You can probably imagine the preparation involved in taking a plane trip with a 10-month-old. Add to that a two-week stay with her in a country you've never visited -- what should you take?
OK, now pretend it's a baby you've never met . . . I think you have a good idea why I started my packing in earnest this weekend.
What kind of bottle is she accustomed to? Will I be able to buy enough formula there to ease her transition, or should I just go ahead and take enough American formula to see us through? What size clothes does she wear? How many outfits do I need to take for her? Should I put this bag of medications for her in my carry-on luggage (as I had planned) and just declare it all and let the screeners paw through it at O'Hare, or is it safe in my unlocked suitcase in the belly of the plane? Does she like dolls? Balls? Books? Music?
Fortunately, our agency has prepared us well, giving us lists of things we need, that we don't need and that we can buy in China, and answering hours worth of questions from nervous parents-to-be. I have read dozens of China adoption trip stories, and I have saved pages worth of suggested travel lists. Some folks not only post their packing list but then go back after the trip and say whether each item was useful (really! And you thought I was a list fiend!) Folks from our July DTC yahoo! group who have just returned are answering questions or offering tips. I have kept up-to-date on the new carry-on restrictions. So my packing list has been in the works for months.
Over those months, as I bought things we'd need for our trip, I have tossed them in a big box in Rachel's closet. Saturday I dumped it all out on the floor of her room and began taking stock.
Some things I just put away because I've decided we don't need them (the little barrettes are cute, but they'll have to wait until we get home -- and she actually has hair). Other things I pulled out of their packages and decided how much I should take and put that in Ziplock bags (you can squeeze the air out of them and pack things flatter, plus you don't have all the extra packaging). I put things in piles and started to see what would fit in suitcases. When we travel in-China, we can each check only one bag weighing 44 pounds or less, so I'll need to pack, weigh, remove items, redistribute, weigh . . . .
I looked at the baby clothes, baby supplies, gifts for Chinese officials, medical kits . . . I think it's going to work! It should fit with room to spare.
Then I remembered that Lance and I are traveling, too. Yikes.