Adoption Packing List

This post is long overdue.  I get emails all the time from mamas who are about to travel to China and adopt and they want to know what to pack.  I always forward them the same old list that was forwarded to me by a girlfriend (whose girlfriend forwarded it to her and so on), so I thought today, I’d just share it with the group.  Nothing like a good packing list to make you feel in control of a situation that is pretty out of control ;). #controlfreaksunite #overpackersunite #imthequeenofbothgroups 
The Shull four at the airport about to head off to China and become the Shull five.
First things first, I can only speak about what I’ve experienced, so if you’ve adopted from another country and have other things to add to this list, please do so in the comment section!  And if you’ve adopted from China and I’ve forgotten to include some things, speak up!  I know there are a lot of anxious families out there about to take off on this amazing adventure and a nice packing list is just what the doctor blogger ordered!
Ashby’s very first flight.  We flew from Xi’an to Guangzhou. 

My friend Jennifer gave me this list and I must say, it helped out so much!  Jennifer along with Whitney both gave me this advice too and it was probably the best packing advice for our trip to China…let them do your laundry over there.
When we travel, we rarely let the hotel do our laundry because it’s so expensive.  When we traveled with babies, we would from time to time because you can’t haul around clothes with spit up, blow outs and such on them for two weeks…but the older my kids got, the more I packed because I didn’t want to spend $35 to get a t-shirt washed.  That being said, both Jen and Whitney said that in their experiences, the laundry services were so inexpensive and yet so amazing that I should pack a lot less and let them do our laundry.  (And between the three of us, we all picked up kids from different parts of China…so they were both speaking from personal experiences at a variety of hotels.)
So, I packed less and prayed they were right about the laundry service.
And they were!  At all three hotels, we used their laundry services, so our week’s worth of clothes were washed, folded and neatly wrapped up for us to be used again (and again)…AND IT WAS FREAKISHLY AFFORDABLE!  I don’t remember the price off the top of my head (and it varied a little with each hotel), but we brought trash bags from home and would fill one with dirty laundry, hand it off to them and the next day, all of our laundry was brought back to our room clean, folded and neatly wrapped up together (they meticulously wrapped the laundry in plastic within groups: socks, undies, pjs, etc).
So, their tip to me was to not over pack but instead use the laundry service.  #amen

Our sweet Ashby at the Beijing Airport about to head home.
I hope this helps many of you out there heading to China!  My friends Mark and Melissa are over there right now picking up Mia Kate!!  They got her yesterday (she’s ADORABLE!) and now they’re finishing up before they fly back with her and their other three kids.  You just have no idea how much my heart is bursting for them right now!  #iloveadoptionstories 
Okay, here is the list I have been passing along.  I pretty much brought all of this except I didn’t bring any food.  We managed just fine without the food or snacks, but many people I know took them.
Packing List
Small toys and items for gotcha day and the hotel

fruit snacks
gerber puffs
suckers-especially great for gotcha
small toys-stacking toys are a big hit
baby doll or stuffed animal
bath toys

sippie cups
plastic utensils
disposable bowls
disposable bibs and utensils for her
diapers/wipes/diaper disposable sacks

allergy med OTC-it’s pretty common for the kids to have allergies once they get outside
cold medicine
Anti-nausea medicine
An EpiPen in case they have a food allergy that no one is aware of.

Ramen noodles
granola bars
mac n cheese
pb crackers
singles coffee-just in case!
hand sanitizer
clorox wipes
TRAVEL TOILET PAPER packs-there is no TP in the public restrooms! 

Arriving home in Dallas and meeting our family and friends for the first time.  Perhaps my favorite picture ever.

I hope this helps some of you that are preparing to travel for an adoption!  I say this all the time, but if I didn’t have the sweet people that went before me to help me out, encourage me, educate me, love on me…I’m not sure I could have done it.  If you don’t have those people in your community, please let me be it for you.  Email me!  I’d be happy to send you an encouraging word and pray for you.  It’s a scary step to take because there are so many unknowns.  I can’t give you the answers, but I can sure say a prayer for you and give you a packing list ;).

Love you guys!

On Meal Planning Monday today…

…yeah…so, that’s yummy!  You can check out all of my yummy recipes for the week here.

Happy Monday!

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  • Love on the Lake January 11, 2016 at 10:49 am

    What a great tip re: the laundry! My friend is thinking on this and is in China this week for work. I'll be sure to let her know

  • Mama Of Boys January 11, 2016 at 10:56 am

    Blimey, what is it about that photo? I was reading and was all like, uhuh, uhuh, that makes sense, no toilet paper, crikey!, and then saw that photo and just burst into happy tears!! Crazy!! You're so sweet to share, it's the littlest things that make the biggest things go so smoothly xx

  • Erika Slaughter January 11, 2016 at 11:05 am

    The laundry service is brilliant!! And oh my goodness!! That Mia Kate is adorable! I was reading Mark's post last night before bed crying!

  • Amber January 11, 2016 at 11:33 am

    I bet knowing there was no toilet paper was useful! Yikes! Ha!

    • Mix and Match Mama January 11, 2016 at 11:47 am

      YES! It was!! Hahaha! 🙂

    • Unknown January 12, 2016 at 3:39 am

      The TP thing is the first thing I tell people! Lol!

      Heidi menges

  • Narci January 11, 2016 at 11:44 am

    SUCH a great list–and what a great tip about the laundry service!! Seeing that sweet picture brings back such a special day!! Love y'all!! Xoxo

  • Jessica Barshinger January 11, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    Your welcome home pic gives me goose bumps! What a great pic!

  • Sheaffer {Pinterest Told Me To} January 11, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    One of my very favorite days was meeting y'all at the airport. It was so sweet to watch your family excitedly wait for y'all to emerge from those doors and lay eyes on Ashhby for the first time. Love y'all!

  • Aubrey January 11, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    So fun to see these pics again! My oh my, what a difference a year makes!

  • Shelli January 11, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    Do your friends Mark and Melissa have a blog we can follow to read about their adoption? My husband and I just adopted our Mia Kate this year domestically, so I was instantly wanting to read more about their story after seeing the name. Adoption truly is amazing and it's so neat being able to see God in every detail along the way.

    • Unknown January 12, 2016 at 12:59 am

      I would love to read along as well. Adoption is something I am really considering so I would love to read through as many experiences as j can! Thanks Shay!

    • Morgan Eckert January 12, 2016 at 1:00 am

      I would love to read as well! Adoption is heavy on my heart so I would love to read through as many experiences as I can! Thanks Shay!

  • Cait January 11, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    aww this is so great 🙂 your family is so lovely and thank you for all you do!

  • Briana Runde January 11, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    What a great list for those thinking of adopting! I love, love, love that last picture of the group welcoming Ashby home!!

  • J Hillgoth January 11, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    Thank you so much this will come in handy when we travel. We just got matched- so excited!!! Any particular suitcase you recommend?

  • Megan January 11, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    That a great list! And super helpful. Yikes who would have known about the toilet paper! Or the laundry service. I remember Whitney being delayed in China, I bet they were extra thankful for the laundry service.

  • Regine Karpel January 11, 2016 at 3:04 pm


  • Lisa Longoria January 11, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    Great list! Adoption is amazing. We finalized our sons adoption last June and we just submitted paperwork to adopt again. Praying God's will for us and anyone considering adoption.

  • michelle January 11, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    That photo is incredibly moving! Just beautiful

  • Cassie {Hi Sugarplum} January 11, 2016 at 5:33 pm

    that is my fave pic on your blog ever, too…it gives me goosebumps and tears in my eyes every time I see it. The joy on everyone's face is so palpable…Ashby will never question the adoration!!!

  • Maci Sparkman January 11, 2016 at 6:43 pm

    Today I started back my second semester of college and we had to sign up for a controversy issue to right a paper over. I saw "adopt a child" as one of the choices and thought of you immediately and all the happieness Ashby has brought y'all's family and how much y'all have brought her. I have some people in my family who were adopted as well and I knew there would be no better topic! I can't wait to write about how special of a gift it is for everyone involved.

  • Allison Ezell January 11, 2016 at 6:47 pm

    Bookmarking this! Our dossier should be in China this month, so we are hoping 2016 is the year we travel. 🙂 Thanks for sharing this! I would've NEVER thought of an Epi-Pen or toilet paper otherwise…yikes!

  • Energizer Amy January 12, 2016 at 12:26 am

    That last pic brought me such happy tears..thank you

  • Jennifer Cannon January 12, 2016 at 4:04 am

    It's time for a another part of Ask Shay! and Ask andrew!


  • Dana January 12, 2016 at 8:00 am

    In China now and just met our son 2 days ago. There are no words for the happiness he has already brought to our family!! Your packing list is perfect and I would add a couple of cheap plastic tablecloths to lay down on the hotel room floor for eating meals. I saw someone recommend it, didn't listen, and now wish I had! 🙂

  • The 2 Seasons January 13, 2016 at 1:13 am

    Thank you thank you. We will be traveling this year to pick up our little girl from Thailand and this helps so much. She is our first daughter so it is overwhelming where to begin for a toddler. Off to pin for the day we get the call!