Caitlin and I had connected before, because she volunteered 10 years ago at our daughter's orphanage (and wrote to tell me that the children there get really great care, which was a comfort!) This time she was writing to say that she and her husband were leaving for Thailand in about a week to adopt their little boy (so exciting!) and that they had a visit planned to our daughter's orphanage. She asked if I would like for her to take some gifts for our daughter - would I ever!?!
We quickly called our agency to get their okay, and their stance was to send what we wanted (keeping it small enough to fit in a shoebox) and that the orphanage staff would have the final say. Caitlin and her husband live in Oregon, so we knew we had to work quickly to get the package to them in time for their flight!
We set out to buy a few special things for our daughter. I knew almost instantly what I wanted - but it proved to be a little more challenging than I expected (on short notice). I went looking for a simple, pink cotton dress in a 3T, and it took NINE stores before I found one (I may or may not have cried in frustration in store #6 when everything cute was either a 2T or a 4T!) Luckily, after several trips all over town we finally found everything we wanted to send!
We ended up with a pink and purple ruffled dress, two packages of hairbows for her pigtails, some stickers, two small My Little Ponies, and a little Princess Belle figurine (obviously we know which princess I hope is her favorite!)
We also bought this sweet book, "Under the Same Moon" - which is about loved ones who are separated but loving each other from afar. I cried in the aisle at Khol's when I read it the first time! Rusty and I were able to take turns each reading a page at a time to her, so she'll be familiar with our voices. We also taped a photo of us onto the front and back covers, so she can see our faces each time she reads it.
My favorite addition though, was this little bunny! If you know me, then you know how much I love bunnies. (It's actually my husband's nickname for me). The very first thing we ever bought our daughter was a little handmade bunny in Thailand. So I really wanted to send her a stuffed bunny... but I also really wanted it to have a recording that would play our voices when she hugged it! I couldn't find anything ready-made that would work (Build-A-Bears were much too big) but the sweet girl at Build-A-Bear was very helpful! She sold us a voice box (and gave us a little heart too!) and shared some advice for cutting open and re-sewing a different stuffed animal.
We recorded ourselves saying "I love you" in Thai with her Thai nickname (Namfon), and "Mommy Loves You" and "Daddy Loves You" in English. Then my chiropractor had the great idea to add a few drops of lavender oil to the bunny (and all the other items we sent). We're hoping it will be soothing to our daughter, and that when we wear the same scent (the day we meet her) it might be something familiar that will help with her attachment.
All her gifts fit into this sweet little polka-dot bag. I included a note explaining everything, and telling them that the stickers and hairbows were for her to share with her friends (since her referral said she loves to share with the other children!) Then we were able to overnight it to Caitlin in Oregon (thanks to a sweet friend who covered the UPS expense! God bless you Kristin!)
Caitlin and her husband and son will be visiting the orphanage on June 6th (the night of June 5th to us here in America). Now we are hoping and praying that the staff will allow her to give our daughter our gifts, and to take photos and videos of Kate to send to us! We only have a few posed pictures, and to see some candid shots (or video of Kate) would be such a treat! We also sent a video to Caitlin of the two of us introducing ourselves to our daughter in Thai and English... telling her we love her so much, and that we can't wait to hold her in our arms. We are also praying they allow Caitlin to show the video of us to Kate! We are hopeful that these gifts will help Kate get to know our voices and faces, and be more comfortable with us when we finally meet her.
We're so grateful that Caitlin offered to do this for us. As you pray for her visit to the orphanage to go well, would you also pray a blessing over her family's adoption? Her son is just adorable, but he is still adjusting to this big transition and has just started bonding with his mommy and daddy. Last night they shared that he is sick and had to go to the doctor in Thailand to be treated for pneumonia. I know they would appreciate your prayers for healing and bonding during this time!