One of the things I have been most looking forward to has been sending our little one a care package. Now that we've accepted her referral, we finally get to send her something!
My experiences with care packages have typically been as the recipient...namely, in college- when I would get a large box from my mom filled with all the goodies I was too cheap (or too broke) to buy. I've sent things to friends and family- but never to a daughter I had yet to meet.
Thankfully, many have gone before me and so I heeded their wise advice on what to send. In China, there are several companies that specialize in care packages & delivery to orphanages and you can order items through them or send a package yourself and have them deliver it to your child. We opted for the second option, because I knew I wanted to hand pick everything. One thing I am not sure of, however, is whether or not she will actually come home with the items I sent. There are mixed responses on this- some families say that their children come to them with all of the items they sent- and some (like clothing) are shared between all of the children in the home or orphanage. So, I couldn't be too attached to the items I sent- were they to be passed on to another child, that is just fine!
I had already collected several things for her, but because we didn't know what might actually make it home, I decided to get a few things that I wouldn't miss and save the most special things for when she is back home. So, here is what we sent:
1) Swaddle blanket- Both Knox and Liv have loved these lightweight blankets and still request them for long car rides. This one is one of Liv's old ones. We included a hand-me-down for a couple of reasons- one, we have plenty more at home, and two- it smells like our home already. We are hoping that the smell will become familiar and help us be a tad less scary when we finally meet in China.
2) Baby doll- It was noted on one of the files we received that she loves playing with dolls (which is SO perfect because her sister does too!). So I knew I needed to send her one. Liv had already tried to steal this one a couple of times before I got it in the box to mail! Haha!
3) Pajamas- I half expect her to be wearing these the day we receive her in China, having been mistaken for regular clothes! I'm already regretting not putting in any actual outfits, haha- oh well, we shall see!
4) Family photo album from Pinhole Press- this is the MOST important item I sent. (Thank you Lauren Clark Photography for the awesome photos!) Because she is just two I really wanted to find a book with thick, easy to turn pages. I am praying that seeing our faces will make us more familiar and less scary for her, and that God uses this book and these photos to show her love, safety and hope. I know she's only two, but there is no limit to what God can do! Many adoptive families have said that their children recognized them immediately upon meeting because their caregivers had gone through their family photo album with them daily. So neat and a testament to the work that they do.
One of the coolest parts about using a service like this is that they include a free letter translation. So, one day last week I sat down to write my first letter to my almost two year old daughter, whom I have yet to meet in person. Talk about a big task!
Rather than get poetic (which doesn't translate very well), I was short and sweet. I also wrote a longer note to her foster family (she has lived in a foster family most of her life- something we are so thankful for). Writing that second note was more emotional than the first! How do you thank someone for giving your child a shot at a home and family? My gratitude for them is so huge...but that's another blog post.
Lastly, we also sent a USB flash drive with a request to photograph everything! I would be so overjoyed to have photos of the home she lived in, the places she slept, ate and played...the faces who took care of her. We do not know if we will get to meet her foster family or see where she lived, and we won't know until we are there- but for her sake I'm making it my job to gather as much information as I can about her life in China.
I cried when I took this package to the post office and the clerk told me it would arrive February 23rd. That's just 2 days before her 2nd birthday- so there is a chance it will arrive to her on her actual birthday! Also- fun fact- because her birthday is 1 day after Liv's, this year they will technically be celebrating at the exact same time! China is 12 hours difference from Texas- so one's birthday breakfast will likely also be the other's birthday dinner. I treasure things like this in my heart.
Hope you enjoyed this post! I've got so much more to write about our journey, so stay tuned!
I'm also selling these cute personalized zipper pouches and keychains to pay for the last few fees we have- I'd love to make one for you!