What should you get for a parent adopting an older child?

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The heartfelt welcome birth announcements from Minted.
The heartfelt welcome birth announcements from Minted.
A friend is adopting three older children (ages 6, 7, and 11) out of foster care very soon.

She already has a 12 year old at home, so she’s not a first-time mom, nor is she expecting a baby. But I’d really like to throw a shower of some sort for her, or at least arrange for some sort of group gift from our co-workers and mutual friends. But what should you get for a parent adopting an older child? -Anonymous

Any other older-kid adoption parents out there? What gifts would have helped you out? Gift card? Bedding? Clothes? Toys and books? Food?

Comments on What should you get for a parent adopting an older child?

  1. I haven’t gone through this, but I was almost going to be a foster parent to a couple of older children (their original foster patents were able to keep them, which is very awesome because they were already bonded). I would have loved experiences…. Passes to the zoo or the waterpark, movie tickets, etc. Things that encourage positive bonding time and the creation of happy memories!

  2. I was adopted when I was 9, after a childhood spent in foster care. Besides having new clothes for the first time, my parents took me to baseball/football games, picnics, shopping for brand new clothes (and underwear!!) , etc.- things I had never done before. Family and friends hosted a party and my best memory was a money tree- i had never seen money before, so it looked like a million dollars pinned to this funky Christmas tree. I had never hd a tea party or owned a baby doll, so they gave me those things that all little girls have.

    I suggest tickets for experiences, clothes store specific gift cards, starting college funds (even better if you share it with friends and family!) and offering to watch the other kids while the parents have one on one dates with each kid, biological and adopted.

    Tell your friend she’s a hero in my eyes!

  3. Tickets and/ or memberships!!! As a foster parent (soon to be adoptive parent) with foster to adopt friends, these gifts are the most appreciated! The zoo, science center, aquarium, or the YMCA are all great options.

    • We adopted 2 older kids after fostering them (6 and 10). Our favorite gifts were the zoo membership and gift cards. We got a ton of picture frames with the word family on them. And gave most to hang in the kids rooms. I agree with the experiences or gift cards for things. Pictures are important to the kids but instead of picture frames Id suggest already filled photo albums telling the kids who’s who.

  4. When we adopted our 11 yo from foster care, friends banded together and got us a deluxe zoo membership, which was awesome. We also got a lot of gift cards for ordering in, which was perfect because we were stretched very thin and it was wonderful to be able to spend time at home. At our son’s adoption party, we encouraged friends to bring a favorite hardcover children’s book with their photo and a message for him inside and he absolutely treasures those books (the photos make it easy for him to remember who gave which books).

  5. I am so happy to read this topic.I adopted my son, almost 4 years ago, from Peru. And here in Belgium, reactions were or black or white: my parents, the family, friends, would shower us – him with gifts, money, clothes, toys,…and shops would have reactions like “oh no, we dont do gifts lists of that type, we only do that for normal children” when i was asking to make a list for friends to buy from.”Normal children”…My son is “normal”. He springs on the sofa because he is not allowed to. He plays the cow boy with his horse Sparky (our dog Sophie). He loves knights and vikings and mud and long baths.So please do something for that wonderful family. Throw them a party. With toys and candies. And books. And LOVE.

  6. A gift certificate for a photographer. It is pretty wonderful to be able to document and commemorate things when the family becomes “official”. Building memories is so important, especially for kids.

  7. Food is always a great gift for new parents, no matter how old the kids joining the family are! Adding family members is a transition and it’s so nice to not have to worry about cooking!

    One idea that I like is a gift certificate to get family photos taken. We adopted our kids at birth, but had family pictures taken on both of their adoption finalization days to celebrate officially being a family!

  8. From personal experience, that you are even thinking of doing anything will mean the world. When we adopted our son, who was older with special needs… we were abandoned by pretty much everyone – our family, our church, most of our friends, and neither of our work did anything for us either (whereas they always gave showers for bio kids). We felt very alone and with no support, our first 6 months home were awful. Someone could have given us $5 and we would have thought they were saints.

    We already had two biological children, so we didn’t really need a lot of toys or clothes (although really, any present would have been appreciated)… food or gift certificates for groceries or restaurants would have been my first request. We had to cocoon with our son so we couldn’t go out a lot for a long time and something different to eat would have been a great encouragement. Gift cards for experiences or a photographer would have been great too – just make sure they don’t have an expiration date – like I said, for a long time, we just couldn’t leave the house.

    But really, the best thing any one could have done for us…. was just be happy for us. That is what we wanted so bad and were denied from so many… so like I said, that you are even wanting to celebrate their new child and family, that will mean so much! And because of that, there probably isn’t a “wrong” gift… 🙂

    *also a present just for the 12 year old they already have – that will be huge to them… our bio kids felt left out sometimes because we had to spend so much time with our new son , so anyone recognizing them in some small way went a long way with them

      • Thank you, Lydia…. we are doing well now. That first year was awful with no support, but we soldiered on and have a beautiful family and feel so lucky. Our family and friends look different now, but I think that turned out for the best too.

    • I felt similar to these folks who adopted. As a single man I adopted just one, then a few years later another, and finally ended up adopting a total of 11 children through the years… as a single dad. Not whining but I had similar experiences with colleagues (teachers), church friends (as a single with no Mom to push it), and even family my sons and I never received anything from anyone. Now, years old I am older the first son is now 40 and the youngest is 8…. I wanted people to like my kids but so often those “friends” must have felt awkward and were even reluctant for their own children associate with mine. Birthday parties were carefully avoided and no invites extended. It’s a if my sons were not good enough to mingle….. So, with all that being said, any show of positive attention, even an invite to watch a game on t.v. would have been sweet! So we “grew up” together creating our own parties, eating our own food, and celebrating a new life together. Gift cards would have been sweet, a sincere smile would have gone a long way….

  9. We’re adopting a 5 yo girl (placement this week!) and I’ve received several sweet gifts in the lead up. My boss, who has girls of her own, had her girls give some their old books that they really like and bought some products from Bath & Body Works that was in their favorite scent. My mom has gone into grandmother overdrive (not even her first granddaughter) and gave us so much stuff I can’t even list it all, but some particularly sweet things were hair ties, kindergarten activity books, finger paints, and musical instruments.

    We have access to a lot of free of activities in our town, so nobody’s given us anything like that, but those things would be a cool gift for pretty much any family for any life event. Redbox gift cards are neat, too, especially during “cocooning’ because it’s fun for little kids to pick out their own movies in the store as opposed to scrolling through netflix etc. and then watch them at home. I’m also in the process of having a lot of digital photos printed- kids really like the physical pictures and foster kids in particular like having pictures of themselves with the new family. If somebody gave me a gift certificate to a photo printing service, we’d be in good shape!

    Also echoing getting the 12 yo a gift. I don’t have any other children so it didn’t apply to us, but whenever my friends have babies I always try to get something special for the older siblings. New additions are hard on kids no matter the age and it’s nice to remind them you care for them, too.

    Honestly, a greeting card would be just as sweet as anything else. Just knowing that other people are happy for us is awesome! Your’e awesome for even thinking of it!

  10. Coupons for babysitting or playdates with your children if you have any. They won’t need them immediately but becoming a parent, while joyful, is also overwhelming.

  11. I think a great start is to ask them what the child is interested in . Just like any child each one is interested in different things . Gift cards to favorite eating places is always nice and any framed pictures you have of the child and their parent(s) to make a memory book would be a really nice gift.

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