Gift-Giving During Adoption in Kansas: From Birth Mother to Adoptive Child
Adoption Choices of Kansas understands the difficulties birth mothers face around the holidays. This season emphasizes the importance of family and being together with our loved ones. However, the reality for some birth mothers is not so easy when it comes to wanting to be a part of this special time of year with their biological children. Whether you chose a Wichita adoption as a result of teen pregnancy, unplanned pregnancy, or to help a family struggling to start their own family, giving up your baby for adoption can leave women filled with an overwhelming amount of emotions that become intensified during a time of year that is meant to be full of joy and cheer. Just know you are not alone. Adoption Choices of Kansas is here to offer women who are in an open adoption setting an appropriate and meaningful way to practice gift-giving during adoption.
Do – Check-In With The Adoptive Family Beforehand
Every relationship between an open-ended adoptive family and birth mother is different when it comes to communication and contact. Before sending your biological child a gift, or planning a visit, check in with the adoptive family to make sure they are okay with you sending presents or planning a holiday outing with the child. Respect the adoptive family’s boundaries, and allow them to have their own traditions that you may or may not be a part of. If you’re not in regular contact with the adoptive family, this also gives you an opportunity to find out what specific gifts the child needs, what they are currently into, what gifts the adoptive parents are happy to accept, and things the child doesn’t need.
Don’t – Isolate You And The Child From The Adoptive Family
For open adoptions, special moments between the birth mother and their child are important- especially during significant occasions, milestones, and holidays. However, it’s important to remember to incorporate their adoptive family into your gestures to avoid making the child feel as if it’s you vs. the adoptive parents or that they need to divide themselves between adult figures in their lives. Avoid pulling the child away from spending the holidays with their adoptive family, and instead, celebrate this special season together. Some examples of this could be doing a gift exchange all together with the birth mother, adoptive family, and child or planning a group outing. Another idea is to set some gift ideas aside to be from all three adult figures to the child. You can also buy a gift for the adoptive parents as a kind gesture as well if you have a positive relationship with them and want to show consideration towards them.
Do – Put Meaning Into Your Gift
Gifts do not need to be expensive or luxurious to be considered sentimental. If you are on a tighter budget this holiday season, try collaborating on a gift with the adoptive parents for your child. You can create a homemade gift such as a photo album or pre-written letters for your biological child to open throughout the year from you. If you favor experiences over tangible items, you can plan a fun outing for you and your biological child. Try not to repeat the same gifts every year, as it can seem not as thoughtful. Be considerate to your child’s age, their interests, what gifts are appropriate for them, and what will make them feel thought of. Do not put pressure on yourself to spend a significant amount of money. The thought and gesture towards making an effort to be a part of the child’s holiday will matter much more to them in the long run than an expensive toy or electronic.
Don’t – Try To Upstage The Adoptive Family
As stated in the point above, a monetary amount is not an appropriate factor when gifting something to your biological child or their family. It is not a contest to see which adult buys the nicest gift and if you feel pressure to do so, communicate that with the adoptive family and explain that your intentions are to be a positive figure in the child’s life during these special moments. Winning over the child’s love through materialistic items is not in good taste when it comes to gift-giving. It should not be an uncomfortable experience for both the adoptive parents or the birth mother when the child is opening gifts, and no one should feel that their gesture is less special because of the price tag on it. Remember to collaborate with the adoptive parents to set a gift budget, agree on appropriate gifts, and make sure everyone feels respected in advance.
Do – Create Memorable Traditions
Sometimes the best memories for the child during the holiday season are not gifts at all but special traditions that they can look forward to every year. As their biological mother, whether you see them on a regular basis or only on special occasions, coming to an agreement with the adoptive parents on a holiday tradition you can do alone with the child, or all together with the parents included can be a great way to celebrate the season, and make everyone feel respected. Perhaps there is a special restaurant you take the child to each year or visiting Christmas lights, maybe even set a time for you to visit on Christmas eve or Christmas morning. Creating memorable moments between you and the child can help form and maintain a special relationship.
Don’t – Make It All About Presents
It’s understandable as an adopted child’s birth mother wanting to be able to make the child feel special, thought of, and excited with gifts during the holiday season. Seeing a child’s eyes light up with a new toy, clothing item, or surprise sparks joy in any adult. It has become such a common way to show consideration and love during this time of year. However, gifts are not the most important aspect, and it’s important to keep that in mind and make sure the child in your life knows that too. Being an active part of their life and these special moments is a healthy and appropriate gesture to show them that even if you are not the main adult figure in their life, they are still thought of and loved by you. Use this time to connect with your biological child, strengthen your relationship, and be a light in their lives during this joyful time of year.
Practicing Proper Gift-Giving During Adoption
Adoption Choices of Kansas hopes to serve as positive guidance to all pregnant women, women considering adoption, or women who have given their child up for adoption. Open adoption relationships between adoptive families and the birth mother can be difficult to navigate, especially if you are on your own but still want to be a positive role model in your biological child’s life. Learning how to set boundaries and respect both the adoptive parents, child, and biological mother will help make this holiday season less of a challenge and more of a memorable experience.
Choosing adoption is not giving up. If you need unplanned pregnancy help now, Adoption Choices of Kansas serves birth parents statewide and beyond. We can help with teen pregnancy, financial assistance, difficult situations, and more. Please call us or text us to learn more! Call Us 877-903-4488 or Text Us 316-209-2071
Meet the Author: Allie Nowak is in her senior year of undergrad at Illinois State University studying public relations, with a minor in health & wellness coaching. She is extremely passionate about writing, digital content creating, and all things related to lifestyle & wellness. In her free time, she enjoys serving as editor-in-chief and publishing articles for her university’s chapter of Her Campus, the nation’s largest media platform for college women. You can also find her spending time with friends and family, traveling, reading, and walking her two golden doodles. She currently lives in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago where she was born and raised.