It’s the time of year when we think of gift-giving the most, but virtually any time may be the right time to acknowledge birth fathers and their role in the adoptive process. We often think of mothers when it comes to adoption and loss, but fathers grieve, too. A remembrance or recognition of their experience may be appropriate and much appreciated, depending on the circumstances of the adoption. Here are just a few thoughtful, symbolic gift ideas for adoptive parents to present to the birth father as a way of affirming his contribution to the adoption and showing gratitude for his sacrifice.
1. A skeleton key. What would that mean? you may ask. Skeleton keys can be found in a variety of forms, including ornamental key chains. Vintage-style wall keys are readily available through popular online shopping sites and can include actual wall-mounted hooked key holders. Such a key or small set of keys with a hand-written note making the connection between the birth father as a “key,” or essential, part of the child’s bright future would send a positive message without being over-the-top.
2. A R=ring. A titanium or tungsten ring (or men’s bracelet) can be a very inexpensive, yet meaningful, token of appreciation. It is not important that you know his ring size—he can wear it on a chain if he likes, put it on a key ring, or merely leave it in its box to revisit as a touching reminder of his contribution to love and happiness for a family. You may even want to have it engraved with something as simple as the child’s birthday. Again, enclose a hand-written note thanking the father for his choice.
3. A relevant book or books. An appropriate book can be as creative or as straightforward as desired. An example of one such book which is supportive of the birth father experience is “Out of the Shadows: Birthfathers’ Stories” which is available on Amazon. One reviewer wrote that it helped him “to grow and go on with (his) life.”
4. A custom, personalized picture frame or plaque. As with the other gift ideas on this list, gauging appropriateness is essential. Some men may very much like a keepsake photo of their biological child while others mind find such a visual too painful. If you feel the parent involved in your adoption falls into the latter category, an engraved plaque with a timely and relevant message may be more suitable.
5. An Engraved Coin or Medallion. This may be either custom (readily available and affordable on several specialty websites) or already imprinted with a symbol, poem, or quote that you feel is significant. Such a gift can be framed (by the biological father), put in a drawer as a special reminder, or slipped into his wallet as something he can keep with him at all times.
Whatever you decide to do, do it with sincerity and gratitude in your heart, and you’re sure to make the right choice.