After we were matched last month, I tried to send out an April care package as soon as I could. Unfortunately, it looks like he went to the clinic on the 19th for his well baby check and our box didn’t arrive until the 25th. Depending on when this May box arrives he may end up with double boxes this month.
Another reason I wanted to get some goodies out to him asap last month was because it was his first birthday. After we reviewed his file and officially said “yes”, I started praying that we would get approved before his birthday just days away. Not that Eli would have known what it all meant, but my mama heart just desperately wanted him to have a family before his first birthday. God showed off big time because the day after we submitted all of the paperwork to accept, we got the call. (We had been told to expect 1-2 weeks.)
We bought a cake from the grocery store to celebrate with the kids and before we could eat it the frosting on top had cracked. It was a broken little cake that summed up the bittersweet birthday celebration all too perfectly. (Ian still thought it was delicious.)
Shopping for him has been so therapeutic; wandering the aisles of Target really does feel like when I was pregnant with the other three. (Except this time the “gestation period” is closer to that of an elephant, hopefully without the weight gain.) I cherish those moments that I can focus solely on him (#4thkid) and let my mind wonder about the person he is and will be. On the outside it may look excessive(?) to spend so much money each month to ship these boxes packed with items he doesn’t “need” and won’t come home with… but sending these care packages is the only way I can physically provide for him right now and for that I’m grateful.
Full disclosure: Rumor also has it that when you send care packages you could possibly get a “thank you” photo. There’s no guarantee, but when you can almost count on one hand the number of pictures you have of your child, you will pay that $65 shipping fee to roll those dice all day, err day. (Not really every day, looking at you adoption fees, but once a month for sure!)
I’d be remiss if I didn’t also admit that I like the “control” sending the box gives me. Shopping, packing, shipping,
stalking tracking gives me purpose in the wait. I’m a recovering control-freak clinging to the reminder that His grace is sufficient. I can’t tell you the number of times throughout this process that I have felt His peace wash over me tangibly as He reminds me to loosen my white-knuckle grip.
Here’s what we sent for the month of May:
- Two onesies that were part of the 5 pack I split up last month. (Carters)
- Burt’s Bees grey and white onesie + pants. (TJ Maxx)
- Pocket tee with khaki shorts. (Cat and Jack from Target)
- 2 pairs of socks from the multi-pack I split up last month. (Target)
- Firetruck footie pajamas. I actually found these tucked away in storage, brand new, from when I accidentally bought two for Ian over a year ago. (Ross)
- Happy Baby rice cakes, puffs, and yogurt melts. (Target)
- Munchkin Snack Catcher- part of a 2 pack (Target)
- Oball- Ian loves his and I’ve heard they are a popular item to send (Target)
- Tow-truck toy that teaches numbers, letters, colors, and shapes (TJ Maxx)
- Farm animal + letters book with crinkle pages (HomeGoods)
- For the foster family: small bag of Tate’s cookies and Archer Farms cashews (Target). Two bottles of Centrum vitamins- I’ve read online, and confirmed with my friend from Korea, that these are good items to send because it can be expensive there to buy good brands or ones from abroad. It felt kind of odd (and forward?) buying vitamins for someone you’ve never met, but I have also learned that “practical” gifts are very appropriate and appreciated in South Korea.
- A small notebook (for the foster family to hopefully write updates, milestones, or notes to Eli from his time with them), a “Parent’s Day” card (celebrated May 8th in South Korea), and a dozen or so 4×4 pictures that I printed from Instagram from the past month or so. (I asked my friend to translate the captions on the backs of the photos.)
- Reusable shopping bag; for the Foster Mom (or Dad) to tote all of the items back home. Typically the foster families use public transit to travel to the offices, so it’s recommended to send a bag for them to carry all of the goodies home easily.
I also included a letter introducing ourselves; I felt rude for not sending one last month in my attempt to get it out quickly. It was weird writing a letter for a one-sided conversation with a very important stranger. I can’t imagine what she must feel preparing to hand over this child that she has cared for during the first [of what will probably be] 2 years of his life to strangers half a world away. The foster family isn’t really given any information about us, so I included what we do, described our house/area, talked about the kids’ interests. (We aren’t allowed to give any identifying information at this time.)
I am very grateful that my friend offered to help translate the letter for us because otherwise it could delay the shipment getting to Eli if we needed to rely on the agency to do as they’re available. This same friend invited me over for lunch last week- her friendship has been such a blessing. God’s goodness and loving provision continues to overwhelm me.
(If you don’t have a friend that is fluent in Korean, a few other mamas adopting from South Korea have used and recommended Little Seouls translation services.)