by Mina Bacigalupi
Packing , airline reservations, Chinese visas, the final days of the long wait to adopt can be busy and hectic. Here is a checklist to help make sure that you remember it all before you settle down for that 13 hour flight.
- Get a passport if you don’t have one. If your passport will expire within the next year get it updated.
- Visit an International Travel Clinic. Update any vaccinations and get any prescription medications you might need.
- Get in shape. If you are not used to physical exercise, start a walking routine. Walking is the way to go in China. You will be much happier if you can climb four flights of stairs carrying an extra 15 pound baby, diaper bag, and a liter of drinking water without getting winded
- Don’t forget to visit your dentist. Having a dental problem in China would be a memorable experience, but not necessarily a fun one.
- Start a packing list. There are lots of packing lists that you will get from your agency and from different websites. Pick one and then start to adapt it to your own needs. Jot down any ideas as you hear them.
- Visit several Pediatricians and choose the one that will be right for you.
- Practice, practice, practice using that new camera or video recorder. Don’t forget trying to get shots out of the window of a moving vehicle.
- Make your travel arrangements and obtain your Chinese Entrance Visa with the guidelines provided by your agency.
- Find a good friend that has access to a fax and e-mail. Give them copies of all of your adoption documents, your passports, travel itinerary and emergency contact information. This person would be someone you could contact if you lose or are missing a document and need them to fax it to you.
- Make pet care arrangements for when you are away. Be sure to purchase enough food to last until your return.
- Schedule your first appointment with the Pediatrician for the first few days after you plan to arrive home. If your baby is sick you can breeze right in. If you have no concerns and want to wait a few days to get over jet lag, you can cancel that appointment and reschedule.
- Make plans for a neighbor to water plants and keep an eye on your house while you are away. Or arrange for a house sitter to stay at your home while you travel.
- Obtain an absentee ballot if there will be an election while you are away. Do your income taxes if the deadline will fall during your travel time or shortly afterwards.
- Break in new shoes to avoid blisters overseas.
- Learn how to access your e-mail from remote locations so you can keep in touch while you are gone and send home messages about those special first moments.
- Practice carrying a twenty pound bag of flour in your baby carrier to know how to fit it best to your body and to get used to packing the extra weight.
- Arrange for a friend or family member to “live-in” with you for a few days after your return. You will appreciate extra help with housework, meals and answering the phone until the jet lag is over and you are all into a routine. Give this person a shopping list of perishables (milk and bread) to get on the day of your return, so you won’t have to run to the grocery on the way home from the airport. (Include fresh produce and cheese, two items that everyone misses when they travel to China.)
- Fill your freezer with easy-to-microwave meals for the first few days when you are home.
- Practice packing to make sure you can fit in everything on your packing list without exceeding the weight limits.
- Order extra prescription medications so you won’t run out while overseas.
- Notify your credit card company that you are planning on traveling overseas. Ask about any extra charges they may have for conversion of foreign currency. Find out if you can make a cash withdrawl or use ATM’s in China in the event of an emergency.
- Prepare a list of addresses of people that you want to send postcards to. Don’t forget phone numbers and e-mail addresses.
- Make arrangements for travel back and forth to the airport. Remember you’ll need the carseat when you return.
THE LAST FEW DAYS
- Pack your bags. Don’t leave it until the last night, when you will have lots of other last minute things to do.
- Mow the lawn if necessary.
- Confirm airline reservations.
- Pick up cash and traveler’s checks at the bank.
- Wash clothes that you are not taking so you’ll have clean ones when you get home.
- Stop all deliveries of mail, newspaper, etc. or arrange for a neighbor to pick them up.
- Pay the mortgage and other bills. You might want to arrange for a friend to pick up and deposit any paychecks and mail off any bills.
- Plan to have a good night’s sleep on the last night.
- Don’t forget to plan for a farewell dinner with friends and family or a romantic, “last dinner without a baby” night on the town.
THE FINAL DAY
- Lock all windows and doors. Close the blinds and curtains.
- Put lights and a radio on timers.
- Turn on your telephone answering machine.
- Wash dishes and remove all perishable items from your refrigerator. Empty waste baskets, take the garbage out and run the garbage disposal.
- Unplug any appliances sensitive to power surges such as stereos and computers.
- Turn your thermostat down or off depending on the season.
- Turn off and unplug the coffee pot.
Lock the door behind you and relax. You are about to make a journey of a lifetime.
Copyright 2005 Adoption Mosaic. This article may be reprinted or copied only with expressed, written permission of the authorization