Monday, March 09, 2009

last minute advice

next post later will be on all of our updates and such but wanted a free for all post. Ok now is the time to share your advice about CHina, adoption, finances, culture, parenting, travel, adjustment. You name it, I want to know it.

We leave the house Wednesday morning at 4am!!

Oh and Norah is with her family!!!!! Check it our here and Julia and Leila are with their families as well!


Shelly and Family said...

The best advise I can give't sweat the small stuff, take a TON of photos and take in as much of CHINA as you can. It is truly a journey of a life time. Oh ya...and give that baby of yours tons of hugs and kisses (trust me, they work)!!! Have a great time and I can' wait to follow along in your journey to LynnMarie!

If I had to give you some advise on the one thing(s) you won't want to leave behind...and that would be diapers. US brands are 100% better than the ones in China and if you are coffee drinkers, get some Maxwell House singles (the coffee in China is very VERY very strong...). Hope this helps....

Pam and Jeff said...

Thank you!! Mike and Kelly were in our chinese class last year. I am so happy to find their blog.

Tymm said...

Ya definitely can't take enough pictures. Once you're back and several months go by and you're kinda settled in - you look back at all of that stuff...

I wish we had taken more pictures and more video while we wer ein Ethiopia.

Godspeed to you guys - enjoy every minute of it...

Kiy said...

I agree on the photos. On diapers there is no way you can bring enough diapers for the whole time. We took some for the flight back (10ish, I think) and some for the day we received baby. Every adoption trip is different. No matter what the agency says and the guides say, sometimes you don't have time to shop before baby (when you arrive in their province). Come prepared, it's worth it.

My other bits of advise:
(1) Use the stroller as you need to. Everyone says 'use the carrier' and yes, that's best for bonding. But sometimes, you just need a break.
(2) Don't let others tell you what to do when you know it isn't right (we had folks try that with us, and with one family I finally had to look at them and say "butt out").
(3) You will honestly be more exhausted than you will imagine. The beds are hard (and we like pretty firm), the furniture is low to the ground, and your very bones will ache at times. Make sure to take your fav pain reliever and take it! It *is* the trip of a lifetime but it is also mentally and physically tiring. Your emotions will swamp you when you least expect it. That's okay! Luckily you have each other!
(4) On the trip back, we ran out of formula! It wasn't terrible as Emi isn't fussy at all about what is in her bottle so towards the end we made 1/2 strength bottles. But she seemed to need them for comfort more than I was expecting to. If we were to do it again, I'd figure out how much I thought we'd need and then double it. One of those 'better to have and not need ...).

And my last bit:
(5) Touring and seeing China is great but only you know if you need to step back. While in our province we did not go and do non-stop like many of our travelmates did. We stuck close to 'home', did a bit of walking around, played in our room ... a lot. But, our little gal is so seriously bonded it isn't funny. Maybe she would have been anyway (all kids are different after all) but we still feel we made the right decision. We are planning a heritage trip in 5-6 years, we will go and do then. And, we will experience it all (or mostly all) new with our daughter.

Whoa, this is a novel! :)

Good luck, enjoy your time in China, fall deeper in love with LynnMarie and take photos, lots and lots of photos (of everything and nothing!).


P.S. Remember to take the one photo I forgot: The crib in your room before baby arrives. I saw it and just dissolved into happy tears. But did I remember to take a photo? No! Rats.

Marla said...

You've already received some great advice, so all I will add is that if you see something you want, BUY IT! Don't wait and think you may see it somewhere else because you may not.

Have a great trip and take LOADS of pictures! Can't wait to read all about it!

Heather said...

I've been following all the gotcha days!! It's so awesome! Brings back memories and makes me think of the memories yet to be made. I was so happy to see that Norah's parents didn't make her give up her orange jacket or shoes right away~~that is so huge!

OziMum said...

Have a GREAT TIME!!! Love on your daughter every single minute!

OK, for a little more practical advice - I found the following helpful:
*pack tights for your daughter - keeps the clothing police at bay!
*don't pack snacks - you can buy coke/oreos/pringles in China - and there's usually a McDonalds or Starbucks near by!!
*was so glad I took our laptop
*I bought Pampers in China - were great - didn't even use any from my "home stash"!
*I wouldn't bother taking any formula from home (maybe just enough for about 4 feeds, in case of emergencies) - we thought it was better just to keep Tari on her what she was used to

:) Did I say "HAVE FUN"?!!

Beth and Ryan said...

Hi Amy! First, please know that we are praying for all three of you! Second, I am so excited that you guys leave on the very day that we left one year ago to get our MK. I read all of the previous comments and there is so much advice to give. I would say, do what you feel is good. While making decisions, you will learn what works and doesn't work. We had a pretty good routine that worked for us our entire trip....we went strong in the morning, touring or shopping and then we rested in the afternoon...then it was out to dinner and then to sleep. One piece of advice is this...don't stress over the whole schedule thing. LynnMarie will have plenty of time to get on a schedule once you guys get back home. I am a schedule nut and do believe that helps with security in children because they learn what to expect. However, during your trip, just enjoy getting to know her and seeing her country. Good luck!

Joanne said...

First of all ~ I'm SO excited for you and want to wish you a wonderful trip. We still look back on our China trip to Mia as one of the best moments/times of our lives. You will come home with such a love for your daughters country:)
We did bring diapers, and I'm glad we did. We didn't have to run around looking for them. We brought Cheerios, which was a life saver! We brought stacking cups, again, a life saver! We bought the stroller while in province, again a life saver :) See as much of of her province as you can, we took walks every day and took many pictures - we learned so much about where she was from and the people. Bring extra camera batteries and memory cards, bring the charger for your video camera :)
While in Guangzhou, buy outfits for Chinese New Year inall different sizes - and squeaky shoes - I'm so glad we did because the "tutu" ones are hard to find here. We bought a present for each gotcha anniversary until Mia turns 16 and something for her wedding day (pearls) - we have it in a box and each year we will give her a special gift from her country.
Everything will work out, just take it all in stride. This is such a special time - blog or write it all down! I love looking back on my blog from when we were in China :)
So happy for you!!!

Andy and Amy said...

I definitely agree about taking lots of pictures! A few restuarant suggestions in Zhengzhou: New Island Coffee House (great noodles), a Chinese restuarant between the Holiday Inn and the Sofitel (I forget the name...Swan something?) They have good Chinese food for cheap. Avoid the hotel buffet except for breakfast. it's very expensive. Also, don't do your laundry at the Crowne's really expensive. Make sure your guide helps you find a place away from the hotel. Have a great trip! Can't wait to see LynnMarie in your arms!

Don and Be said...

Knowing you, Mike & Amy, you will do the right thing. Just don't sweat it. One step at a time.
We're following you ......

Cupcakes and Hairbows said...

Just don't get stressed when/if she cries - she will be fine. Try your best to do as much as you possibly can in China. You can always sleep here in GA! ENJOY!!! It's SO much fun!

As for diapers, China ones worked fine for Ally when we got her... If you like salt, pick up a few individual packets at McD's... take some napkins in your backpack -restaurants in China don't seem to have them... video the sights and sounds... blog often!!!

Paul and Robyn: said...

One more night at home as a couple!!! Kind of surreal feeling, huh? It was almost 1 year ago today that we embarked on the same journey and I remember all those feelings like it was yesterday.....

The excitement of traveling around the world...

The anticipation of meeting our daughter for the first time....

The meltdown in Beijing because I was so scared that I was not worthy to be someone's mother....

The next several days will hold a hold range of emotions for you, savor them all!!

My best advice is to journal, blog, whatever but record as much as you can because believe it or not the time flies by and before you know it you will be back home as a family of 3!

Our thoughts and prayers will be with you on this incredible journey and we can't wait to see the first pics of LynnMarie in your arms.

Safe travels!!!!

The Evans Family said...

I am so excited for all of you!

You've gotten some great advice. I just wanted to add this tidbit---this is the most exciting time of your lives. However, this is going to be the most confusing and sad time for LynnMarie. Trying to balance those conflicting emotions can be hard.
Like everyone else said, listen to your instincts!
Have a safe and exciting trip!

sarah said...

I'm SO excited for you!!!

All good advise already (photograph goes by so fast)

AlyAbox said...

Hi Sweet friend,
I am praying for you as you are probably still awake thinking about all the things you have to do before you leave to get LynnMarie. I have a couple of last minute tips for you...
I think that with the diaper thing, it is important to have a few US pampers with you for the long trips... like the plane ride to Guangzhou, and home again. The others were good, but, were not as good as ours.
The other thing is about formula. Bring some of what you are going to give her when you're home, and over the week, mix it in with what she is used to. As you get closer to coming home, make it more of the US one, and less of the other. That way when you come home, she won't be upset by the change.
About buying things when you see them... couldn't agree more! I missed out on something in Beijing that I really wanted, thinking I would find it again later. I never saw it again.
Don't forget if you get ill, have the guides take you to the SOS hospital in Guangzhou. They were wonderful there, and my doctor spoke English very well. You need to make sure that you have cash on you, however.
If you get to shop on "Up Down Nine Street" in GZ, make sure that you bring cash. They don't take credit cards.

Have a wonderfully blessed trip. I am so happy that Chun Ai will be coming home with her Mama and Baba.
LynnMarie is the perfect name for her.
I look forward to hearing all about your trip.
p.s. if you get to see Pam... give her a hug for me.

Jen said...

I second the "don't worry about a schedule" advice someone else gave you. We just wanted to enjoy every bit of China that we could. So, we would go, go, go in the mornings, have lunch out somewhere, and then I would head back to the room w/ Emma for playtime and a nap. Shane would sometimes go out and roam around a bit more. You never know when you'll get back to China, so just take everything in that you can.

We didn't take enough diapers for the whole trip, but we saved a stash of Huggies and Huggies overnights for the trip home. We bought Huggies in China,and they were so thin. I figured out that if you make them really tight, they do better, but we still had a couple of leaks. A friend of mine bought the Chinese Pampers and had trouble w/ them staying closed.

Someone else said this, but if you see something you like, do buy it. You may not see it later. If we had it to do over again, I would have bought more things that I liked in Beijing, but at the time, I had no idea how to budget our spending money in China. It turned out that we did very little shopping in our child's province, and our money went much farther than we imagined.