Help outfit Michael, Sarah, and John

Saturday, September 13, 2008

So now what?

So we know we're going to need to be in Ukraine on Oct 15th! This is great news - but now we are facing how to prepare for this trip. I need all the advice I can get! What should we bring with us? I've heard several people recommend ziploc bags...but I'm not sure why? Also, how many sets of clothes should I bring for myself? I've heard that in some places there aren't any I can imagine it'd be better to pack things that dry quickly and are perhaps wrinkle-free? Should I only bring walking shoes? I want to go to church while I'm there - so that would mean church appropriate shoes. Hmmm. I've heard that packing VERY light is best. This is our first adoption. I've been overseas before to Taiwan - but something tells me that Ukraine isn't at all like Taiwan. Or maybe I'm wrong? Share your wisdom! I'm ready to receive it!


Kathy C. said...

Haven't been there so no advice. But I hope you have a great trip!

I know for Haiti we took lots of diapers and plastic pants to go over them!

Melisa said...

I'm the worst packer ever, so do the opposite of whatever I say. ;)

Diana said...

Oh more thing. Leave your wedding ring home, too. Get a cheapy simple plain gold or silver band from someplace like walmart if you want to still wear a ring. But leave your diamond home. If your hubs has any stones in his ring, even tiny diamonds, leave it home, too. Even a small, modest wedding ring by American standards is worth more than most people there make in a couple of years. Wearing it there is just an open invitation for problems you don't need.

schoolmother said...

We had a small washing machine in our apt and a drying rack. Alson in the bathroom there was a heated towel rack that helped dry clothes too. On sunny days things dried quickly in the sunny enclosed balcony. On cooler days the jeans and cotton turtlenecks took longer. I definitely took things that didn't require much ironing. I took walking shoes and church shoes. Joy,RR

Arizona mom to eight said...

I will disagree about the diapers, they were very expensive in Ukraine, we brought a jumbo pack from Target with us and stuffed them everywhere, including my husbands laptop backpack. I had two jumbo packs of Huggies wipes with me. They ran out after 4 weeks, when we bought the Pampers and the wipes in Ukraine, they were all thinner. I had to use twice as many to clean Kara.

Bring lots of black clothes, you will fit in well, because most women wear black, especially in the regions away from Kiev. I brought some bright tops to wear under black sweaters so I would not feel depressed by my clothing. The sun shone 3 days while we were there, and I am from a part of AZ where we rarely get rain, it was hard to adjust.

I dried everything over the radiators, they worked great, I hope you get a washing machine, all we had was a tub and the bathtub, it took time to wash our things. I mistakenly brought polar fleece pajamas because I thought the room may be cold, I roasted in them, bring flannel pajamas, silk long underwear would be good too, to keep you warmer.

You will need sturdy walking shoes, cross trainers do not work, they are not waterproof, I bought some boots there, fur-lined boots that were invaluable for walking through snow and slush. You will undoubtedly get snow before you leave if you are in a colder region. You can get boots pretty enough for church.

Bring a good book or two, and plenty of movies to watch, bring a laptop watch movies, play games, or to write a journal, so if you do not have internet, you have a record of your adoption journey.

You can buy a hair dryer for less than $20 USD in Ukraine, ours died the first day we used it, and it was made for international travel, the dryer we bought in Ukraine we also used in Estonia, it worked great.

You can buy a snow suit or what ever you need for your children in Ukraine, your facilitator can help you. I have a size 3T here, if you think you may need it. Also some snow boots, size 6-7 T

Shelley said...

Since I know exactly where you are going, here's a few things I'd suggest:
Take a clothes line and clothes pins. You more than likely won't have a washer. You can hang the line in the bathroom.
Take freebreeze. That way you don't have to wash clothes as much.
Take ziplock bags. Freezer size. For all the reasons mentioned above and some you might not think of until you're there.
NOtebook and pens are a must. Don't forget that.
If you don't have an adapter that will work in Ukraine, buy at least 2, maybe 3 while in Kiev. Either that or take a power supply chord so you have multiple plug ins.
Take lots of books and movies. There are no english channels on TV where you are going(unless something has changed in a year).
Take snack foods like granola bars, breakfast foods that you can microwave(like oatmeal of whatever. We also took carnation instant breakfast) and even tea bags or coffee packs if that's what you drink. Cokes and water gets old and expensive(or take packets to put in your water for flavor). We even took cans of chicken. Then, I bought mayo there and made a basic chicken salad for sandwiches. The food there is GREAT, but you're going to want some things from home. Also, there's a 99.9% chance you are not going to be able to cook because of where you'll be staying(I don't knw your facilitator but I know where most families stay).
Take a couple of towels for each of you and wash cloths too. Their towels are very thin and very small. And again, when you're washing, you're going to want extras.
Clothes: take things that are interchangable. Like a pair of brown pants and 3 shirts that'll go with that one pair of pants. I'd reccommend 2 or 3 pairs of pants and then like 5 or 6 shirts. Do pick things that will dry eaisly and quickly. Take a jacket and an umbrella. Do take comfortable walking shoes. I wore my comfy shoes and had one nice pair for the SDA appointment and court. You could also wear those to church.
Take some small toys, books or whatever to have something to do with the children while you're visiting.
We took hand sanitizer and baby wipes.
Clothes, diapers, etc can be bought there. Or, you can bring them from home.
Those are the main things I can think of right now.

Winnie said...

Since I too know where your going and where you most likely will be staying here are my suggestions. E-mail me for more specific info!!
karnesfamily @

Clothesline & clothes pins
a few clothes hangers
I wouldn't take too many clothes maybe three sets, one nicer slacks for court/SDA. Remember polyester is your friend, dries fast and no wrinkles.
flat stopper
cheap calculator is good wish I'd had one - Remember "Skolka" means how much.

There is a decent size "super market" a block or so from the orphanage and the outdoor flea market is right beside it and you'll find most anything there.

Please e-mail me for more info as I don't want this too long.

Winnie said...

Oh yeah I can also fill you in on where all the english menu cafes are in town ( or at least easy walking distance)

check my blog for pics too


DoveFamily said...

I agree that you should check out frua - lots of great suggestions there. And pack as light as possible, because it's gets really old having to carry big bags up stairs, to different apartments, etc.

We took quart size & gallon size zip locks (a large box of each). So glad I had them. We used them lots in the kitchen. I would also cut up apples each morning and place the slices in a small ziplock, then place that & a travel-size peanut butter in a gallon bag. The peanut butter (not available in Ukraine for the most part) was a HUGE hit for dipping apples, & packed with calories too! The large zip lock would serve as the trash bag at each visit, so we didn't leave anything sitting around the play room. With a little guy, the big bags will also be good for your last few days in case there is a "diaper mishap" while you're out & about :)

I was so happy to have packed cheap flip-flops for each of us, to wear around the apartment. The floors were cold and very old.
Take minimal clothes, and make sure they're items that you can mix & match (and items that dry fast!). Dark/neutral colors are best because they don't show dirt as much and you'll probably be less noticeable as an American. We also sprayed all of our shoes (all comfortable walkers) with waterproofing spray.

Take a couple of small notepads (you'll constantly be writing things down, including measurements, info at the SDA appt, info at the initial meeting with the director, phone numbers, notes from your facilitator, etc.). It was also nice to have a notepad that we'd let our son just scribble on, and we'd trace his hand (that became a favorite, he'd try to do the same for us). I made sure to keep the first tracing of his hand on the day we met him, done with a beautiful blue crayon!

We packed 2 queen size flat sheets. You never know what kind of beds you'll have, and it felt nice to have a soft sheet to lay on & cover up with.

We took several seasons of TV shows on DVD. We borrowed some from our friends, shows we'd never seen before so it held our attention & passed the down time.

Chapstick, hand sanitizer & wipes - we used hand sanitizer several times throughout each visit, and the wipes were very important after sticky snacks like bananas, and after that he liked to put on daddy's chapstick - all of this became part of our daily routine!

Favorite toys we took - a couple of matchbox cars & matchbox airplace, crayons & coloring book, travel size play-do set, small squishy football, and a travel size magna-doodle. We had a special stuffed animal & a blanky for him but we saved them until Gotcha Day, so there was no chance of them getting left behind at the orphanage. For younger children, I would also suggest stacking cups.

And about packing - pack your SDA clothes in your carry-on. That way if your checked bags don't make it at first, you won't have to wear dirty/bummy clothes to your appointment! And don't pack all of your clothes in one suitcase & all of hubby's in the other - mix them up. Then if one bag makes it & the other takes a few days, you still both have some items :) Good luck!

Ticklemedana said...

I'm so excited for you! I have no suggestions other than if you can get a hold of the tv show American Dreams, season 1, do it! it's my favorite show and it's set in the the music and the content is really great~

KT said...

packing is a big deal. Read as much as you can and obey everything people tell you. we went to China and I am so grateful to have really listened, we were well prepared. Here's one thing I didn't think of. At least a change of shirt for myself for the airplane. My baby got sick before we got on the plane, she had extra clothes, but not me, mine were already carted away:) Puke for 13 hours, lovely:O
Hope you have safe travels. See if there is a yahoo group to join for your country, that should help you out.