Congratulations! You matched with an expectant mother. You are feeling the urge to nest and get your rubber duckies in a row for the arrival of this precious new baby. Preparing to adopt a baby can lead to fun memories for your family. But it can also be overwhelming. There are many unknowns about the process of adopting a baby who is not born locally. We’re here to help you with tips for packing when you are adopting a baby from another state.

Preparing to Adopt From Another State

Figuring out where you will stay is one big piece of the puzzle you can address earlier in your process. If you are doing an interstate adoption, you already know that you must stay in the sending state (once the baby is born) to fulfill the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC) requirements. However, you might not yet know how long you should expect to stay, which makes packing even trickier to tackle. To help ease your stress, we’ve broken these practical tips into two essential packing lists. Tackle one at a time and let our checklist ease your mind while preparing for this adoption.

Before starting the list-making, remember that you can pack lighter than you think you need to. Bring a notepad or keep notes on your phone once you arrive to help you keep track of your and baby’s needs. Additionally, washing all the baby’s clothing and bedding in a baby-safe detergent before you pack saves you some steps and risks of skin irritation once you are at the hotel or hospital.

List #1: What Does Baby Need?

Generally, newborn babies need less “stuff” than you need. And indeed, less stuff than you think they need, especially in the earliest days together. You can purchase many necessities in sample or travel sizes early in the trip of adopting a baby in another state.

Once you arrive and get the lay of the land, you can find a local store to round out or replenish your supplies.

  • Disposable diapers (Newborn size) and baby wipes
  • Bags to wrap and dispose of soiled diapers
  • Bottles and nipples — Ask for a sample at the hospital when you arrive. Then buy more based on what the hospital has used.
  • Bottlebrush and drying rack or towels for washing and drying bottles
  • Burp cloths or cloth diapers
  • Baby toiletries: shampoo, lotion, diaper rash cream, etc. — Again, ask for the hospital’s samples to get you started.
  • 2-3 baby blankets
  • 2-3 Onesies
  • 2-3 pajamas, sleep sacs, and baby booties or socks
  • Weather-appropriate clothing in a couple of sizes until you know what fits
  • A baby wrap or sling for carrying/wearing to support bonding
  • Pacifiers — usually the hospital will have samples, and you can ask for an extra one or two
  • A pack n’ play, baby travel bed — or reserve a crib at the hotel if you prefer
  • Bedding for the baby’s bed – test in advance to ensure the bedding fits the bed for safety purposes

Transitioning Home as a Newly Adoptive Family

List #2: What Do You Need?

Whether staying in a hotel, Air BnB, or with a friend while adopting a baby from another state, you will have access to local stores. You can run out and stock up on the things you need. Trips out for extras might even help combat the “cabin fever” of being in a hospital or a hotel, especially if you tend to feel cooped up quickly.

  • Comfortable tops and bottoms that can easily mix and match
  • Dress clothes for court or attorney meetings
  • Comfortable shoes – don’t forget slippers too!
  • Cell phone and charger
  • A good reference book for the care and keeping of a newborn
  • Toiletries — again, sample sizes will suffice, especially if you are staying in a hotel and traveling back and forth to the hospital until they discharge the baby
  • Healthy drinks and snacks
  • A journal or baby book
  • Your laptop or tablet/iPad
  • A couple of books or a loaded e-reader
  • Your ICPC adoption packet – if you are flying, keep it with you on the plane instead of in your checked luggage
  • Travel and identification documents –the hospital will require ID to visit the baby

We’d love to hear from experienced parents about adopting a baby from another state! What would you add to the packing list? What could you NOT survive without? Tell us in the comments.

Image Credits: Vlada Karpovich; Vicki Yde; Sarah Chai