Madeleine McCann's mother buys her birthday presents every year hoping she will come back home
Nearly 12 years' worth of presents and cards are awaiting missing Madeleine McCann in her untouched pink bedroom in Rothley, U.K.
Heartbroken mother Kate McCann hopes one day her missing daughter, Madeleine McCann, will come home, and she still buys birthday and Christmas presents for her, every year. Kate explained how she picks out the most appropriate gift for her child every year, as per her age. Madeleine would turn 16 this May, The Sun reported.
Every May 12, Kate, husband Gerry, and 14-year-old twins Sean and Amelie McCann celebrate her birthday and hold a tea party in her memory, laying presents in her bedroom, which remains untouched. The grieving mother says every Christmas is "tinged with pain and longing" for her, but she makes it a point to fill a stocking for her every year.
When Madeleine disappeared while on a family holiday in Portugal on May 3, 2007, she was just nine days short of her fourth birthday. When she turned 15 last year, Kate bought her daughter gifts, appropriate for teenagers and laid them out on her bed at their family residence in Rothley, Leicestershire, U.K. At the time, Uncle Brian Kennedy said: “It would be lovely to have a celebration one day. We never lose hope.”
“I do all the present buying," Kate said on the tenth anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance. "I think about what age she is and buy something that, whenever we find her, will still be appropriate so there’s a lot of thought, goes into it.” Nonetheless, she said the birthday of her eldest child is always a "difficult time because that’s when you really feel her absence.”
In her 2011 book to raise money for the search to continue, Kate wrote about the birthday ritual in detail. “Monday, May 12, 2008, was Madeleine’s fifth birthday," she said. "As we’ve continued to do since, we had a tea party at home, with balloons cake, cards, and presents. The presents go into Madeleine’s room to await her return. Her pink bedroom remains exactly as it was when she left it but it’s a lot busier now."
She continued: "There are gifts people have sent – from teddy bears to rosary beads – and photographs and pictures Sean and Amelie have drawn for her pinned on the walls. She also has a keepsake box in which the twins leave little things for her; the last sweet in their packet, a new drawing, sometimes just a leaf that has taken their fancy. Everyone sits in there from time to time to feel close to her. The children sometimes borrow toys to play with for a while but they always return them for Madeleine.”
At the moment, the family is waiting to hear if the Home Office will keep Scotland Yard's £12 million ($15.6 million) search going for another 12 months by funneling another £150,000 ($195,000) to the expedition.