The Abraham Family’s Journey to Russia to Bring Home Their Daughter

September 3, 2008

My Packing List - glad we had vs. we didn't need

I am so happy to see several families getting referrals and travel dates. Hopefully, that means the summer slowdown in Russia is over and lots of families will be gearing up for travel this fall! When we were preparing for our Trip One, I posted about needing packing lists and was blessed by many responses. I took all the various lists and created my own Excel Spreadsheet and checked each item off as it went into the suitcase.

Granted we thought we were going into a camp-like situation and ended up in a very nice hotel room, but there were certain items that I was so GLAD TO HAVE. Other items, I did not need but would still RECOMMEND just in case. Then, there were a few items I would NOT TAKE AGAIN. Fortunately, those were small enough not to take up too much room or be too heavy, but if I were doing it all again today, I would not drag them along! In the spirit of paying it forward, my hope is that this list will help new PAPs prepare for their first trips. All regions are different in terms of hotel accommodations, food readily available, and length of drive to the orphanage, etc., so you'll want to take those factors into consideration as well.

Without further ado, here is the Abraham Trip One Packing List for Novokuznetsk (Kemerovo region) Russia:

Paperwork (Carry On)

- Caregiver Questions: This helped me not to forget anything, but the director answered almost all my questions before I had a chance to ask them.

- Important Phone/contact list

- Passports and Visas

- Copy of Dossier: Fortunately we didn't need anything from our dossier, but you never know. It was very heavy to lug around through airports. Someone suggested scanning all the documents and putting them on a thumb drive. Sounds like a great idea, but I didn't have that kind of time before we left.

- Pens

- Airline Tickets

- Hotel Confirmations

- Copy of our Passports and Visas

- Map of Moscow: Didn't need because we were only there a few hours with a translator/tour guide. May be more helpful on Trip Two.

- Fred Des Chenes Russian Phrases Booklet: Didn't really need for this trip.

Food for Us
Note: We took too much food and brought most of it back home. This is mainly because we received free meal tickets for our hotel restaurant each day and there were other good places to eat within walking distance. Plus, the Baby House was less than five minutes away from our hotel with a grocery store close-by too. We purchased water and sodas at the store and kept them in our room's fridge. We always had cold drinks available.

- Peanut Butter Crackers, Snack Bars, Pretzels, Oatmeal, Cashews or Trail Mix

- Coffee filter packs: We brought the 100% Colombian coffee filter packs and they were great! Our room had a pot for hot water and the Floor Ladies filled it for us each morning. Our room had small coffee mugs but we used our souvenir cups from Starbucks in Moscow. Martin likes his coffee strong so he left the filter pack in longer than I did. With our exhausting travel schedule, we really needed a good cup of java to get rolling in the morning.

- French Vanilla coffee creamer packs: This was for me because I like liquid cream, not powder, for my coffee. Yummy!

We were fortunate not to get sick during our travels, but I will bring all these on Trip Two, plus children's versions of each where applicable.

- Tums and Imodium

- Excedrin / Aleve: I used for a headache one day
- Cough Drops
- Arbonne Skin Conditioning Oil
- Advil PM: I used to sleep during long flight to Moscow
- Cough Medicine
- Cold Medicine
- Neosporin
- Hydrocortizone cream: We did need this for mosquito bites

Toys for Baby Girl

- Small Beach Ball: She didn't have any idea what to do with it.

- My Little Pony: Big hit! Although she mostly liked chewing on it.

- Stacking Cups: Another big hit - didn't want to let go. She didn't stack them, but liked banging them together.

- Tickle Toes Bear: Favorite for getting her to smile.

- Bubbles: She didn't know what to think to about them and showed very little interest.

- Music Toy: She enjoyed the music and quickly figured out how to make it play.

- Connecting Rings: Good for seeing motor skills like switching rings from hand to hand. Also used for chewing.

- Lovey Blanket to leave with her: It was probably too hot for it outside during our visits, but she seemed to enjoy snuggling to it anyway.

- Baby lift the flap books: These were great for when she just wanted to sit in our lap.

Food for Baby Girl
Note: We weren't allowed to feed our baby on this trip, probably because she was so young. We did get to help her drink water from a tin cup.

- Gerber Puffs, Animal Crackers, Gold Fish

Miscellaneous for Baby Girl

- Disposable Cameras (2): Okay, I left 3 because I love photos, they promised to actually use the cameras, and I was worried it may be a long time before we get back. I'll let you know how that worked out!

- Small notebook for taking notes: used a lot, especially for getting contact info for people we met along the way!

- Teether Photo Album: Big hit! Probably her favorite item.

- Printable Shoe Chart

- Flexible Tape Measure: Didn't use, but still recommend

- Small Package of Wipes

- Small Diaper Bag: This was used to store the other items we brought to leave with her. I put her name on it in Russian and English. We may not get it back, but that's okay.

Personal Items

- Toilet Paper: didn't need- Comb and Brush

- Shampoo and conditioner: travel size is very important since we carried both of our small luggages on the plane.

- Travel size Lotion- Shout pen: didn't need

- Small Hand Sanitizer

- Tooth Brush and travel size tooth paste

- Make-up

- Deodorant

- Travel-size Tissue packs (could double as toilet paper)

- Wrinkle release: didn't need

- Razor

- Pin Light: great for use on the plane

- Small wash cloths: didn't need

- Travel-size Detergent for Clothes: didn't need- Soap: didn't need

- Small bottle of Febreeze or air deodorizer: didn't need. This would be helpful to off-set the strong cigarette smoke smell, but we were lucky not to have any smoke issues.


- Converter and Adaptor: didn't need converter

- Charger for Camera

- Flashlight: did not need

- Camera

- Extra Camera batteries and Memory Cards

- Extension cord with multiple plug-ins: This was wonderful for charging more than one item at a time!

- Travel Hair Dryer: didn't need

- Flat Iron

- Electronic Language Translator: we forgot to pack, but would have been very helpful getting through the Moscow airport on the way home!

- Lap Top and Accessories

- Videos - didn't need

- Noice-Reducing Head Phones: I loved these! It made a big difference in hearing the in-flight movies, my IPod music, and helped me sleep better too. Martin thought the ear-buds that came with the plane were fine.

- Splitter for head phones: let us both listen to my IPod at the same time!

- Cell Phones: ours were useless in Russia

- Skype Phones: wonderful!

- Cell Phones Chargers

- IPod full of music, videos, and movies: wonderful!

- IPod charger

- Travel Alarm Clock

- USB Drive and Cord to Upload Photos: very useful


- Travel Umbrella: could have been useful in Moscow, but I left it in my carry-on at the airport

- Ziplock Bags / Trash Bags: didn't need trash bags

- Money Belts

- Bug Spray: important for summer travel

- Crossword puzzle and Sudoku books

- Vacuum storage bags - large one for each carry-on suitcase: very helpful! It's amazing how much space they free-up.

If anyone would like a copy of the Excel Spreadsheet, please send me an email!


Jackie said...

Kim- You are awesome! Have I told you that yet? Now I need to know what french vanilla creamer packs you got and where. That is my favorite as well!

Jackie said...

Another question... what did you do when you needed to vacuum the storage bags up again in Russia to create room? Or did you leave more behind and you had more room in your suitcases on the return trip? I should just email you... :-) lol!

Kim Abraham said...


I'll answer your questions here in case anyone else is wondering the same thing.

1) Carnation Coffee Mate - it was at Wal-mart with all the coffee supplies. It comes in a box with 50 individually wrapped containers. (Like you get at a gas station.) I put them in a baggie just in case they got squashed in the suitcase, but they all arrived fine. It was nice having a little comfort from home.

2) Vacuum Bags - You don't have to have a vacuum to get the air out of the bags. I used a vacuum at home, but for the way back, we just rolled the air out. It worked great both ways. We did have a little extra room after leaving items for the baby, but that space was filled up with souviners.

P.S. We were instructed not to take gifts. (Although we did ask what they needed once we got there.) So we were not packing a lot donations with us on this trip. Everything on our list fit into two small carry-on suitcases.

Kim Abraham said...

I also want to add that the coffee filter packs are SINGLE servings. They are made for the little one-cup coffee brewers, but they work great by putting them in your mug and pouring hot water over them.

Jen said...

Great list! I am glad you didn't have to use the toilet paper you brought, we did! I just bought more travel size rolls to take with us again-just in case!

You are in my thoughts. Hoping you will get a court date soon.