This is a continuation blog from part ones, “Gifts for Adoptive Parents.” The first part discusses gifts for the adoptees’ adoptive mother. Part two will discuss gift ideas for the birth mothers.
Even as the holiday season wraps up, it’s important to remember that other occasions, birthdays and special events will continue to come up that may require special gifts. In some instances, it may be appropriate for the adoptee or adoptive family to give a gift to the adoptee’s birth mother. The connection to birth mothers can be an emotional subject for the adoptee. It is important that no one pressures the adopted individual to meet or give gifts to their birth mother. Birth mothers also deal with similar issues as the adoptee: separation, loss, and depression. Gift giving should be a well thought out plan discussed between the adoptee and the adoptive parent or parents.
Conversations including these can be uncomfortable for the adoptee. Only the adoptee will know if they are ready to meet or give a gift to their birth mother. Different emotions and feelings that can arise when the adoptee, birth mother, and the adoptive parents are together. Therefore, the topic of adoption should always be a well thought out discussion. Adoptive parents may want to give a gift on their own, fine to do, but they should always discuss it with the adoptee first. If not, it may affect the relationships between all that are involved. It should be noted not all adoptees react to their adoption, gifts, and the birth mother the same and therefore each situation should be handled differently.
Searching the web for adoption gifts can send you to many directions. The following websites may offer a selection of items for the birth mother that one may consider to give. Websites include AdoptionGifts.com, AdoptShoppe.com and HandStampedTrinkets.com are among the examples where items can be purchased as potential birth mother gifts.
The relationship between the birth mother and adoptee can be rather sentimental. During the process of gift giving, the adoptee should be in a position to decide what item or items to give their birth mother. If the adopted individual decides to not give something to their birth mother, that decision should be made by themselves. All adoptees can feel different types of emotions and feelings towards their own birth mother. Some may not feel ready and have not closed that door, while others may not want to see their birth mother in fears of more heartbreak, abandonment, disappointment and/or anger.
One helpful adoption discussion board asked a question to adoptees and their adoptive parents whether they have had the opportunity in giving gifts to the birth mother or not. The following comments shared on Adoptive Family Circle page, discuss their own personal experiences around the topic of gifts, which can be found here on their discussion board. The comments can give more personal insight on both adoptees and their adoptive parents in reference to birth mothers.
Adoptees to their Birth Mother
Adoptees may already be facing different emotions and stressful feelings when the topic of their birth mother is mentioned. Both adoptee and birth mother can fear amendment issues and separation anxiety. Though, adoptees that have met their birth mothers may look at giving gifts as an appropriate and exciting opportunity.
Adopted individuals should always feel giving a gift or spending time with their birth mother should be their decision, whether if they decide to do so or not. Adoptees want to have the support from their adoptive family on whatever they decide.
The following list is items adoptees may consider well-suited gifts for their birth mothers if they decide on giving a gift:
- Birthstone Jewelry – Adoptees may decide a thoughtful keepsake gift for their birth mothers is the birthstone of the adoptees birth month. This item is something the birth mother can wear anywhere they go. A jewelry piece picked out by the adoptee is considered a sentimental gift. The following are some websites that have beautiful birthstone items such as this gold necklace that can be purchased here.
- Home Videos – Over the years the adopted individual may have had videos taken by friends and family over the years they would like to share. Although, this can be another emotional item for the birth mother to receive because the videos may contain different events she may have not been there to witness in person. The videos and/or clips may also trigger loss the birth mother may already be feeling, however, the adoptees’ decision in wanting to share the video is to feel a connection with their birth mother, not to hurt them. The decision on what videos to share should be decided solely by the adoptee.
- Adoptees Favorites – There may be items while the adoptee was growing up they found comfort and joy in. The different items adopted may consider their favorites ranging from foods, books, music and possibly childhood toys. These items that can be placed in a nice basket, box, and/or given at different times for different occasions to the birth mother. Giving their favorite items allows not only the birth mother to feel closer to their child, but the adoptee to feel closer to their birth mother.
- Photo Album – Collecting photos for their birth mother allows them to feel a part of the times they may have not had been in a position to be there in person. They can see and visualize graduations, birthdays, achievements and other events in the adoptees’ life. Birth mothers often daydream about these types of events, therefore, to see and keep may help them come to peace with some aspects of the adoption. The adopted individuals should be the ones who decide what photos to share, as their home videos.
Adoptive Parents to the Birth Mother
Adoptive parents and single parented individuals may want to give a special gift to the birth mother. This decision on giving the gift should be discussed with their adoptive child or children. Giving a gift to the birth mother can be a rather sensitive thing to do. There can be built up and harbored feelings and emotions that may occur if the topic of gift giving involving their birth mother is brought up. Although, if done properly, and with a well thought out discussion between both, adoptee and parents, it can be a wonderful thing to do.
The gifts that one should consider giving should be a rather personal gift. A gift well thought out and put together nicely. Birth mothers understand they no longer have sole custody of their child and therefore, their new guardian is who takes care of them now. This can still be a fragile situation for them and giving a gift can make things awkward and uncomfortable for the birth mother. Asking if it is okay to give a gift before ultimately handing them something is a good way at not springing the gift as a surprise. Therefore, the birth mother can prepare herself and not feel ambushed or embarrassed by the gesture. Either way, gift giving for the birth mother is an emotional moment for all involved and should be taken delicately as they as well, have had to deal with loss and separation.
In particular, the adoptive mother may feel the need to want to give the birth mother a gift as a way to thank them. Thanking them for giving them the greatest gift imaginable, a child. The relationship between the adoptive parent and mother can be special because they both have an understanding of giving their child the best life possible.
Below are some gifts to consider giving to birth mothers from the adoptive parents or parent:
- Photographs – Adoptees may have a collection of photos they may want to create collages or made into a personalized photo album. Adoptive parents or parent may feel the need to show them photographs of things they did as a family to show the birth mother they were to fulfill a wonderful life for their child. Photographs can be a wonderful touch, but keep in mind the photographs shown may trigger different emotions for the birth mother and should be handled carefully.
- Home Videos – Like the adoptee gift idea, there may be videos the adoptee may not have realized were taken, but by that token should not be kept a secret. For example, there may have been a video of his or her first day of preschool the adoptee does not remember, but the adoptive parents or parent remember as being a crucial time for them. That might be a video worth sharing only if the adoptee feels comfortable in sharing that video or other videos like that.
- Matching Jewelry – Adoptive parents may find matching jewelry as a gift to feel a special bond and/or connection with the birth mother. As shown in the photo, an adoptive parent may want to have a necklace that connects them both to their child. This particular jewelry represents the two mothers and circle necklace with the heart holes would be worn by the adoptee, as meaning all three are connected to one another. Items like this can be found on websites like Etsy.
- Etsy – Adoptive parents may want to refer to the website Etsy.com, which is a website created to purchase custom or unique handmade gifts, shown in the photo of a necklace charm, engraved “Rosanna, Loved by many.” They have a range of items an adoptive parent may consider when gifting a one of kind gift to the birth mother.
- Safe keeps – Over the years the adoptive parent may have given the adoptive child stuffed animals, or something sentimental. These items may have represented something to the adoptee. As long as the adoptee agrees with the gift, this can be a cherished item for the birth mother to have.
You never want to give a gift that can be hurtful or insensitive. Gift a giving can be a critical first step in building a relationship with a birth mother. One should think of it as, “extending the olive branch,” when it revolves the birth mother. Many feelings are on the line during these gift exchanges, and adoptees and their adoptive family should not expect the birth mother to give a gift back. The birth mothers can feel uncomfortable when receiving a gift from their child and/or adoptive family. Therefore, their feelings should be taken extra cautiously when approaching the idea of gifts for the birth mothers.
When a gift is well thought out for the adoptive parents and birth mother it can make for a meaningful lifelong treasure. At the end of the day, both sets of parents want to see their child happy, healthy and with a family who will love them unconditionally. That is one of the greatest gifts for the birth mother to have.
To read “Part 1: Gifts for Adoptive Parents,” please click here.
“13 Meaningful Ideas for Birth Parent Gifts.” American Adoptions – Tennessee Adoption Laws | Adoption Laws in TN, 4 Aug. 2017, www.americanadoptions.com/blog/13-meaningful-ideas-for-birth-parent-gifts/.
Editorial Team. “Gifts for Birth Parents: Our Readers Weigh In.” Adoptive Families, Adoptive Families Magazine, 25 Oct. 2016, www.adoptivefamilies.com/adoption-process/placement-gifts-for-birth-parents/.
Editorial Team. “Holiday Adoption Gift Ideas from Our Site Advertisers.” Adoptive Families, Adoptive Families Magazine, 13 Nov. 2018, www.adoptivefamilies.com/parenting/adoptive-family-holidays-celebrations/holiday-adoption-gift-guide-2018/.
“Etsy: Adoption or Surrogate Charm Name” Etsy, 2018, https://www.etsy.com/listing/178415455/adoption-or-surrogate-charm-name-charms?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=birth+mother+adoption+gift&ref=sc_gallery-2-10&plkey=34acdbbf747ebe778f778e44009b8e184f279ae2%3A178415455.
“Etsy – Birth Mother.” Etsy, 2018, www.etsy.com/search?q=birth%2Bmother.
“Etsy: Birthstone Necklace” Etsy, 2018, https://www.etsy.com/listing/553576269/custom-november-birthstone-necklace-with?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=birthday+charm+for+moms&ref=sr_gallery-2-11&organic_search_click=1&frs=1.
“Gift for Birthmother.” Adoption Social Network from Adoptive Families Magazine: Community, Blogs, Photos, Forums, Adoptive Families Magazine, June 2010, www.adoptivefamiliescircle.com/groups/topic/Gift_for_Birthmother/.
“Etsy: Mother Daughter Heart Necklace Set,Matching Heart Necklace.” Etsy, 2018, www.etsy.com/listing/182618483/mother-daughter-heart-necklace?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=Matching%2BAdoption%2BNecklace&ref=sr_gallery-1-14&organic_search_click=1.
Many Hearts One Beat. “Adoption Keepsake Gifts from Many Hearts One Beat.” Many Hearts One Beat, 2018, https://www.manyheartsonebeat.com/.
United States, Congress, “Openness in Adoption: Building Relationships Between Adoptive and Birth Families.” Openness in Adoption: Building Relationships Between Adoptive and Birth Families, 2013, pp. 1–12. https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/f_openadopt.pdf