone. Even the men can give it as a gift later.

Have a wonderful trip!

Beverly said...

take comfort foods and cheerios, fruity and plain (for her and you). I ditto the not many clothes approach for baby. You can get things where ever you may be. I can't wait until you meet her too! TN is waiting for her too!

Cupcakes and Hairbows said...

We took snacks; we wired money (all of the fees) and took some too (for spending); yes, get going on the VISAs - your agency can help you (or ask Donna)... take movies to watch on your laptop and books and mags that you can leave for the next people on the plane.

MissMeliss said...

Hi there...some of my answers for when I went. :) GOOD Luck and have fun!!

1) what do you do on the plane 17 hours??? ... if you can, SLEEP. You will need it!! I'd take a sleeping pill.

2) what do you take in your carry on? ... make sure you take at least one pair of undies, socks, and a change of clothes. two if you can fit it. we took snacks, and bathroom stuff. we also took sudoku and word game books. oh, but don't take liquids,...this includes small things of peanut butter. they made me throw it out.

3) VISA's- when do I learn about that? ... you will need to get ahold of your consulate. your agency should be able to help you with this.

4)Should you take food into China? you can... we did. the peanut butter would have been fine if i hadn't take it in my carry on.

5)If you had the opportunity to wire the orphanage fee to China, would you? - no. but then again, carrying that kind of money was a bit scary. do carry it and your passport under your clothes AT ALL TIMES.

6) what was on your list of things to do before China??? so many things... :)

7) What do you wish you had taken to China? i don't think we really missed anything.

8) What kinds of things did you give the nannies as gifts? - small things like makeup, candies and things that are from your local area. i'd make these gifts somewhat small and put them in little red bags. make them small and light... that's the key.

I'm so excited for you!!!

DD Mia - Guangxi 2007

MissMeliss said...

oh, something we took that we didn't need - laundry detergant. don't waste the space.

i did try to cook ahead, too. this really helps. trust me.

the cheerio thing is also true. though, my daughter didn't really take to them at first. we took "old" clothes there so that if we wanted to leave stuff behind we could. we didn't end up doing that, but you could. we did leave the detergant! lol