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Therese Bartlett's Vietnam Packing Tips

Vietnam adoption packing tips.

We took our two and a half year old daughter (Moya, adopted 12/98) with us in December, 2000 when we adopted our son, Nathan, from Binh Thuan Province.

1.  We took our digital video camera with us. Uses very small tapes. We taped from VHS cassettes to the small digital tapes several of Moya's favorite videos and played them on the plane, in the hotel, and whenever she needed a "fix" of home or just some quiet time. This was our number one lifesaver. Be sure to save some new videos for a little surprise.

2.  We brought lots of snacks for her, although her favorite ended up being a fishy cracker that was available for very cheap at Tax market in HCMC. The adults liked 'em, too. They were like Chicken in a Biscuit in fishy shape. The bananas and fruit available there were hits also, as was the freshly squeezed orange juice from our hotel kitchen.

3.  We brought juice boxes for the plane ride there and saved some for the ride back. Also a good idea. Milk not easily available (nor can you trust that it's all pasteurized if you DO find it) so vitamins are a good idea, too.

4.  We had lots of toys to keep her occupied on the plane:  drawing things of all kinds, a doll for the plane and one more hidden in our checked luggage, simple card games, books and a few of her smaller favorites. But we also brought some things she didn't see before we left. Every day or so, when she would get "out of sorts" from the attention paid to her new little brother, or from boredom or just the change of schedule, something NEW really brought a change of spirit. Now, it was Christmastime and gift-giving wasn't unusual, so thankfully she didn't return home and expect new things everyday. She definitely knew this was a special time.

5.  We brought some gifts that were to ge given to Nathan from her, and some from Nathan to her. Helped in the bonding between siblings, although she just loved everything about him and being there with us was the best thing for her and us. It just was right for us. I know it's not right for everybody.

6.  Bring a shovel and pail. We (and subsequent families, we've learned) had a hard time finding one there and we were near the ocean beaches for a good portion of our trip.

7. Clothing for kids is no different from here in the US. Moya wore shorts or sleeveless dresses the whole time, except in Hue where it rained and was almost cold by comparison to Hanoi and HCMC.

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