LWB Community Blog

Care Packages to China

Over the holidays, we had a call from an orphanage who had been sent a care package from a kind and well-meaning adoptive parent. Unfortunately the package had been stuck in customs, and since there were multiple items inside the parcel, the customs agent was insisting on charging the orphanage a $60 fee to pick it up. The orphanage staff had to go into the city several times to fill out paperwork before the package could be released, which took quite a bit of their time as well. Once we had worked out the details of this last package, the orphanage director suggested that while they appreciate the good intentions, perhaps we could let adoptive parents know that packages often cost them precious money and time to pick up, depending on each city’s customs rules.

We know everyone sends packages with such good and kind intentions, but we felt it was important to point out some of the issues that can arise when a package is mailed to an orphanage in China. One orphanage was once hit with a $125 customs fee for a large box that a parent had sent. Most large packages cost $100 or more to send – and that same amount, for example, could buy 10 new coats for an orphanage instead. So in 2012, we wanted to mention again that any individual or group (i.e., adoption group) who would like to give back to a specific orphanage could go through our orphanage assistance program. For a minimum donation, our China staff will determine the orphanage’s most pressing needs and then use the donated money to shop for and deliver these items…directly to the orphanage, without having to figure in large shipping or customs fees. That way we can all be confident that the funds given by caring and concerned families will directly help the children who need it most!

If you do send a package overseas to an orphanage, please make sure and mark “gift” clearly on the box and customs form. Make sure the customs forms are filled out completely with the exact quantity of each item, material and brand of item, etc. Incomplete forms can cost the orphanage both time and money.

Also it is important to note that used items are not supposed to be shipped to orphanages. This policy was a result of some groups sending soiled and ragged clothing and outdated medicines to China. We once facilitated a large shipment of clothing to China that another group had collected and were later hit with large fines when it was discovered, unbeknownst to us, that the container was packed with used clothes which were hidden by just a few new items on top. Because of that incident, we no longer assist people in shipping items to China and instead purchase all clothing and supplies in country.

Giving back to your child’s orphanage is wonderful, and we love to work with families to provide much-needed items to the children who still wait in China! Please feel free to contact our orphanage assistance team at orphanageassistance@lwbmail.com to learn more about how we can help.

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  • Michelle says:

    I would love to send a donation to the orphanage so that everyone can get something. But I want it to include some pictures of our family for our son to get know. But I would also like photos or videos of my son with his simulated family as well as updates or answers to questions I have.

  • ising2dlord says:

    This is something I have personally explained to people before.

    As for an answer to the person above me, the best way to send something to a child you are adopting is to send it through a package service located in China. Ann at RedthreadChina dot com is a great resource. She shops in country and mails it in country so you do not have to pay shipping fees. Also, be sure to check with your agency before sending a package to make sure the orphanage is ready to accept a package. Sometimes if an LSC is not yet issued by the CCCWA, the orphanage may refuse the package. Hope this helps!

    Excellent article LWB!

  • Traci says:

    What if we want to send items to a particular child – in this case – “our” 12 year old who was too scared to come home. Can we go through you, or would this just be for a general gift for the orphanage?

    How so we sponsor one particular girl financially?
    For instance, especially after she turns 14?