The joyous day when a child joins a family permanently is one to celebrate in pictures, mementos and personal gifts to the child. When adopting a family group, it is even more important to commemorate the day that the children became one with you, legally as well as in your heart. While baby showers and celebration parties are often delayed until after the judge signs the adoption paperwork, some gifts shouldn't wait.
Whether the family's style is casual or traditional, a new family portrait taken on the day of the official joining is a memento you can give from the start. A professional photographer can meet and take pictures in front of the courthouse, at a nearby park, having dinner together, in a studio or at home. Select several sizes and poses for the family's picture wall, for each child's nightstand and for gift jewelry, such as lockets with the date inscribed inside. If it is an open adoption, you may also include the birth mother or parents in the photos and provide framed images for their homes.
An Adoption Book
Many children in foster care have nothing from their past lives. Assembling a special book that incorporates everything from photos to school records gives the child a sense of history and belonging. If the child's original foot and hand prints aren't available, make new ones using ink and acid-free paper. Add a lock of hair, pictures from previous foster parents if available, notes from teachers, and the latest pictures of the child and adoptive parents to make a memento to last a lifetime.
Every family has special traditions, whether it's an annual visit to a theme park or season tickets for a favorite sports team. A set of tickets, a team jersey or an infamously ugly family reunion T-shirt solidifies the family's bond with the newest member. Other small gifts that build new family traditions might include a set of personalized Christmas stockings, new ornaments for the tree, personalized mugs for hot chocolate or coffee, kufi caps for a father and son, or matching charm bracelets for a mother and daughter.
Books, Sports and More
Babies and very young children generally need clothing and toys, but older children appreciate gifts that reflect their interests. A picture book might focus on adoption, explaining in an age-appropriate way how some families grow through adoption. Older children may prefer action adventure, science fiction or mystery books. If the family plays sports, a new baseball glove, soccer shoes or a set of hockey skates and a helmet speed the child's participation in the sport with the other family members. Interactive electronics, such as video games, allow parents and children to play games together, enhancing their new relationship.
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