It is no doubt that the biggest gift a waiting adoptive family will receive is the addition of a new member. But when is it appropriate to give gifts to the expectant parents/birth parents? And what kinds of gifts should you give? 

I will first stress the importance of consulting your adoption agency or attorney before giving any gifts to the expectant parents. While your intent behind the gift may be one of respect/thankfulness/happiness, it could be considered a bribe if not done correctly.

In our personal adoption journey, we gave our daughter’s birth mother a small gift at our first meeting and a necklace and flowers after the adoption took place. We gave the gifts to show appreciation and admiration for her. It is important to be aware of cultural considerations as well. Our daughter’s birth parents are Asian and we were told it was appropriate in their culture to bring a small gift.

So, you are in the process of an open adoption and meeting with the expectant parents for the first time, should you bring a gift and, if yes, what should the gift be? If you have had prior communications, are there areas that you have in common, such as music, a favorite food, or hobby? As examples, appropriate gifts could be a CD of favorite music, a gift card to a favorite food restaurant, or something applicable to a hobby (a photo album for a photographer, colored pencils for an artist) If there has been no prior contact, there are always more generic gifts, such as a gift card to a movie theatre, soaps and lotions, and flowers.

And what about later? If you are in an open adoption, you will continue to build a relationship. We give our daughter’s birth mother’s two older children gifts around their birthdays and Christmas, but you need to analyze your personal relationship and determine what is best.

So there is no right or wrong answer regarding gifts for birth parents/expectant parents. But I personally support the idea of small gifts for the expectant parents; it is a small way to show you respect and honor them.

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