I cannot believe the holidays are slowly creeping upon us. As a birth mother, it can sometimes be difficult to decide what kind of gift to give your child. You certainly don’t want to overstep any boundaries by buying a gift that could somehow be misinterpreted. For example, let’s say that you buy a rocking horse. Innocent enough? But let’s say that a rocking horse is a traditional gift in your child’s family, to be given by his/her grandparents? Before you know it, there can be hard feelings starting to brew.
It can be stressful to shop for this child. Part of that child is part of you. You should be able to know what he or she will like. Right? I hope you’re noticed the sarcasm in that sentence. Actually, that’s always been a source of heartache for me—not knowing exactly what my son likes. This can be eased by a simple phone call, email, or however you communicate with the adoptive parents. You can call and ask them what fad your child is into at the time (my son went from Mickey Mouse to Iron Man rather quickly). Some birth mothers like to do something a little more sentimental. Others like to do whatever the child is in love with at the time. I like to split them up evenly. If I do a “fun” gift for his birthday, then I will do the “sentimental” gift for Christmas. Here’s a list of 10 ideas for gifts for adoptive kids from birth moms:
1. Personalized Book
I like to use an online scrap booking site. My personal favorites are snapfish.com or shutterfly.com, but there are dozens out there, so choose your favorite and make a quick scrap book! It can be photos of you growing up, telling your life story, telling your version of the adoption, etc. For one Christmas, I took a copy of “Never, Never, Never Will She Stop Loving You,” written by Jolene Durrant, and rewrote it to fit my adoption story. My son’s parents still read him that book before he goes to bed at night.
This one can be a little harder. I placed my son, and he’s still a little too young to wear jewelry. I am planning on buying a tie clip for his eighth birthday, personalized with his birthday, placement day, and the day his adoption was finalized. For little girls, you can probably have a little more fun! Anything from costume jewelry to bracelets.
3. Anything Advocating Adoption
If you get something advocating adoption, ensure your relationship with the adoptive parents is solid and they are okay with it. It can be hurtful to make a gift to hang in the child’s room that screams “I was adopted!” to anyone who sees it. While adoption is a big part of your child’s life, his or her parents might feel uncomfortable with something too explosive.
That was my disclaimer, but here are some ideas. I found (thanks to the wonderful world of Pinterest) so many ideas for this! I have found adorable wall hangings that say “Superman was Adopted,” “Batman was Adopted,” and so on. There is street art available for the same effect. You can use your imagination or shop for something similar.
4. Anything he or she likes!
I mentioned this earlier, but it can be fun to just be goofy! Kids are kids, and they enjoy toys. Since the son I placed is my oldest and I am the youngest in my family, my experience with kids his age is next to none. I literally asked his parents what he likes (Iron Man) and walked down the aisle in a toy store looking for Iron Man toys that were age appropriate. I think that particular gift that I gave him has been his favorite so far. I can see them in pictures they sent me over the next year, him chasing his sister with it, him pretending to be Iron Man, and even it being spread around on his floor and me know he was playing with them earlier that day.
On placement day, I gave my son a twin-sized quilt. My mother is a talented seamstress and made it for me. I handed over my old jeans to her and she cut them up and sewed them back together. I gave him the quilt when he was 2 days old with a card saying that he “has my ‘jeans’ as well as my ‘genes.’” And every night before bed, he asks for his “Kacey Blankie.”
6. Picture Frame (with accompanying picture!)
I actually got this idea from my son. We were video chatting a few weeks ago and he held up a picture frame that he had made. It was a foam heart that he had cut out. He then told me he wanted a picture of me and him together to put in his frame. I cried. It was the sweetest thing I have ever heard. And I might have to give him a picture frame that I make this year.
This one usually works better on kids who are too young to appreciate gifts. When my son was under 2, I would buy him adorable clothes. His parents would dress him in them, and send me pictures. I felt I had a more prominent presence in his life–albeit a superficial, yet fun, one.
Write a letter of your hopes and dreams for your child. Talk about your love for him or her, that you hope he or she can accomplish things you only dreamed of. Include humor and include sorrow, but most importantly, include your personality.
9. A Passion of Yours
If you are at a complete loss, then try giving your child something you would like. If you like to draw and paint, get one of those children’s sets of art supplies for your birth child. If you tend to enjoy music more than other things, purchase a toy drum (maybe run that one by the child’s parents first). I like astronomy, so I have found a mini telescope for an outrageously good price, and it is ready to be given to my son when he ages a year or two.
10. Matching Keepsake
Think of this as the “best friend” necklace. I’m not saying to go out and get a heart necklace that is split in half, one saying “best” and the other saying “friend.” But the concept is nice. Buy two star necklaces and send one to your child with a picture of you wearing yours, or find the child’s birth stone do the same thing. If you placed a boy, like I did, it can be a little bit harder. A good “matching” idea for boys is matching wallet/purse. Even young boys will like to keep their library cards or their $1 bill in a wallet. It would be fun to have matching ones. Or get him a Ninja Turtle themed shirt and get one for yourself.
There are just a few, simple ideas. I hope you can find something of use in here as the holidays approach.