Adopted children often don’t know what to make of their first Christmas with a new family. That is particularly true when they are not at all familiar with the holiday and all of its traditions. For some, it can be a frightening time; with lots of strangers hanging around, loud parties, and strange customs. For that reason, it is important that everyone involved do their very best to make an adopted child’s first Christmas as special as possible. For warm memories that will last for years, consider some of the following gift ideas.
Give the child a gift that you made yourself. It matters not whether the item is a wooden toy, a handmade doll, or a knitted scarf, he will appreciate that you spent the time to make the gift. Adopted children are sometimes suspicious or uncertain. They need constant reassurance of love and care. Nothing says that more than a handmade gift. The cost can be as minimal as you want to make it.
Present the child with a gift from from their culture. So many children that are adopted today come from foreign countries. Just because the child has moved from one country to another, doesn’t mean that he wants to turn away from the important aspects of his culture. Many toy stores like Toys R Us and even some discount department stores like Target carry at least a few toys aimed at foreign markets. If you don’t find something you like at a retail store, try an online source like Ebay.
A gift of a toy from their own culture is also a gift of comfort for the child as she makes the difficult adjustment. It also shows that the gift comes straight from the heart because the gifter took the time to find just the right present. The cost will generally range between about $19.99 and $49.99 dollars.
Buy books and movies in the child’s own language as well as the language of the new family. Again, if the adopted child comes from another country, that should not mean that he has to speak only the language of the new family. Encourage the child to become bilingual by providing books and movies in both languages; one in his language of birth and another in his new family's language. By reading the same book or watching the same movie in both languages, the child will become fluent in both more quickly and easily than many structured environments. Prices will vary depending upon the type and number of books or movies included, letting you have some control over the amount spent.
Try a teddy bear or other stuffed animal. Some toys transcend cultures. Teddy bears and other stuffed animals definitely fit into this category. Plush toys that can be cuddled and used as a temporary security blanket can help a child assimilate more quickly into a new environment.
You can even personalize the animal to the child by having her name stamped or embroidered onto the toy, choosing clothing from his cultural heritage, or recording a personal message that actually becomes part of the bear. The average cost at Ms. Teddy Bear and like companies is around $25 dollars. (See Resources below)
Give the child an Adoption Life Book (see Resources below). Like a baby book for newborns, the life book stores memories for the adopted child. These include things like the first time she met the adoptive parents; the first night home; the first family dinner; and much more. Adopted children need to know they are loved just as much as naturally born children. Carrying out some of the same traditions that families do with birth children will help them make a more natural transition. Prices begin at $24.95 dollars and go up from there.
Frame the child’s adoption certificate along with his photo and a poem that outlines why he is special as a “chosen child.” For very little cost, under $10 dollars, you provide the child with a gift that will last a lifetime.
Develop a representation of the family tree, including the adopted child. Let the child know that she is an important branch on the family tree by making it clear through visual representation. Draw it out on paper; print it up on the computer; or purchase something online at sites like Gifts. The cost can be minimal if you make it yourself.
Gift the child with a piece of jewelry that he can keep forever. Like a baby’s bracelet from the hospital, a pendant or bracelet that lists the child’s new name can help solidify the child’s place in the family. Engrave a personal sentiment on the underside such as “We will love your forever,” or “You will always be the child of our hearts.” Prices will range between $15.99 and up.