Monday, November 5, 2007

Travel info for adoptive parents

After reading Tiffany's comment on my last post, checking out her website, and realizing that she will be united with her sweet Sophia on November 19, I thought I would post some info from our travel experience. This is from a post I made to our yahoo JOH group, so I have deleted any agency-specific information.

Just wanted to share some info about our trip in hopes that it will help out someone who will travel in the future.Todd the Travel Agent - using him helped us because it was busy season and flights were full, not sure that he saved us any money though ($1700+ each). He was able to get us good seats and a bassinet, which we might not have done on our own. Only disappointment was that we suggested the Evergreen Laurel hotel but he put us in CaesarPark. He said it was closer to AIT but that really didn't matter....and I had told him we wanted a hotel with free businesscenter/computer usage...I don't think he really checked into this as the center at Caesar Park was definitely not free!

EVA Airlines - definitely recommend, upgrade to Evergreen Deluxe.If you fly the direct to Taipei and leave at 1:00am, keep in mind that they will serve you dinner very early in the ifthe thought of something like spicy pork and rice for "breakfast"doesn't sound good, pack some snacks in your carry on! Also rememberthat if you leave the US around 1:00am on the direct flight, you endup arriving in taipei at 5:00 in the check with yourhotel to seeif you can have early check in.

Caesar Park - Staff was absolutely fabulous, but our room was so worn & outdated (stains on carpet and furniture, no outlets in bathroom, etc). They really did not have any amenities as I have heard other hotels have, such as extra bottles of water, freecomputer usage, free breakfast buffet, hot water spicket, etc. And the bad thing about paying for the computer was that the internet connection was dreadfully slow! They did give us a newspaper everyday, so I kept the one from the day we got Matthew.

Packing - Pack light! We took one big suitcase, one small suitcase,and 2 small carry-ons bags and had more than enough stuff. If your child is in foster care, you may also have a duffel bag from the agency with all of your baby's foster care items. You don't need to dress up much for the appts to get your baby and with AIT. The agency reps actually wore jeans...and at the AIT you don't sit downface-to-face and have a meeting or interview, so don't feel the needto go overboard in packing clothes. I was glad that I packed a fewtrash bags because our hotel room trash cans were really small. I packed disposable everything (bibs, changing pads, washcloths) which was great because then we didn't have to haul around wet/dirty items. I took 1 package of diapers (35 diapers) and it lasted usthe whole trip. Take a small thermos for hot water for bottles...great when sightseeing, atthe airport, or midnight feedings in the hotel.

Picking up baby - If you get an info sheet about your baby (diet, sleep schedule, etc) be sure to s to look this over and ask questions when you get to the foster home/agency. We looked at it and thought "Wow, this is great info!" but after we got back to the hotel with him, we realized we had questions about the info that was listed ( was the nap mentioned on the paper the ONLY nap he takes every day? Do they still burp him in the middle of his bottle?etc).

In Taiwan we bought 3 cans of formula and one of cereal to use both in Taiwan and at home. Matthew used 7 scoops of formula & 2 1/2 or cereal perbottle, so one can of formula lasted us from the time we picked him u until after we came back home. We also bought a tall formula powder container so that we could fill up the 4 sections with pre-made bottles for the trip home. I suggest buying 2 of these...or,like we did, fill one....and then fill some individual bottles, too,so you don't have to carry-on the big formula and rice cans.

Arriving in the US - To go through immigration, make sure you have all paperwork your agency gives you, as well as a "blue form" that your airline should give you. I think it is actually a white form with a blue line across the top. EVA gave us 3 forms, none of whichwere the correct one. IF YOU GO THROUGH LAX, you will go to line#17...tell someone there that Mendoza said that adoptions are expedited. We waited in a long line (even telling 3 different officers that we were adopting) and when we got to the last guy(Mendoza) he said "Adoptions are supposed to be expedited. Why didn't you come to the front of the line?" Go figure. When you get your baggage, don't forget about the duffel bag from the agency!


Andy & Rebecca said...

Oooh!! I need to copy/paste this one and save it. I think this is great info for someday when we travel!!! Thanks Tish!

Tiffany said...

Thanks Tish this is sooo perfect and exactly what I was looking for!! Thank so much for posting this, it's so helpful. 9 days and counting (thank for the comment on the blog, loved it!!)