Monday, September 25, 2006

Chinese adoption is not for sissies

Julie Thomas, one of the moms in our group, had it right when she said: "Chinese adoption is not for sissies." Traveling with a one year old is never easy, add to that traveling in a completely foreign place, where you cannot speak or understand the language, with a baby you do not know very well, who has been removed from her home and routine, then add a series of government "requirements" which seem to have no order, and it makes for some stressful times!

Jerry mentioned the official medical exam in an earlier post. This exam is one of the requirements before Zoe gets her Chinese Visa. There were 3 separate parts to the exam. The first was with a doctor who checked her out all over, felt her spine, moved her legs, etc. He also looked at her rash and said "Scabies." Next was the ENT, where they checked her hearing by squeaking loud toys on either side of her head, and looked in her ears, nose and mouth. Last was weight, length and temperature. Zoe was 20.4 lbs., 77 cm, and her temp was normal. Judging by how much she eats, I don't think she's lost weight since we got her, so I think my original attempt to get her on the scale was not quite right.

We have not experienced such chaos since the day we got her. It was a walk-in clinic, and I guess the different adoption groups do not coordinate, because there were tons of adoptive parents and babies there. The doctors and nurses were extremely nice--I cannot imagine doing their job!! Despite that, every single baby screamed during each phase of the check up.

Zoe's rash does seem better, so maybe the doctors were right about the scabies, and the Elemite did the trick.

When I was preparing for our trip here, I found others' blogs very helpful. So for anyone out there who is getting ready to travel, here are some tips:

Things we did not need and/or did not bring:
  • Shampoo, soap, body wash-- had in every hotel
  • Exercise clothes -- no time, plus we did a lot of walking
  • blow dryers -- had in every hotel
  • thermos--Zoe likes her bottle room temp
  • umbrella -- hasn't rained yet, and they sell them everywhere if it had
  • robes & slippers -- had in every hotel
  • stroller -- had in every hotel
  • hot pots for boiling water -- had in every hotel
  • batteries -- they are cheap here
  • a purse -- I used my money pouch and a backpack the whole time
  • DVD players for the kids -- I liked 2.5 weeks without TV & they found plenty to do!
Things we're glad we brought:
  • Rice cereal
  • 10-15 diapers and small pack of wipes (the babies who are 23 mos old in our group are potty trained, and the moms wish they had pull ups)
  • 1 bottle
  • 1 sippy cup
  • teething biscuits (all of the above can be purchased here, but we did not get to the store until 2 days after we got Zoe, so I was glad to have a few supplies)
  • long sleeves and long pants for Zoe - even though it's hot, they are used to being dressed warmly and the AC is cool
  • ziplock bags in all sizes
  • snacks for us
  • bibsters
  • cheerios for Zoe
  • baby cold medicine
  • bandaids
  • Charmin To Go - toilet paper in convenient carrying case
  • Elemite
  • computer
  • camera and video camera
  • converter and adaptor
  • Enfamil sleeves of milk based formula -- very handy!
  • little scissors
  • baby links -- good for chewing on and attaching toys to stroller
  • money pouches -- we got the kind that hung around our necks for money & passports
  • baby carrier/snugli
  • good walking shoes
  • pepto bismol
  • casual clothes
  • 10 envelopes for money -- needed for Chinese officials
  • books & a book light -- for those nights (before baby) when I couldn't sleep
  • 3 ring binder (complements of Pam Eidson!) which held all our docs
  • Clothes for me: 2 shorts and 2 capris and about 7 shirts. (We've done laundry twice)
  • a little cylindrical plastic bag holder/dispenser thing (thanks Janet!) very compact & very handy for disposing of dirty diapers!
  • 1 little blanket for Zoe
  • 1 hooded towel for Zoe
  • Doug & Katie -- I would have missed them too much if they'd stayed behind!
  • The grandparents -- they have been a great help with the older kids!
Things we wished we'd brought:
  • Brand new crisp clean money -- ordered from the bank (we were told this, got newish money from our bank, and thought we were OK, but wish it had been newer and cleaner, because some was rejected).
Tip for Traveling:

Travel as light as possible! I am greatly reducing our carry on baggage for the trip home. It is too difficult to have a lot of bags and a baby!


At 8:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 8:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

post more pictures!

At 10:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eight years ago I made a similar trip to China to bring home my beautiful daughter Molly. She was 17 months old and I can't tell you how much I wished I had brought more than one pack up pull-ups! I have so enjoyed your fantastic blog. It has brought back so many wonderful memories for me. Your writing has been so detailed and just a joy to read. I smiled when I saw the title of today's blog because I remember telling my older sister that adopting Molly and the trip to China was one of the hardest things I ever did. It has turned out to be the VERY best thing I ever did with my life. Thank you for sharing this great, grand adventure with all of us. I wish you the same endless stream of laughter and joy with your family that we have been given in our family. Congratulations!

At 7:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

tell a certain gator fan couyple that lives in tallahassee they need to adopt a third child from china (or a boy from russia)

At 7:30 AM, Anonymous Sandy Harris said...

I wonder what the heck it is about the less than brand new money?????? How wonderful you all look - TOGETHER!!! And, lastly, to Grandpa Joe - how very lucky these two little girls are to have that whiskered-faced, round-bellied Grandpa to love them!

At 4:47 PM, Anonymous Glenn said...

I wonder if ironing the money with spray starch would have helped. I'm guessing not, but maybe they do that because they don't have access to the magic counterfeit-detection pens, like the grocery stores have. Maybe those would be a good thing to bring.


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