Friday, July 18, 2014

Packing for China? Hope this helps

Posting tonight about PACKING FOR OUR ADOPTION sorry it's taking me forever to finish post about our actual trip to bring TJ home, I'll get back to that soon.
 But for now...
it's about packing...
Cuz I've got some very special people in my life that are traveling SOON to go bring their little ones HOME!!!
 Next I will post about what to expect while you are there!
Hope for some of you this is useful...

A sweet friend posted a super helpful list of things she packed and used in China 
when they traveled a month or so before us.
It was just what I needed to stay focused on packing light and with purpose! 

Soooo.... If you should find yourself preparing for an upcoming trip to 
bring your precious one home,
I hope this will be useful for you.
Because about a week before we traveled I had just bought our tickets and felt like THIS is what I needed to bring...

I thought for sure I would forget something, so PACK IT ALL!!
Oh my I needed help!
So glad I read what others had done before me!

Let's start with what we packed/brought with us....
(tried to link items that you might want to purchase)

and if you do purchase...
Will you consider purchasing through Amazon using this link?
Via that link, at least 5% of your purchase will go towards the amazing foster home that took such precious care of our girl until we could bring her home.

Donations, gifts and Nate's clothing took up his suitcase. 44 pounds plus! Done!
(In China flights, luggage can only be 44 lbs, his was closer to 50, but much of our donations and
gifts were going to be left in the first city)
So my suitcase was for me and TJ.
Tip: Roll your clothing. TJ's outfits were rolled together even clipped her matching bow to the top, then rubber banded the outfit together.  Bonus with traveling during the Summer, her clothing took up a little corner of the suitcase.

Here's what clothing I packed for 19 days:
My fav lightweight, dark(doesn't show dirt as much), elastic waist (comfort!), Capri pants, 3/4 sleeve jacket, printed (doesn't show dirt as much) sleeveless tunic top (wore this on the flight over). Don't think I ever wore the cotton knit jacket other than on flights. Glad I brought it though, flights can be chilly!  Ok... Packed 5 other s/s or sleeveless cotton tops with a couple mix n match tank tops to layer, black knee length skirt, one pair of khaki style coral shorts, light gray Capri pants, red tunic style casual dress paired with black Capri leggings for US Cons. appointment day, 2 sets of sleepwear.  3 pairs of shoes. Black flip flops, TOMS, and Keens.  Only wore the Keens once to walk up the Great Wall.  Probably could have just worn my TOMS that day.
That's it!!!!
We washed our undergarments, or clothes that got drenched in sweat in our room with a sample size bottle of laundry detergent that I found in the $ section at Target.
The first two hotels had laundry drying lines in the bathrooms.  We brought wooden clothespins. This came in handy for wet swimsuits too.

The GZ hotel did not have the line, but we brought string and these THESE 3M five pound wall hooks.  That bathroom has marble walls, so no risk of damage.
I'm sure the laundry service is lovely, we just choose to do our own when it was convenient for us.

What I packed for TJ: 
8 total outfits.  2 sets of pjs. (warm, long sleeved pjs), 3 pairs of shoes (crocs, sandals, robeez style leather crib shoes). Dresses are easy! Leggings in two colors to mix n match. 2 one pc bubble outfits, 2 shorts and T-shirt outfits, red, white and blue outfit for her special day, swimsuit, gap jacket for flights. We purchased a cotton, floral print, traditional style dress at a shop right next to our hotel in GZ, she wore it for the 'couch picture' with all the precious ones in our group. I tried to stick with prints, doesn't show messes as much :) Lightweight cotton dries fast too.
SHOES are difficult, who really knows what size they wear??

BTW...she is 21 pounds, 30 inches tall
She wears 12-18 months and a size 5 shoe

 Crocs are forgiving, comfortable and easy for toddlers to put on themselves (which they love to do)
Sandals like these are also forgiving and they double for entertainment, she messed with the buckles for years.
Robeez style leather crib shoes are EASY.  Couple reasons I brought these.  I'm not a fan of hotel room carpet floors.  Are they really cleaned??? I felt better when she wore these in our room. 
I also had her wear them on the plane.
They are squirmy little ones! Having hard soled shoes dig into your legs while they crawl all over your lap, DOES NOT FEEL GOOD!

Clip bows are easy, and CUTE! Right now has them for less than $2 and tons of color
options! A sweet friend owns this super cute etsy shop where I purchased the "Made In China" and "Worth The Wait" bows

 I brought the smallest colored Colored ouchless hairbands I could find.  Most
girlies hair can be on the wispy side and big bands would have to go around their little ponytails 20x!

I packed some small toiletries for all of us, and we could of packed less. Everything you need is there!!! Hair products, razors (wayyyy cheaper there), bath wash, baby items, diapers, wipes, sippy cups...all of it so easy to find at stores close by. In ZZ the Wal-Mart has it all!
In Beijing, a everything-you-need grocery store is on the same street as our hotel.

On to the fun stuff...

Toys we brought for TJ:
We brought a super cute lion backpack for her things (Skip Hop brand has about 20 animals to choose from, super cute!)

Tip for Toys: we tried to keep it simple.  Their little brains are going through ALOT! Too many books and toys are completely overwhelming.
We brought nothing electronic for her. Did I mention we kept it simple? ;)

I'm pretty sure these  stacking cups were her fav toy that we brought
Best $2.99 I've ever spent!!
She played and played with them.  In the bath, out of the bath and even on the airplane...with nothing in them! Simple people, simple. 
We even used the boiled water to clean one of the cups and used it for a noodles bowl in our room..
We also brought a spoon and fork set and kept them in a ziplock, always had them in my backpack with this bib ( and we just brought two. Super easy to clean and shove in the backpack)
Local restaurants do not have kid friendly utensils. Honestly, I wish I would have brought a set for me! Nate became a pro with chopsticks out of necessity.  I never could get the hang of it. Lost a couple pounds.  Back in the room, I would used the boiling water in the sink with a drop of lemon oil to clean the spoon and fork for the next meal. 
Yep.  I brought my essential oils in this travel case.
We brought 3 books.
This My First Words board book was her FAV! She looked at it over and over.
It was when she was most verbal with us!  And it was a bridge to learning a new language!
It's chunky, but sooooo worth the bulk.  It fit into her backpack, no prob
 The Indestructible Books are GREAT!  They weigh nothing and nothing can be done to them!
We brought two of them and had a couple more waiting for her at home.
I even rolled one up and placed in the zipper pocket of my Ergo carrier for emergency entertainment!
We just brought a couple animal ones, we had send a few in her care package, so we hoped she was familiar with them.  Again, lightweight and easy to throw in a pocket!


This little plastic horn was a toy she had in her hand on Gotcha Day.  She loved it! She could make it work better than I could! It may have been a gift from her nanny. Very sweet of her.

So here she is after being with us for just a couple hours.
Already acting like a goof!
We brought a toddler travel pillow that I found at TJ Maxx.
I had it laying in her bed. 
She picked it up and did this.

It did come in handy on the LONG plane ride home.  We tucked it into the top handle of her backpack as you can see in the pic of her wearing the backpack above.

Here is the Asian baby doll that we brought for her. It's actually quite difficult to find an Asian baby doll.  Go ahead. Try to find one!
This one is PERFECT. It's soft, just the perfect size for little toddler arms, and she smells like vanilla. She picked up her baby and started playing and humming "row, row, row your boat".
I think we both about cried. I still get teary thinking of that moment.
  We began singing it with her.
She looked up at us with a look I will never forget.
It was as if she said "you know this"
In her crib I had her blanket, bunny, doll and taggie blanket. 
It was so sweet seeing her use her taggie blanket with her baby, wrapping her up, laying her down for bed and covering her with it.
She has a very special floppy bunny that waited for her at home. Given to her by an amazing family that has been sponsoring her while she was in care. I was nervous about brining it with us, it's that special!!
So, I found this sweet little thing at the mall near our Beijing hotel.
(cute stuffed animals at a kiosk down from the Pizza Hut)
It was the only toy we brought to Gotcha Day.
Gotcha Day tip: Remember their precious brains? SO MUCH going on. There is no need for many toys and options. One is perfect. We brought a snack in this snack cup and drink too. That's it. 
There are many choices when it comes to baby/toddler carriers.
I brought two.
The Ergo Carrier which I found a teal one (fav color) gently used on Ebay for half the price!!
I also made one like like this one (the pattern if you want to make one yourself)
Or you can purchase one like this.
TJ weighed 21 pounds, to give you an idea of size.  I never had a sore back! This thing is awesome!
And she really loved it! One day we were walking from our room to the pool and she went flying back into the room.  Like she forgot something.
She went and found the Ergo and brought it to me. Seriously she loved it!
It was BLAZING hot, but we carried her because she was secure in my arms.  Sure, an umbrella stroller was used a few times, but this was so much better for her.
This was the one that I made.  It's kinda like an infinity scarf, just a big circle of reversible fabric.
Used it a few times too, super easy.  Downside was she wasn't as secure in it as she was in the Ergo.  And its not hands free.
She came to us on Gotcha with this Nuby sippy cup. 
I think these cups are great! No straw to clean! Easy to clean in the sink with the boiled water and a drop of lemon oil.  I think she likes the soft top.  When we got home we moved her to one of these.
Oops! I got side-tracked. Who me???
back to the toys....
Probably her #2 fav thing to play with!
Kept her entertained for years!
We found Little Kitty ones at the $ store. 
I could throw a sheet in the zip pocket of the Ergo, she loved this!
Came in handy at restaurants waiting for our food, riding in the bus, on the airplane etc. 
We brought a small inflatable pool ball, again found at the $ store.
We did find some at the Walmart in ZZ if you wanted to wait.
They have cheap stickers there too.
But don't expect to find an Asian baby doll there!
Nope.  Blonde haired, blue eyed baby dolls only. So weird!
Also found swim caps there for a couple bucks.
Gotta have swim caps at the Beijing & ZZ hotel.
GZ pool is outside, didn't need the caps there.
Well that's about it!
I hope you find this helpful. 
I'll post a Part 2...
more on what to expect, do and tips while you are enjoying the trip of a lifetime.
Coming soon!
~ Amber