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I know this is an extremely specific post but this is a topic I personally struggled with and wanted to post on in order to help others who may also be struggling.
When matched with an expectant mother in the adoption process it’s typically advised to not make any purchases for her during the match. You just don’t want to start an unhealthy situation and it’s wise to allow any funds being given to the expectant mother to be filtered through the lawyer or agency etc. States differ with adoption laws but we were told that legally we couldn’t give her any money etc directly.
During my personal match experience I attended many of her dr appointments with her and we had a routine where I’d drive her to and from the visits and also take her out for a meal together, in which I’d pay. She was ALWAYS grateful and we have never had a single issue come up where she asked us for money or items or made us feel like she was in some way wanting something from us. Actually she’d complain to me about the lawyer and the funds she’d receive…I don’t think she understood that the money she got to help pay for her living expenses from the lawyer actually originally came from us ha!
Even though it’s advised to be very cautious and careful about purchases for an expectant mother in an adoption situation, it’s very, very common to purchase a gift to give to her either at the time of delivery or when the baby is placed with the adoptive family. Whenever it’s a comfortable time. If it’s an open adoption situation then it’s also common to send gifts on occasion such as birthdays or Christmas etc.
I debated a LOT about what an appropriate gift for our child’s mother would be. I asked around a lot in the adoption community and realized the biggest thing to consider when giving this gift is to think through the long term relationship she will have with this child:
- With An Open Adoption Plan: If you have an open adoption with plans to have visits and have her actively involved in the child’s life it can help in deciding what type of gift to give. Something very personal and meaningful directly about the baby might be best. Jewelry with the child’s birth stone. Something with their name. Something including both the mother and child in it. Since the child’s mother will know them, see them regularly, and be an active part of their life a personal gift will have extra meaning.
- With A Closed Adoption Plan: If there isn’t a long term open plan with the expectant mother, then a personal gift is probably not appropriate. A constant reminder of the baby she’s not raising and not seeing on a regular basis may be a source of pain rather than a positive reminder.
- With A Semi-Open Plan: This was what our situation is. Our expectant mother desired for no physical relationship with the baby but will have pictures sent to her on a regular basis with updates, etc. I felt like a very personal gift would be a tougher reminder but I did want something for her to have to symbolize the baby without being too direct about it.
It’s great if you are able to know some personal interests about her and can give her something meaningful to her and not only related to the baby. You want to acknowledge her as an individual outside of being the mother of this child. She’s a person. She matters to you as who she is, not just the gift she’s giving you in the opportunity to raise this baby.
Another route to take is also to focus on the healing process. Childbirth is no joke and there are tons of wonderful gifts to give an expectant mother that she can enjoy during the postpartum period.
Here are some great gift ideas:
- Robe and slippers for hospital
- Fuzzy Socks
- Manicure kit/nail polish
- Jewelry (birthstone, name initial, etc)
- A gift for both her and baby (a blanket that you use to take the photos of the baby on to send to her while she has the same blanket…same concept but a stuffed animal etc)
I decided to do a combination of things. I wanted to give her some personal items that I knew she’d personally enjoy, some things that she could use in the hospital and at home during recovery and something meaningful longterm to remind her of us and show our appreciation and recognize the love she has for her baby.
Our birth mother loves adult coloring books so I got her a couple as well as some pens and I got her a bag of her favorite candy. I also got her some pjs (and got myself a matching set), some fuzzy socks with lotion (her feet struggled a lot with swelling during pregnancy), and a blanket (I’m obsessed with these blankets, they are LIFE CHANGING (Kohl’s Big One Throws) and knew she’d enjoy using it while in the hospital and at home).
I also purchased her a necklace. I decided not to go with a birth stone or name or initial or anything like that but instead to go with something less obvious. I loved this knot design and how it had a connected with three parts. I told her it represented her, me and our baby. She really loved it!
Our expectant mother has other children who live with her. Three kids who are all small. I knew her recovery time at home would be TOUGH with three little ones running around so I put together a bag of goodies for her children in hopes that they could play and be entertained so she’d be able to rest a bit. I purchases games, mess-free coloring books, stickers and fun washcloths.
When you are matched with an expectant mother the amount of appreciation you feel is overwhelming. You know she’s giving you the best gift and it’s easy to feel intense pressure to give her something meaningful and special. The most important thing is to let her know you love her and appreciate her. A physical gift is a nice reminder of those emotions, but most importantly write her a letter and express those feelings. A letter to her will be something she will always cherish and will help give her peace in her healing process. Don’t overthink it or stress over saying everything “perfectly.” Just share your heart and let her know the love you have for her and the love you have for her child!
The relationship between adoptive parents and birth parents is very tender and, I believe, the more that relationship is fostered and the deeper the connections become the smoother the entire process becomes for all parties involved. Have an open mind and heart and try to always put the feelings of the birth family first throughout your match!