My last post here
Remember I am posting on the Cannon Fishbowl so please follow us there. This was my second trip with two different agencies. The first my mom went and there were 2 other families. The second, I was all alone. My first agency was the best. I loved them and I think it was because of the guide in China that was the icing on the cake. The second agency was okay. Since I did all of the paperwork for Maddie's adoption I knew what I was doing so I didn't need any hand holding. The in-country stuff was the biggest beef I have with them. The guide was not that great and so many things happened that it wasn't an enjoyable trip. I know that I was there to complete the adoption and that was my main focus, but I wish I could have seen more and done more. I didn't eat at any local restaurants because I wasn't that brave to go on my own. I'm so glad that Sophie did so well. She was amazing. She adapted so well and we didn't have any problems. I think that really helped alot. So here it is. Here are some tips that I would like to pass along for those of you traveling soon.
1. Your guide is the most important person during this trip. Make sure you have a good one. Ask around and see if other families have had this same guide. I recommend my first agency to everyone who ask me about adopting because 1. they were great, but 2. Nelson was awesome!
2. Be flexible. As you may have read we had a lot of twist and turns along our journey. No hotel van, no hotel reservation, no flight reservation, passport procedure change, no flight reservation to Guangzhou and rushing to get everything done. Again it was a good thing that Sophie did so well because I don't think we could have made it during the trip.
3. I traveled with a check in suitcase, roll on suitcase and a backpack. I did fine lugging it all around with Sophie. I have had my suitcase lost way too many times now and always bring 2 suitcases. On the way over in my check in suitcase I filled it with gifts, Sophies clothes and things I knew I wasn't going to use on the way back. On the way home I filled that big suitcase with all of the stuff I bought and some clothes. I did alot of shopping :). I checked both suitcases on the way home.
4. Traveling with a group is great. You have support and some one to talk to. I had nobody this last trip. I'm glad I got to bond with Sophie and it was great doing what I wanted to when I wanted to, but I really missed having other families to talk to.
5. Skype and laptop. I can not say enough about these two things. If you bring nothing else, bring a laptop. It is your link to home. It is your boredom killer. I was able to listen to radio stations from home and keep up with the news. I was also able to blog. It was free in province both times, but the White Swann charged 100RMB per day. Skype - I just can't say enough about it! I was able to call home, my parents, my mother-in-law and whoever else I wanted to. The computer to land line rates were great. I came home with credit and I talked alot.
6. Gifts - Everyone tells you, but don't stress out about gifts. I brought too many. I brought enough for 5 nannies, 1 director and the notary. I gave the nannies travel size anti bacterial gel, hand lotion, deodorant and a bag of jelly bellies. I gave the director and the notary the gel, lotion, deodorant, jelly bellies and a hat. Nobody opened them in front of me.
7. Pictures - Take lots and lots of pictures (which you can download on your laptop). I wish I had taken more video, but I just couldn't with Sophie. I also didn't get any video or pictures of our gotcha moment. That I hate. I will never forget seeing her for the first time though.
8. Clothes - You don't need alot. I brought 3 pairs of shorts, 1 pair of pants and 5 shirts for me. I washed some in our room. Tide has a these new little packets of powder that you can use to wash your clothes. For Sophie I brought more, but her clothes were small and I could roll them. I brought different things in 24months to 3T. They all fit her. She is small.
9. Sense of humor - You are going to need it. Things happen out of your control and having a sense of humor really helps.
The thing I have learned from these 2 trips is that you always have to be prepared for anything. International adoption is not for the faint hearted. Things happen. Your child may be a lot sicker when you get him/her. They may not bond with you immediately. They may have some delays that you weren't prepared for. Fees and procedures may change at any time without notice. There are so many ups and downs in the adoption world. I am so glad that we have been blessed with these 2 beautiful girls. Giving birth to my son was incredible, but seeing these girls change from the moment we got them is just as incredible.
Thank you for following along on this crazy journey. Remember you can continue to follow us at the Cannon Fishbowl.
May you all have quick referrals, healthy children and remember that not everything is perfect.