Here, there and everywhere

Random tips, that aren’t really meaty enough to deserve their own post, but worthwhile nonetheless.

Before travel:
If you are waiting for LOA or TA right now, here’s my best advice. Get your rear in gear. Don’t wait until some designated day in the future, start bustin’ hiney now to get your things in order: paperwork, packing lists, gifts for the nannies and officials, whatever it is, make a list and start crossing things off. Right now you might be lulled into complacency, thinking you’re never gonna get to China. But, believe it or not, eventually you will. And once that LOA or TA is in your hot little hands, your brain is going to turn to mush. I can’t explain it, but just trust me, it happens. So put this time that you are painfully counting off days to good use. You can thank me later.

In China:
One of the only things you can’t get here is good medicine… good meaning not made with parts of a snake. The antibiotics they give out in the WS clinic are painfully outdated (as in, as good as the antibiotics we used in the US years ago) so be sure you bring some from home, if you actually want to get rid of the ear infection plaguing your new child. We had this happen with Shepherd, it took 3 doses of antibiotic to get rid of one ear infection. Yikes. We have brought along a Rx for our new child on each trip, the powdered form along with the correct dose of sterile water. I haven’t had to use our Rx but once, but I was glad we had it each time, just in case. I also bring along a Rx for myself (cipro) in case I get a stomach thing (never have), some hydrocortizone, neosporin, cold medicine, Advil, baby Motrin and Tylenol, cough medicine and a thermometer.

Don’t have your hotel do your laundry. In the province, ask your guide to recommend a place, often they will come to your hotel to pick up and deliver. Once you are in GZ there are many places that do laundry, and quite inexpensively. Shop around, we have been surprised at how broad a range of prices there are currently on the island. Home of Love, by the WS, is crazy cheap right now.
Also consider taking along some clothes that have less cotton and more blends. They take up less space and in a pinch, are easy to wash/dry in your hotel room. We have done this frequently on trips here because it saves $ in laundry costs, enables me to bring fewer clothes and helps facilitate my need to be certain that no one else has to wash out my underpairs.

If you have a room with a computer, and if you have downloaded anything onto your desktop (ie: pictures or updates for a update) either save them in an email, or be prepared to reload/rewrite them. OR, get an extra room key and leave it in the power slot on the wall. Everytime the computers in the hotel are turned off (by taking the room key out), the desktop is cleared and all saved items are deleted. Obviously, this does not hold true for your own personal computer.

Bring a travel candle. Scented. Or room spray. Just because you love someone doesn’t mean you love what comes out of them, and with the lack of square footage in a hotel room… well, need I say more? Another thing I don’t travel without is a sound machine. We are addicted to use one at home and it really helps me to sleep when I am away. It also helps drown out the sound of my husband snoring if I have not yet joined him in blissful slumber. And I’ve heard it helps kids to sleep as well.

Also, bring along a lighted travel alarm clock. Yes, there are clocks in the room, but most aren’t lighted. And I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand waking up in the middle of the night and not knowing what time it is. And turning on the light at 3AM to see the time just might bother some other people in the room.

If you sent disposable cameras to and received them back from your child’s orphanage, you can have them developed on the island, at the photo shop, next to the 7-11 that is across from Lucy’s. It’s not very expensive and you have the option of getting the pictures on a disc as well. We did this and then put those pictures in a photo album I had bought here, with the silk cover, especially for those pictures. My kids love their ‘China’ albums and it’s a safe way to transport them back home.

Most of all:
Enjoy your time in China. This is your child’s birthplace and your memories of it will greatly influence how you tell (and retell) your child the ‘story’ of how you became a family. Try your best to see the beauty of China and it’s people, even if the food tastes weird, the sqatty potty stinks and people are constantly invading your personal space. This might well be your only time here (yeah, right), so don’t miss a chance to see it for all it’s stunningly beautiful scenery and wonderfully rich culture. If you don’t know enough about China to admire and respect something about it, read up! You’ll want to be able to tell your child why they can be proud if their heritage some day.

We leave in the morning… so I am signing off from China. Please pray for our safe travel home!


  1. Nicole A. says:

    We are praying for you all to have a safe, easy trip home!

    Thanks for your advice … it really is priceless, coming from a veteran! I hope you don’t mind me emaiilng you when we are close to travel (way in the future!), because it sounds like you’ve got volumes of great info! People always recommend taking meds for the kids to China, and I would have thought that you would not be allowed to administer them without some kind of special consent from someone over there. Good to know otherwise!

    Anyway, thanks and have a safe trip home … I bet you have a houseful of people who can’t wait to see you!

    All the best,
    Nicole A. in OH

  2. Tracey T. says:

    Thanks so much for all the great information!!! We are leaving the first of Feb to bring home our 2yr old son & feeling a little lost & overwhelmed about what to bring & do.

    I am a follower of your blog & a current myadoptionwebsite family.

    Have a safe trip home!

    Tracey in TN

  3. Patricia/NYC says:

    Praying for your safe & uneventful trip back home!!

    And by the way…it was YOUR original packing list back in '05 that I used & laminated!!!! lol!

  4. Will use Everything you have said!




  5. Your trip photos are all so beautiful! Safe travels and blessings, Wendy

  6. I hope the trip back is nice and boring…completely uneventful!

  7. Jen & Rob says:

    Can’t remember if you wrote about this before, but how is the airport screening for cameras? For example, we bought a fantastic Canon earlier last year…did you bring yours and it was safe to go through? Just don’t want anything on the camera’s insides to get ruined. Had read some stuff about it, but wanted your thoughts.
    Safe travels.
    Jenny G. in GA

  8. “Before Travel” part SO valuable as I was just on the phone to my sis last night as she was worn out from packing and taking care of all the details. But today she is on a plane to China! Woo hoo!!

  9. You really are always thinking of others…..

    Hoping you have a safe and borning trip home!

  10. I have just loved your tips, Stefanie. I was going to suggest your last one, but of course, I knew you’d get to it. That is my biggest regret… not completely soaking up everything around me – especially during our time in Russia.

    I am saying a prayer for safe travels for you, your sister and your gorgeous little nephew.

  11. Love the pictures!!! Have a safe trip home!!
    I’m getting a sound machine…I have a husband that snores…beats kicking him all night : )

  12. Cupcakes and Hairbows says:

    Hey Stephanie — Enjoyed getting to know you, Andrea and Cole in Guangzhou! Look forward to following your blog! Lucy and family!

  13. We so enjoyed your travels and tips. What a wonderful sister! We have our two blessings from China and are learning more from you and other sites regarding the SNP.

    I so agree with your most important tip- enjoy the experience. There is none like it!

  14. Oh my goodness, this is SUCH GOOD information!! Thank you, I’ve got to get my hiney in gear :)
    ……and what ever will I do without our noise maker?!

  15. Great tips. Thanks for sharing. Your pics are amazing. Love your perspective. Praying your trip home and transition back are smooth. What a handsome nephew you have! :-) Blessings & JOY to both of your families.

  16. Amie@HeartSmiles says:

    So glad you are home girl!! Missed you tons. Lets chat ASAP when the jet lag wears off… much to catch up on.

    Love you tons!


  17. I am soaking up your advice. Thank you so much! I plan to put it to good use when we travel to get our girl – hopefully soon!

    LID 2-20-06 for Emma


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