The Shocking Cost of Mailing a [Small!] Package to Our Daughter in Africa

The time has finally arrived for us to be able to send a package to our daughter in Burundi, Africa! I have been waiting for this for a LONG time, but I had no idea just how expensive mailing a relatively small package to Burundi would be. Here’s what we included in our package:

Our daughter Fanny received her first package from her family in America!

1. A small, plush baby doll that weighs just 12 ounces. It’s called Wee Baby Stella on Amazon and she even comes with a detachable magnetic binky that we opted not to include. Our son Sammy slept with this doll for a month or two before we shipped it so it would smell like him. That was one of the tips our adoption agency gave us!

2. A few small instruments from a set like this. Sammy kept the rest, but picked out three of the smaller ones to send to Fanny.

3. A cord bracelet made by my friend Fulfill By Brooke. She made us all matching bracelets, including one for Fanny!

4. Construction paper, crayons and a few small pieces of candy.

5. A soft cover photo book from Shutterfly. I would highly recommend making a soft cover book because it will save you in shipping. My plan is to print an identical one before we travel, just in case something happens to hers between now and then. I am going to have her caregivers write in it so she will always have handwritten messages from them in her native language. (I plan to have them translated immediately so I can tuck the English translation into the book!)

What I ended up NOT including: a photo blanket I had also made on Shutterfly. I had been sleeping with it for months so that when the time came to ship our package it would smell like us, but the blanket ended up being bulkier than I expected. When I first gave the package to the FedEx worker he said it would cost $260 to ship! So I took the blanket out and the cost dropped to $150. Still expensive, but I figured that was too much to pay for a little blanket, when she already had photos of us in the photo book.

Mailing a Package via FedEx to our daughter in Burundi

I think we could have saved money going to other shipping providers, however, our package was expected to arrive on a Friday and by Tuesday we already had photos of Fanny with her gift! I was so nervous it would not arrive at all, and it ended up arriving 3 days earlier than expected! It took less than a week to ship from Greenville, South Carolina to Bujumbura, Burundi.

All that said, I would definitely try to keep your package light and small. Don’t be surprised if mailing it costs more than $100! It did give me something to talk about on HIS Radio, the morning radio show I co-host:

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