August 23rd, 2007
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Categories: Family Interviews


Viet Nam Adoptive Family Interviews : An Introduction

What do you suggest parents–to–be purchase in advance for their child?

The Engelbrecht Family – If you may be traveling in the winter-take sweatsuits, etc for your child. Vietnamese want the children to be warm and temps in the 60′s for us is very COLD to them. Definitely take meds with your for your child-you never know if you can get English labels. At least one or two outfits smaller then you think you need (our daughter’s weight is pure muscle and everything we took was too big even based on weight)

Christina - It’s hard because you don’t know exactly how old your child will be when they arrive home – or what size they will be. But it’s fun to shop and it helps make your child feel “real”, so if you can buy things that work for any age (room decorations, bedding, a stroller etc). Also, you can always buy clothes in a size bigger than you expect your child to be and that way if they are too big when your child arrives, they can always wear them later. The things I bought that we didn’t need: some clothing, a baby swing for our daughter (I expected her home at 4 months, she wasn’t in the US until 9 months), toddler bedding for our son (he came home at 3.5 and only stayed in his toddler bed for a few months).


The Mynes Family – I went and registered at Babies R Us for all the things I wanted. I couldn’t wait. I had a list a mile long. Here are some things I needed:
Crib, dresser, bedding/blankets, sheets, car seat, stroller, high chair, diaper bag, bottles, diaper pail, bibs, medicines, baby monitor, baby carrier, some cute outfits, t-shirts, pjs, socks, shoes, thermometer, grooming set w/ finger nail clippers, pacifiers, soft books, toys, activity saucer or gym, towels, and washcloths.

The Micheline Family – A swing! Everyone told us not to get one, but it was Gracie’s (and our!) favorite thing. She came home when she was 9 months old, and she still uses it at 21 months (although now she uses it more to play with her dolls or to hang out in it while she’s having a snack.) Being able to put her in that swing for 5 or 10 minutes while we prepared a meal, left the room, etc. was such a lifesaver for us, especially since Gracie was a SERIOUS crawler when she came home and would have a serious breakdown if we left her alone anywhere, and the swing soothed her and kept her distracted so we could get her meals together or even take a bathroom break!
Don’t bother with bottle warmers, wipes warmers, and all the technological gadgets. We got anything and everything and wound up using almost none of it. Nursery monitors are essential, a swing or bouncer, and a baby play gym (Gracie hated her playpen and hated being in it, so we got a lot more use out of a big folding gate system.) A walker was another thing that was a waste. Because Gracie did spend a lot of time in her crib when she was in Vietnam, she hated being pent in anywhere unless that thing was moving for her.

How can parents waiting to travel prepare for their new arrival?

The Engelbrecht Family – Read some literature on how to prepare your pets for children. Shop for some things you’ll need when you get back (diapers that can be exchanged for different sizes, microwave dinners, etc)

Christina – I think the best thing waiting parents can do is read… read books on attachment, on your child’s birth country, on parenting in general. The more you know, the better prepared you’ll be!

The Mynes Family – Get the child’s room done because there won’t be the time when you get home. Also register for all items you need & want

The Micheline Family – Just relax. Everything will change the second the baby comes through the door, and there’s no way to prepare. Nothing you buy, read, or think about will prepare you for how your life will change. Just spend time doing things you enjoy and reading and sleeping.

What parenting and/or adoption books do you recommend?

The Engelbrecht FamilyAdoption is a Family Affair, When You were Born in Viet Nam

Christina – My favorites adoption books were: Toddler Adoption: The Weaver’s Craft by Mary Hopkins-Best and Becoming a Family: Promoting Healthy Attachments with Your Adopted Child by Lark Eshleman

For general parenting, I think my all time favorite book is Raising Great Kids by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. I also like the “What to Expect” books, and I appreciate Dr. Brazelton’s approach to parenting, so all of his books are good too.

For something a little “lighter” but still about adopting from Vietnam, I loved the novel Beyond the Blue by Leslie Gould

The Mynes FamilyThe International Adoption Handbook, this book is a little out dated by does have a lot of good info in it. From the very beginning I also subscribed for the Adoptive Families magazine, this has a lot of great articles for every age and stage of adoption. The only bad thing is that it comes every 2 months and sometimes it was/is hard to wait.

The Micheline Family – I find the web is the most helpful of all, but I also like the Supernanny book, because it’s practical and real.

Is there anything that you wish you would have done (i.e. spent more time with other children, done home projects, etc.) during your wait?

The Engelbrecht Family – Gotten our dog more prepared

Christina – What I regret about the waiting time was that I was so frustrated and depressed with the wait that I wasn’t able to fully enjoy my life and especially my kids in the moment. But I really don’t think there’s any way around that. The wait for your child is hard and in the waiting I learned a lot about myself and my relationship with God.

The Mynes Family – No, I think we made the most of our time during the wait. We made sure we kept busy. A big thing for us was just enjoying one another before our lives were about to drastically change.

The Micheline Family – No- I know that nothing I could have done would have prepared me for the way life changed after Gracie’s arrival.

Related Reading:
How to Prepare Your Child’s Room
Planning Your Purchases in Your Viet Nam Adoption
Book Review: When You Were Born in Viet Nam

Next…Memories of Viet Nam

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2 Responses to “Viet Nam Adoptive Family Interviews – Getting Ready”

  1. krisj says:

    I love these Q and A’s its very helpful! I wanted to also give a update on my passport for anyone in my same spot. I had applied for a regular passport then realized I needed it. So I call Passport services, a very kind man told me where to send the request for update to expedite and the money, so I did. Waited 2 weeks and nothing so I called 2 days ago talked to another very sweet man who emailed someone and I just got an email letting me know that my passport is done and in the mail!! The phone # is on the passport website Im soo excited we have clearance also.
    Thanks, Kris

  2. Rebecca says:

    Kris, that is WONDERFUL news!!! :) Thank you so much for sharing!

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