Parents need to come prepared when traveling to adopt , whether you are traveling to another country or to another state.
This list will vary based on your child’s age, the length of your adoption trip, and the availability of foods to purchase locally. The easiest way to find out what you need is to network with other parents who have adopted, and preferably, adopted from your child’s country of origin.
Depending on your child’s age and developmental skills, he or she may not be ready for complementary foods. Do not progress your child’s complementary foods while on the adoption trip unless under the supervision of a health care provider.
Here’s a general idea of what to bring with you on your adoption journey:
Infant formula: If you are adopting an infant and have access to the formula your child is on, make sure to get extra for the return trip home. If you need to bring formula with you from home, what’s the closest match you can find to what your child is currently consuming? Click here to learn more about formula.
Toddler formula: If you are adopting a toddler, check to see if he is on a toddler formula (more common here and in developing countries) and if you can find a similar product at home to bring along.
Cereal: If your baby has started solids, bring iron-fortified rice or other single-grain cereals. If your baby tolerates wheat and oats, and has progressed to finger foods, Cheerios® is a convenient take-along favorite.
Commercially prepared infant foods: Jarred baby foods are a great option for travel as they’re portable and sanitary, and could prove helpful for the trip home if you have a baby who’s already on solids.
“Do not haul western foods to the child’s country. The child is going through a huge transition—more than you are. Allow them the sensory comfort of the smell and taste of food they are used to for as long as possible.” -Jill, mom to Sky Li and Jia, adopted from China
Snacks: For older babies, toddlers, and children, a variety of snack foods such as animal crackers, goldfish crackers, and teething biscuits are worth bringing along. These foods tend to offer more in the way of calories versus vitamins and minerals, but they can be helpful when other foods aren’t easily available and your child is hungry. Raisins, dried fruit, and nuts—more nutrient-dense snacks—can present a choking hazard for young children, so make sure your child has the skills to handle these foods before serving. Fruit in a cup, like applesauce or peaches, is another possible snack option that travels well.
Sweets: Age-appropriate sweets can be helpful for difficult times like airplane take-off and landing. Lollipops and chewing gum for children over age 3 or 4 encourage swallowing, which helps little ears adjust to varying cabin pressures. Before giving your child gum, make sure he knows how to chew without swallowing.
Bottles/Cups: Bring a variety of bottles and nipples for infants and/or no-spill cups for toddlers and older children. You may be able to buy them in-country but be prepared just in case. Monitor your child’s water intake so they don’t become too full. Water contains no calories and your child will still need calorie-rich infant formula, milk, juice, or other energy-dense foods.
Pedialyte/Gatorade: Staying hydrated on the trip home is important; keep this on hand for the potentially stressful transition period and/or on the plane ride. Bring Gatorade or other calorie-containing sports drinks for both you and your child (older than 1 year) in the event that you’re faced with bouts of diarrhea and vomiting during the trip.