Share Your Story: Must Pack Items

We compiled a list of the most necessary items for adoption travel, courtesy of AF readers.

A suitcase filled with necessary items for adoption travel
  • Keep copies of all your paperwork in a binder for your trip. When the emotional impact of what you’re doing hits home, it’s great to have all the documents you’ll need in one place, right at your fingertips. —Libby Anne Russler (U.S.)
  • The most essential items were, by far, our video and still cameras — our in-country photos of our children are priceless. —Marcy McKay (Guatemala)
  • Adoption travel journal. This was a must! It occupied our down time and is now a wonderful keepsake for our daughter. —Ken & Kelly Bagnasco (Belarus)
  • I went through so many Ziploc baggies on our trips, I wish I had stock in the company! I pack complete baby outfits in gallon bags — just grab a baggie when you need to change your baby. —Kim Marie Nicols (U.S.)
  • Don’t forget to bring an electrical converter, not just the two-prong plug adapter. And I used my pocket money cheat sheet so much, it was well worn after a week. —Molly Thomas (Russia)
  • Snugli backpacks are comfortable to carry and have lots of storage pockets, eliminating the need for diaper bags. —Cynthia Butcher (China)
  • Prescription antibiotics were a lifesaver when my daughter developed an ear infection just before flying home. —Nancy Allaire (China)
  • Buy a separate seat for your child on the plane. The price of the seat will reward you two-fold in peace and quiet. —Bozena Syska (Russia)
  • Contact information for people in your child’s birth city. When you adopt domestically, you never know how long you’ll have to be there, but our friends of friends of friends did a lot to ease our stay. —Janelle Siders (U.S.)
  • Palmolive dish wipes — just wet and use. They worked wonderfully to clean bottles and dishes in our hotel room, and saved us from toting around a bottle of dish soap. —Sasha Mahoney (China)
  • The willingness to explain your special situation. People will often go out of their way to help you. The airline clerk found us seats together on a crowded plane, and even gave us a discount coupon for a future flight. —Ann (U.S.)
  • When anyone asked where we came from, we gave away postcards of our hometown. The people we met loved them. —Ken & Kelly Bagnasco (Belarus)
  • We asked the orphanage staff to write something about our child on blank note cards. We now have a packet of beautiful notes, hand-written in Russian, with stories about our children, their likes and dislikes, personalities, and so on. —Denise Hoppenhauer (Russia)
  • Our international traveler photo card (find one at came in very handy (Need a bathroom? Just point to the photo of the toilet!), and everyone we met got a real kick out of it. —Pat Luftman (China)

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