China is an amazing country filled with such wonderful history and beautiful old buildings maintained for generations to enjoy. There were so many things that impressed me about China and I can't wait to take Lauren back there someday for a heritage tour. We feel she needs to experience her birthplace. A couple of the things that impressed me about the Chinese culture is that people seem to take a lot of pride in what they do and that families seem to be very close. Every evening when we would take walks in the park areas, there would be families out playing together...badminton, hacky-sack, etc. It was very heart-warming to see families having so much fun together.
For those of you still waiting, please know that everyone's experience is different based on the child's age, physical condition, personality, etc. There are no two families who have the exact same experience. I can also say that this journey is not for the faint of heart, but for those of us who are determined to bring our child home no matter what it takes. We had the added degree of difficultly with Lauren's age (21 months) and her deep attachment to her caregivers and life at the orphanage. That first week was harder than I had ever imagined. All the books, videos, seminars and stories from other families prepared me to know what to expect, but until you are actually in the situation you don't realize how hard it will be...both physically and mentally. Also, the fact that we are new parents who went from zero to toddler in disress in a blink of an eye didn't help matters.
I'm happy to report that Lauren's transition over the past 2.5 weeks is nothing short of amazing. She is a smart, happy, healthy little girl who seems to pick up on things very quickly and repeats lots of basic words that we say. So far I've heard her say "uh oh", "yeah", "doggie", "baba" and "mama" (although she doesn't direct those at us yet) "good", and "all gone". She eats like a champ and especially likes strawberry yogurt, scrambled eggs, mandarin oranges, watermelon and graham crackers...oh, and of course her rice crackers from China.
We went to the pediatrician for her well-baby visit this morning and the poor baby had to get six vacinnations, a TB skin test and lots of blood work. She was not a happy camper and I was close to tears watching her scream. The doctor said to give her Tylonel and watch her for a fever tonight. It was just too much trauma for one day!
I wanted to give those still waiting some tips on items we brought with us and didn't use and items we used daily. Also some info on how many of certain items we brought...so here it goes...
Items we took and didn't use:
- Small funnel for transfering the powdered formula from the travel dispenser to the bottle...worked fine without the funnel.
- Cherrios...Lauren didn't want anything to do with them.
- Disposable wash clothes...no need since we used hotel washcloth while in the room and diaper wipes when out and about.
- Disposable diaper changing pads...just used the real thing from our diaper bag.
- Toothbrush and toothpaste for Lauren...there was no way we were approaching that trauma on top of everything else.
- Disposable razor for me...time to shave...ha, what was I thinking.
- Jewelry...you can just use what you wear over there...this is no fashion show.
- Travel shopping bag...every shop owner we encountered gave us a bag. Even Carefour (the Walmart equivalent in Guangzhou) had cheap re-usable grocery bags to buy at the registers.
- Travel tiolet paper...the two times that there wasn't toilet paper, I left the darn travel roll outside with Joe in the diaper bag so I never got to use it anyway.
- Stuffed bunny rabbit toy for Lauren...she wouldn't even give it a second look.
- Instant soup, granola bars and beef jerky...there is plenty to eat in Guangzhou
- Since Lauren wasn't sick, we didn't even touch the well stocked bag of over the counter meds or antibiotic we brought for her.
Items we took that I couldn't live without:
- Scented diaper disposable bags for the poopie diapers.
- Plastic baby spoons in a cool travel container (thanks Kim & Scott)...Lauren used them at every meal.
- Gerber baby prunes...got the plumbing working right away.
- Travel formula dispenser.
- Playtex drop-in bottles...they were SOOO convenient and work like a charm.
- Diaper pins for cinching Lauren's waistbands on her pants (Nancy, thanks for the tip)...otherwise several outfits we brought would not have worked for her.
- Tights for her to wear with dresses and pants that rode up...kept the local clothing police away...God for bid a babies legs show in China! ;)
- Long johns if traveling to Beijing in the winter!
- Thermos for keeping hot water for baby bottles...used this daily.
- Stacking cups...Lauren loved them (tip...get the ones with little holes in the bottom so it can "rain" in the bathtub).
- Shoe box sized rubbermaid container for cleaning the bottles, nipples, sippy cups and plastic spoons every day in the room.
- Dish liquid and plastic tongs for doing the dishes.
- Travel packets of Tide detergent for cleaning clothes with stains you can't trust to the laundry. Lauren had sticky lollipop stains all over her coat a couple of times and Tide came to the rescue.
- Laptop computer and headset for making phone calls on Skype...this was my only connection to friends and family and I don't think I would have made it without this stuff. /li>
How many did we take?
- Playtex drop-in liners - 200. We used about 125 including the 40 or 50 we gave to another family who ran out. We used them for formula, water and juice bottles.
- Diapers - 20 Huggies Over-nights. We bought Pampers in China and they worked out fine for day-time use. We used the Huggies over-nights each night and saved about 6 for the flights home. We bought two packages of Pampers in China and brought about 10 home.
- Diaper wipes - 2 refill packs of Pampers Sensitive Skin wipes. By the time we got home we used every one of them, but we used them a lot as multi-purpose wipes when we ate out.
- Spending money - $4,500. We used about $2,500 on souveniers, Chinese outfits and shoes for Lauren, pearls, gifts, meals that weren't included and a couple of minor adoption expenses that popped up along the way.
Oh, and one more thing that I didn't realize before we went...they don't use napkins as we know them in restaurants in China. They have a tiny pop-up box of what we would consider to be tissues at the table...or sometimes they would have a couple of packets of what we would consider travel size Kleenex. When you are dealing with a messy baby, these are no help whatsoever. Plan on using diaper wipes or antibacterial wipes a lot while you are out eating. Only a few times did we encounter restaurants that actually give you a cloth napkin. Even Lucy's with it's westernized menu only gives you one tiny paper triangle shaped napkin per person.
Well, it's time to get dinner started, so that's all for now. If anyone still waiting has any questions about our trip, please don't hesitate to e-mail me. You can find an e-mail link on my Blogger profile.
Here's a few digital scrap pages I wanted to share and below is a little video snippet of Lauren's first meetings with Lucy (our furbaby)...