What to Pack for Overseas Adoption Travel

What should you bring when you go abroad to bring home your newest family member? Everything but the kitchen sink!

Pack Lightly

If there's one piece of advice any seasoned traveler will give you, it's this: Pack lightly. And if you're planning to travel abroad to adopt a baby, you'll want to heed this advice even more. For one thing, your adoption journey may take you through crowded airports in a developing country, where luggage carts aren't always easy to find. (In other words, you may end up carrying or rolling all of your luggage.) And once you adopt your baby, you'll be transporting your little one -- and all of his belongings as well.

Before you travel to adopt, talk to other adoptive parents who've recently been to the city or region you're going to. Ask them what you should buy in advance and what you can purchase there. (For instance, are diapers and formula easily accessible in the host country, or will you need to pack a full trip's supply in your bag?) Also, ask what the weather will be like, what types of clothing are appropriate, and what sorts of goods and services you can expect to find. You can also consult this packing list, which contains a number of essential items for a baby and parents on the go.

    For Your Baby

    ____ Lightweight front pack or baby carrier

    ____ Baby bottles and nipples

    ____ Powdered formula

    ____ 2 plastic bibs

    ____ Burp cloths (you can use cloth diapers or small towels)

    ____ Disposable diapers and baby wipes

    ____ Diaper bag and portable changing pad

    ____ Resealable plastic bags (to hold wipes when traveling)

    ____ Small plastic garbage bags (for dirty diapers or dirty clothes)

    ____ 8 to 10 seasonal outfits that can be washed easily

    ____ Snowsuit or winter jacket and mittens (if traveling in cold weather)

    ____ 2 to 4 pairs of pajamas

    ____ 1 or 2 sun hats or winter hats

    ____ 6 pairs of socks or baby booties

    ____ 2 to 3 baby blankets

    ____ 1 bottle baby shampoo

    ____ 1 bottle baby lotion

    ____ 1 small container cornstarch baby powder

    ____ 1 tube diaper rash cream

    ____ Baby hairbrush

    ____ Baby nail clipper/file

    ____ Liquid baby acetaminophen

    ____ Liquid baby decongestant

    ____ Rehydration liquid (for bad cases of diarrhea)

    ____ Dosage spoon or dropper (for giving medicine)

    ____ 1% hydrocortisone cream (for itching and rashes)

    ____ Antigas drops (helpful if you're changing your baby's diet)

    ____ General antibiotic (if your doctor will prescribe one)

    ____ Ear and/or rectal baby thermometer

    ____ Rattle

    ____ Teething ring

    ____ Small stuffed animal, stacking cups, or other small toy


      ____ Baby rice cereal (for babies over 6 months of age)

      ____ Cheerios, packed in resealable bags (for older babies)

      ____ Pacifiers

      ____ Small plastic bowl and baby spoon

        For Mom and Dad

        ____ 4 or 5 mix-and-match outfits that can be laundered easily

        ____ Comfortable walking shoes

        ____ Long underwear (in winter)

        ____ Sun hats and insect repellent (in summer)

        ____ Personal hygiene products (shampoo, shaving cream, mouthwash, deodorant, moisturizer, waterless hand-wash, etc.)

        ____ Over-the-counter remedies for upset stomachs/diarrhea, colds, headaches, sinus problems, sore throats, etc.

        ____ Over-the-counter sleep aid (in case of jet lag)

        ____ General antibiotic (if your doctor will prescribe one)

        ____ Supply of snacks (for comfort food)

        ____ Resealable plastic bags (for medication, snacks, film, etc.)

        ____ Camera and lots of film

        ____ Camcorder and extra battery

        ____ Travel journal/diary

        ____ Money belt

        ____ Language guide/phrase book

        ____ Prepaid calling card

        ____ Pocket calculator (to convert prices into dollars)

        ____ Passport, travel documents, and adoption-related papers

          Sources: Gladney Center for Adoption, The Complete Adoption Book by Laura Beauvais-Godwin and Raymond Godwin, Esq.

          All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.