“For it is in giving that we receive.”- St. Francis of Assisi
When we give gifts to others, it has a way of warming our own hearts—especially when we take the time and effort to choose a gift that has great meaning and sentimental value. The smile that spreads across a person’s face as they receive a specially selected gift is a gift in itself. The light in their eyes will kindle a light in yours as well.
With the season of giving quickly approaching, you likely have many loved ones on your shopping list. It can be tricky enough to find the perfect gift for your immediate family, much less the birth mother in your life. Whether you are searching for the perfect gift for the holidays or for any occasion, a thoughtful gesture can brighten anyone’s day. Gifts are typically best when the recipient’s personality is taken into consideration, so feel free to browse these suggestions and tailor them to suit your situation.
Adoption-Related Gifts for Birth Mothers
While the adoption journey is filled with joy and excitement, it can also bring some difficult emotions for birth parents. It can be helpful for birth mothers to remember that they are loved, they are important, and that their strength and sacrifice are celebrated and appreciated. A simple adoption-related gift can go a long way in expressing your gratitude.
- Jewelry- We’re not talking about diamond rings here, but there are many lovely gift options in the area of jewelry.
Did you know that there is a symbol for adoption? It is often portrayed as a heart intertwined with a triangle (representing each corner of the adoption triad). A necklace with an adoption symbol pendant is an excellent gift choice that is sure to make her feel that she is included in your story.
Another great jewelry option is a locket. Heart-shaped lockets are lovely gifts for birth mothers, especially when they contain a photo of the child they placed for adoption. In place of a photo, a small lock of hair is also a very meaningful item to enclose in the locket. This way, even though the child isn’t physically with her, a piece of them will always be close by.
Stud earrings with the child’s birthstone are a great choice as well. Each time she wears them, she will know that she played an important role in bringing a child into the world and making a family whole. It can also be nice to incorporate her birthstone into jewelry as well.
- Scrapbooks- Scrapbooks specific to adoption may be tricky to find, but if you are crafty, you can always make your own! You can include a letter that expresses your feelings, special dates or mementos that you have shared, and photographs that are sure to bring a smile. If you aren’t very creative (but you know that she is), you can present her with a blank scrapbook and supplies to create her own book of memories. Let her know that she can fill it with photos that you send or will take together, or that she can use it to create a special book for her birth child to receive when the time is right.
- A Custom Playlist- Music can touch a person very deeply. There are many songs that, even if not directly related to adoption, have themes that fit adoption journeys. Consider making a playlist of songs that are meaningful to you and to the birth mother in your life. Whether on CD, a music app, or an old-school mixtape, it will be something she can listen to any time she feels the need to express herself through song.
- Adoption Books- There are many adoption-themed books on the market. With a little searching, you are likely to find one that fits your needs. There are books specifically for birth parents, books about the adoption triad, poetry books, and fiction and non-fiction books. Don’t just grab the first adoption book you see. Make sure to do a bit of research to make sure the book is appropriate and will be enjoyed.
- Home Decor- There are many beautiful quotes about adoption and about birth parents specifically. There are also many uplifting scriptures and quotes about life in general. Gifting a piece of art, wall hanging, or a different piece of home decor can be meaningful when it contains a quote that is special to you. This means even more when you express what the quote means to you, personally. If there is a specific quote that reminds you of her, share that with her as well!
Gifts for Healing and Self-Expression
Gifts of self-expression are not only thoughtful but can also be very helpful in a birth mother’s healing process. If you know that the recipient of your gift likes to express themselves creatively, these gifts for birth mothers are a perfect choice!
- Journals- Writing is an amazing form of self-expression. It can help people to express themselves honestly and privately. It may also be nice to look back on where they have been and to see how far they have come. Consider a very nice journal—perhaps a leather-bound book with gold-rimmed pages—and a high-quality pen as well. If there is a certain color or theme that they favor, feel free to include those in your selection. There are blank journals as well as guided journals. There are even journals specifically for birth mothers! Faith-based journals can be uplifting as well.
- Art Supplies- Does the birth mother in your life like to express herself through art? Consider purchasing a drawing pad and some nice pencils or a pack of canvases with assorted paints and brushes. If she loves photography, a nice camera is a great choice. Perhaps you can even ask her to create a piece of artwork that you can display in a special place in your home.
- Classes- If her schedule permits, and if she is interested, you may be able to gift her with classes or events to guide her personal expression. There are many establishments that offer classes for art, writing, photography, music, dance, etc. Oftentimes, people would really enjoy experiences like this but may not purchase them for themselves.
Gifts for Self-Care
Self-care is incredibly important for everyone, birth mothers included. Gifts involving self-care can be therapeutic and relaxing!
- Spa Days- A gift card to her local spa is an excellent gift that she is sure to enjoy! Everyone loves a little pampering now and then. With a general gift card, she can choose from any of the services they offer. She may choose a mani-pedi, a facial or other skin treatment, massage therapy, or even a new hairstyle. Spa packages leave the recipient feeling rejuvenated and refreshed.
- Gift Baskets- Whether you choose a pre-made gift basket or decide to make a more thoughtful one on your own, these can be a very nice self-care gift. If you decide to include scented bath and body products, try to choose scents that are nice, but not overwhelming. Bath bombs are fun and easy gifts to give. They are especially enjoyable when they have little surprises inside or when they are specialty bath bombs that have been carefully made by boutiques or local artisans. Other items you may wish to include are facial masks, candles, a cozy blanket, essential oils, fuzzy socks or slippers, lip balm, gourmet chocolates, and other items that help to calm the body and the spirit. There are special pillows and masks made to place on the eyes for stress relief. They are typically filled with lavender for a relaxing aromatherapy experience.
Your Presence is the Best Present!
While tangible gifts are always appreciated, the best gift you can give someone is your time and attention. If you have open contact with the birth mother in your life, perhaps you can plan to spend a day together. The options are limitless: concerts, museum tours, nice dinners, picnics in the park, a day out with the kids, etc. Choose something that will be comfortable and enjoyable for everyone. Memories are a gift that can be cherished for years to come. If you do choose to spend the day together, make sure to take photos or to pick up a small memento to remind you of your time together.
If your situation is less open, you can still give of yourself by sending photos, videos, or a nice card. Perhaps you can write a heartfelt letter or a piece of poetry. Sending a piece of handmade art (whether made by the adoptive parents or the birth child) is a thoughtful way to show that you care. Handcrafted items can be even more meaningful than store-bought gifts.
Occasions for Gift-Giving
Many people think of gift-giving during the holiday season, but there are many other occasions when you may wish to do something nice for the birth mother in your life.
- Placement Gifts- Many adoptive parents choose to give a special gift to their child’s birth mother at the time of the adoption placement. While there is, of course, no gift quite like the one you have been given—a sincere and considerate token of your love and appreciation will be well received.
- Birthday Gifts- If you know her birthday, consider sending her a nice card in the mail. It’s always nice to feel remembered and to receive surprises in the mailbox! The birthdays of birth children (while certainly joy-filled) can sometimes be emotional for birth mothers…sending her a card to let her know you are thinking of her on this special day can be a kind gesture as well.
- Birth Mother’s Day- The Saturday before Mother’s Day every year is Birth Mother’s Day. This day is not widely known by the general public, but for many birth mothers, it is celebrated quietly with much reminiscing. A caring note or small gift on this day can be more meaningful than you realize. It will reaffirm her importance in your adoption story and let her know that she is loved, valued, and remembered.
- Holidays- Christmas and other religious holidays are often thought of as a time for giving gifts. How about Thanksgiving? A note letting her know that you are thankful to have her as a part of your life will be unexpected but appreciated. If you are involved in an adoption where her birth child knows their adoption story, perhaps they can send her a special handmade card for Valentine’s Day or for any other holiday that is important to your family.
- Just Because- You certainly aren’t expected to give gifts for every special occasion. Part of what makes gifts special is that they are often unexpected when they are received. These pleasant surprises bring so much joy. If it’s been a while since you have sent a gift or correspondence, consider sending a “thinking of you” card or small gift. It doesn’t have to be anything grand, just a little something to let them know that they are on your mind.
- Reunion- If you are an adoptee who is reuniting with your birth mother, chances are that your reunion is an amazing gift in and of itself! There is no reason to bring anything but yourself. However, if you feel that you would like to present her with a gift, it will likely result in happy tears. If you are not an adoptee, but you know a birth mother who is reuniting with her birth son or daughter, feel free to send her a word of encouragement and reassurance. A celebratory gift such as flowers is always nice as well.
Use Your Best Judgement
While these suggestions may be helpful, don’t be afraid to give a gift that is completely different or unique to your journey! What’s important is that you are giving from your heart. A gift given in love is the best kind. With careful consideration, you will choose the perfect present. When you bless others through giving, you may very well receive a gift in return—the joy and the warmth that comes from making someone smile.