The greatest challenge to overcome with international adoption travel is boredom. There are long flights, long waits, and time spent in hotel rooms without the usual family diversions. Here's what a few experienced families brought along to keep their older child happy.
Kelsey Paolini brought crayons, coloring books, some small toys, a stuffed animal for herself and a doll to present to her sister. “We should have brought a disposable camera for Kelsey to take her own pictures. Of course, given Marissa’s desire for ‘fairness,‘ we would have had to have two!” says their father Dan.
Sita Wong brought along her special stuffed bear named “Little Bear” (sent with her parents by her cousin when she was adopted at the Shanghai Children’s Welfare Institute). She also brought a stuffed “Pooh Bear” she had picked out especially for her new baby sister. In addition to her cuddly bear, we packed a small etch-a-sketch, small plastic toys, several small books, and drawing materials. The airline gave her a backpack filled with kid stuff. The backpack was a major hit with Sita, who wore it everywhere. “She packed it for each day’s outing, so she had access to what she wanted. I think it gave her a sense of control,” says mother Hertha. “I brought snacks and beverages as well.”
Ezra Spino brought along his Clifford stuffed dog, and mom packed lots of snacks and a color book and crayons to entertain him on the long flight. “We should have brought more toys along. However, we did not know how long we would have to stay and already had lots of luggage. We brought along some books, Lego boxes, and Clifford. That was it for 3 weeks. Fortunately, the weather was gorgeous and we were out every single day. If it had rained, the lack of toys would have been a big problem,” says his mother Paulette Kruzer.
“The best thing we brought with was his Gameboy. I’m totally serious!” laughs Kim Breuer. “Stephen brought several game cartridges, and this (in addition to his schoolwork) is what kept him occupied on the long trans-Pacific plane ride. It also kept him busy in the hotel room. Even I enjoyed it!”
Mary Ebejer Petertyl is a professional writer and editor, and the mother of three children, two “home-made” and one “made in China.” She is also the author of a children’s book, "Seeds of Love: For Brothers and Sisters of International Adoption," which she wrote to prepare her daughter for their extended separation during international adoption travel.
© Mary E. Petertyl