Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Vain Girls Guide to Ethiopia

I got the amazing privledge of meeting Beth (creator of this lovely
site!) this week in Ethiopia and she told me we needed to write a
“vain girls guide to ethiopia” and she’s right! I have been nervous to
post but after 5+ weeks of being in Ethiopia (waiting for embassy!)
and visiting with and photographing numerous adoptive families - I
thought this was a subject I could tackle.

So the time has come!  You have waited, completed paperwork, home
studies, fingerprints, fundraised, waited some more - and now it’s
finally time to head to Ethiopia to meet your child(ren)!  It’s such
an exciting time and I know there is much on your mind - so let me
share a few little tips for your African travel.

There are a few things that I never leave home without.  Wipes (not
just for the babies!), gum and coffee.  Granted Ethiopia has pretty
amazing coffee, still - VIA packs from Starbucks are high on the list.
I blogged (here) all about my must have travel list.  But I thought
I’d do a special edition for all of your adoptive mommas out there.  I
wish I could say I had it all together when we left for our court trip
but I had 33 hours to prepare, so there were a few things I left at
home I wish I hadn’t.  Now, we all know the plane ride is terribly
long - so you’ll want to be comfortable.  A good neck pillow is a
must, along with good eye cover thingy (you know!) - for sleeping, and
don’t forget your ear phones.  I always pack an extra pair of clothes
in my carry on just in case our bags are lost.  And I carry a zip lock
with mini facewash (or face wipes), toothpaste & toothbrush, deodorant
and a little bit of makeup.  That way when I “go to sleep” I do my
night time routine & same when I wake up.  It makes me feel like a
normal human being.  As far as what to pack for your time in country -
bring things that you know you look good in & are comfortable in (hey!
there will be pictures!).  You don’t have to be all missionary-ish.
Right now in Ethiopia it’s chilly & rains every day - so jeans, close
toe shoes!, and a cardigan and light rain jacket are perfect.  I do
always have to accesorize (noonday anyone?) and attempt to fix my
hair.  Make sure you bring converters for your hair dryer & styling
tool of choice.  I wish I had my tan steve madden boots to wear here if you have some cute tall boots that you want to rock in
Ethiopia & you have room...bring em!  Now, court!  I really don’t
think they could care less what you wear, but most adoptive families
like to wear their Sunday best to court.  I wore leggings & a dress
and my husband wore khaki pants and a polo.  So go in your man’s
closest and pick out your favorite shirt & pack it for him :)

As far as what you should bring for your child(ren) it totally depends
on the age.  My babies are 5 & 6 months old so I brought a few cute
outfits (I changed them into them for family photos!), blankets to
leave with them in their crib (that I had slept with - so they smelt
like me), a book to read with them, and two little lovies.  When my
husband comes back for embassy he’ll bring our baby carriers, outfits
for plane home, bottles, diapers, wipes, diaper bag, little toys, etc
- but this trip we really didn’t bring that much.  Because everything
you give them now will be most likely stay with the transition
home/orphanage - so I didn’t want to bring anything too special that I
knew wasn’t going to be going home with them.  Something else you
might want to bring (that I didn’t get to do!) is pictures to leave
with them.  I’ve seen people do the really cute soft picture albums
(from target baby section) that they leave - or pictures to tape above
their beds.  A friend this week brought a ink stamp & card stock to
stamp their babies hands and feet - so sweet!  For older kids,
bringing little things to do together is good - bubbles, soccer ball,
stickers, any sort of little toy/ball that they can play with (I saw
someone had a cute blow up globe ball they got at Hobby Lobby).  And
like most kids you know, they too know how to swipe your iphone/ipod -
so having pictures of family or video to show them is really fun also.
I have seen a few friends (with toddler and older kids) bring a
special necklace they bought just for them & they presented it to
them.  Such a sweet moment between parents & child. You might also
want to check with your agency about the foster home/orphanages needs
- and if you have room or can pack an extra bag, they would be really
blessed from donations you bring that they specifically need.

A few other things not to forget to pack: snacks to keep in your purse
(for long days at transition home), kleenex, chapstick, hand
sanitizer, sleeping aid, any medication you have, dry shampoo (in case
the water goes out) and your camera.

You are going to be great.  Be confident, excited and at peace.  The
moment you meet your child, you will forget about all the craziness in
packing to go to a foreign country.  You will fall in love!  While you
are in Ethiopia, be sure to go for coffee at Kaldis, shop for
traditional outfits, bring home some Tamoca coffee, have a fun night
out at the traditional resturant,  and fall in love with the people of


  1. Such a cute post! I love Wynne's writing style. Really funny and down to earth : )

  2. Hehe, I totally love this Wynne! I'm not sure if you are reading the comments on here but do you have a flat iron that worked in Africa? Same goes for anyone else that can answer this question. When we were there mine didn't work. And my hair is a frizzy mess without it . . .