Pack activities to entertain your child during your travels.

Adoption Packing List

by Carly Seifert

Traveling to pick up your adopted child is an exciting event. Since you may not receive much notice when the time finally comes for you to pick up your child, it is important to set aside the things you will need to bring with you on this life-changing trip and also think through the necessary paperwork and immunizations that require additional time to complete.


The documents you will need to bring with you when you travel to pick up your child will vary greatly depending on the type of adoption you are pursuing and which country you are adopting from if adopting overseas. Check with your agency to obtain the necessary checklist for appropriate documentation. According to the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs, you will need a current U.S. passport to enter and leave a foreign country and may also need to obtain a foreign visa. Many countries will also require you to bring your approval from the country's court and a translation of the approval, if applicable.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that adoptive parents traveling overseas should receive advice on travel safety, food safety, immunization, malaria, diarrhea prevention and other travel-related health issues. You may need to be immunized for yellow fever -- and bring proof of the immunization -- and other diseases that are prevalent to the country where you are traveling. If traveling to an area where there is a high risk of infection for malaria, your physician will likely prescribe a malaria prevention medication that you will take before, during and after your trip. Be sure to also pack an over-the-counter children's fever reducer and check with your child's pediatrician to see if he wishes for you to bring antibiotics for your child in the event of an unforeseen illness while you are in-country.


If you are adopting a newborn, bring plenty of iron-fortified infant formula and bottles. If your child is overseas, you may wish to keep him on the formula he is currently on to prevent any diarrhea while in-country, and switch him to an American formula when he is in your home. Depending on the health and circumstances of your child, his pediatrician may prefer that you bring infant or toddler formula even for an older child. If your baby has started solids, bring iron-fortified cereal and jars or pouches of baby food. Fruit in a cup -- such as applesauce or peaches -- is a healthy, vitamin-rich snack for an older toddler or child. Lollipops and chewing gum for a child over age 4 encourage swallowing and help his ears adjust to the cabin pressure when flying. Pack Pedialyte to rehydrate your little one in the event that he suffers from diarrhea or vomiting during the trip.

Toys and Games

Bring plenty of toys and games to entertain your child during your stay and on the flight home. Simple board books with brightly colored pictures and textured pages are fun for older babies and toddlers to explore. Puzzles are engaging and a simple enough toy to unpack in a hotel room. Coloring books, crayons and stickers entertain children of all ages. For a toddler-aged child or older, consider downloading games or movies on your cell phone for him to watch and play during an especially long flight home.


Adoptive Families encourages parents to pack lightly. If you will be in an area where you can purchase baby clothes or diapers, take very few of these items in your luggage as it will be easier to navigate the airports and relax if your bags don't make connections. Items purchased on your trip may become treasured family heirlooms. Don't forget to bring your camera and a journal so that you can preserve memories from your trip.

About the Author

Carly Seifert has been a piano instructor since 2001. She has also covered adoption and introducing children to the arts for "Montana Parent Magazine." Seifert graduated from University of California, Irvine with a Bachelor of Arts in drama.

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