Adoptive parents don’t usually get to bring home from the hospital the pink or blue balloons, the half-dead flower arrangements with storks on the cards, the hospital bracelet, the nursery photos, or the hospital’s fancy birth certifcate (not for identification purposes but for treasuring-only purposes). As an adoptive parent of one child and a biological parent of two, these were the things that were missing when my son’s adoption finally became final.
Adopted babies are often placed in their adoptive homes for a period of time before the adoption is finalized, and adoptive parents may not feel comfortable celebrating until the finalization has taken place. For us, that quick trip in to see a judge and finalize the adoption was both anti-climactic and not a very big deal at all. We had a get-together, and people brought gifts, but the carry-all with my son’s name embroidered on it and the child’s music box (lovely as it was) were not the same as the traditional baby gifts I received when I brought my biological children home.
While I enjoyed and appreciated the gifts we got to celebrate the adoption, I found that I needed to find things myself that would give me and my son that same sense of beginnings, memories, and take-it-for-granted permanence the gifts for my other babies had brought; so I would stop at gift shops and see what they had that might somehow give my son’s beginnings similar memories.
The first thing I found was one of those handprints kits that have a frame, paint, and the verse about how tiny handprints turn into big ones one day. On another outing I looked through the cases where Christening, First Communion and Confirmation gifts were on display. There was a small wooden plaque with a little boy on it, and it could be engraved. I ordered one and had the finalization date and my son’s name engraved. As with biological babies, special children’s plates and spoon-and-fork sets in silver (or a particularly nice stainless pattern) would make a nice gift.
If parents are religious baby medals make a nice gift. tTny crosses for little girls are nice. For parents
who aren’t religious there are sometimes particularly nice figurines. A better charm bracelet with an appropriate charm or two make a good gift for the adoptive mother. Any piece of jewelry that has the new child’s birthstone is nice. When the child is an infant a baby book is an important thing for any mother to have. Gift-quality photo albums make a nice gift regardless of the age of the child. Particularly nice bookmarks with just the right verse on them make a nice little gift. A nice set of books for the child also makes a nice gift.
Finally, don’t forget the pink or blue balloons and a floral arrangement. All children deserve a beginning among pink or blue balloons and flower arrangements with pink or blue ribbons.