What Do You Get the Girl Who Already Gave the “Gift of Adoption”?
Since the holiday season is upon us, I thought it might be good to get a post up about some good adoption gift ideas.
I know I have seen lists of possible gifts for a birthmother, though I have to admit that they usually are lists that make the rounds on the adoptive parents boards or sites. Which really, I see nothing wrong with that. It shows caring when an adoptive parent really wants to be appropriate and get a good gift for their child’s birthmother whether it be the December holidays, or Mother’s Day, or her birthday or even that after-relinquishment “thank you gift“. Of course, I can’t say that I believe there really IS a gift that adequately says “Thank you for giving us your baby”. Let’s face it, a birthstone necklace is a poor substitute for your own child.
Better then the “Pampered Birthmother” Gift Basket
Now of course, I know that there already are official “Birth Mother Gift Baskets”. BMB a non-profit organization that sells baskets filled with “handpicked items to pamper a birth mom”. Now I love a good face mask, use hand cream and a fresh new loofa is always welcome in my house; but when your belly is a deflated balloon, your breasts are leaking milk, and your eyes are puffy from grief and sleepless nights, I don’t think that a bubble bath is really gonna do it.
I’m serious. I wish I kept track of how many times I have read “relax and take a bubble bath” as a real recommendation for a newly separated birth mother to “feel better”. “Get your nails done” is another favorite.
Hi, I just failed as a mother and cannot even get it together to take care of my baby. My life is at an all time low and I can barely get out of bed, but hey! Gel nail tips in purple will set me straight!
Umm.. no. Just no.
I still will keep to my stance that, really, searching for ways a birthmother can heal is pretty much an exercise in futility, but even if one is resigned to continued life with a giant aching hole in one’s heart, you still have an occasion to receive a gift!
Top Three Birthmother Gifts on Most Adoption Gift Idea Lists
Most of the lists of “Birthmother Gifts” seem to focus on things like birthstone rings or necklaces. I can deal with that, though it is a bit cliché. I prefer the birthstone or something that validates one’s motherhood better than the religious toned things, but of course, that’s just me.
Then there is a whole hand print/ foot print/ kids art train of thought. Personally, I like these the best as I have a strong appreciation for children’s handmade Christmas ornaments, broken or not.
There are also many items in the “photo” vein on the Birthmother Gift lists; photo albums, picture frames, etc.
Listen, it’s all very nice, but the typical “gifts for birthmother” can easily be swapped out for the same items on “grandma’s gift list” which I guess wouldn’t be so bad if they both got to see and hold the kid at the same level too, but still…
I find these birthmother gifts to be untruthful and almost insulting. To me, pleasant pastoral gifts like these take the seriousness out of the relinquishment process and reduce it to a rite of passage, like confirmation, that can remembered fondly, rather than accepting the loss and trauma caused by adoption separation. They make it seem like the act of relinquishment is something that can be so noted with a special Pandora charm bead. Am I being too grouchy? I don’t particular like those overpriced beaded bracelets I know they make them to record the births of one’s child, but a relinquishment ‘charm’ would be as acceptable as fondly remembering one’s violent rape with a pretty bead. Ludicrous, right? If you can get PTSD, then jewelry to mark the “life event” is just too tacky for me.
So What’s a Realistic Gift for a Birth Mother?
Based on my careful observation of post-relinquishment life for the past 25 plus years, I have come up with a carefully thought out list of items that are really needed at certain points of the relinquishment journey. Many of these items have been suggested over time from other birthmothers based on their own needs and life findings post adoption separation.
A Case of Kleenex Tissues
A lifetime supply of tissues would actually be better. No, birthmothers are not more prone to colds and allergies, but tears? Yes, an endless supply of tears. For the more green minded girl post relinquishment, may I suggest hand embroidered hankies? Perhaps they could have cheerful Adoption Kool-Aide sayings on them kind of like the fun days of the week panties? ” He’s in a better place” and “My baby deserves more than I could give” and “Adoption is a loving option.”
Glitter is pretty. Glitter sparkles. Glitter makes everything better when you sprinkle it! A layer of glitter over the top of things catches the light and provides an easy distraction when you don’t want to see what really lies underneath. Yes, the best glitter is the kind collected from unicorn farts, but in a pinch, the store bought kind will do.
Glitter Duct Tape
What’s BETTER than glitter; Glitter that is sticky!! No really, it’s much neater and can stick to everything. I find that the glitter duct tape is very handy to use when wrapping up our boxes of adoption demons. You know, all those ugly nasty thoughts that like to come out and attack late in the night when you are alone and feeling a bit down. You can also use your pretty glitter duct tape to tape your mouth shut when you have to interact with various members of the public or even with your family. Like that movement in the office when know if that stupid bitch down in purchasing says one more an ignorant thing about Dusten Brown you might have to either tell her a piece of your mind or take her out with a lunch tray in the cafeteria? Glitter duct tape to the rescue!! The glitter makes it luck much less “kidnapped by serial killer” and more like “making a fashion statement”
A Personalized Super Hero Cape
Listen, the folks at the adoption agency said she was a hero. If she’s not being hailed as a over-sexualized-irresponsible-non birth-control-using-abandoner, then portions of the public like to say she is a hero. Shouldn’t she be super proud of her loving sacrifice and let the whole world in on her little secret? Birthmothers are heroes! She needs a cape, dammit, preferably one with glitter!
I like this one with a big “L” on the back,. This way all the world knows that “L” stands for LOSER as in LOSER you gave your baby away! But you can then flip it over and say it stands for love…
Halo and Angels Wings!
Now you can go for the traditional Golden halo and angel wings in pure white for your favorite “family building angel”, but considering that white means “virgin” and well… we are just a tiny bit way, way past that, I prefer the black set myself. The Family Building Angle Wings in Birthmother Black really is the way to go. The black, besides signifying her fallen status, also brings on a notion of “Angles of Death” which really is quite apropos. I am, of course, talking into consideration that most birthmothers I know do consider that there was a symbolic death of the girl that she was before relinquishment. So the girl we were dies, we become angles and then we are fallen and can’t get up and stuck on earth with our shadow selves.
I know it sounds gross, but when a birthmother finds that the adoption Kool-aid is wearing off and she starts jonesing for “positive thoughts” then an emergency supply of unicorn farts is a must have in any birthmother’s pantry! When a birthmother deeply inhales from a bag of unicorn farts, she can easily avoid hyperventilation and the rush of bitterness that comes forth from under her cold dead heart. Sometimes, her radical jump to being one of those horrid “anti- adoption” folks is just one breath of unicorn gas away.
Double Rainbow Jello Shots Cakes
Hallo! Rainbow Jello shots! Need I say more? How else can you get both your happy rainbow dosage of the day AND a massive amount of mind numbing alcohol in one shot? Oh, and it’s CAKE too which means that with a shit load of these you could probably survive a month or more on just rainbows, cake and vodka alone. Mental note for me: Maybe I should put that theory to test next November for NAAM? Here’s a link to the recipe for the Double Rainbow Jello cakes cupcakes shots yum
Unicorn Poop Cookies
Brand New Crack Pipes
Yes, even the worst Crack Whore Birth Mother like a new crack pipe now and then, Plus, I understand that they are made from glass? I would assume they break kind of often. Now, of course, a crack pipe will not be for every birthmother, just the crack heads. Luckily I also understand that lots of crack pipes can be purchased at dollar stores and gas stations with plastic/ silk roses in them. So you give her a “rose” in “glass” and see what she thanks you for! If you get it wrong, no harm no foul!
Therapy Gift Card
Maybe a frequent flyer discount card or prepay some sessions? Of course the REAL challenge will be IF she can actually find a therapist who is not an adoption counselor associated with an adoption agency or a mental health professional that understands the specific needs of the birthmother population. However, if you supply the card and give her encouragement to “take control of her healing” you can say you tried and if she still feels bad, then it’s her fault.
An adoption themed pill box for a birthmother’s meds and anti-depressants is a gift that a birthmother will never leave home without. They fit in her pocket so she can bring her Zanaxs everywhere and always be prepared for a trigger induced anxiety attack.
Other Gifts with an Adoption Theme for Birthmothers
When you start thinking realistically about what life as a birthmother is really about, then there are actually ton’s of gifts that you would never give to grandma, but that really are perfect for your favorite tummy mummy!
Substitute the crack pipe for her drug of choice! Think fresh needle kits or pass her your doctor-brother’s prescription pad.
A gift certificate at a liquor store is handy if she’s a drinker/ party girl. Might I add the “A for Adoption Scarlett Letter” flask or shot glasses are rather nice!
I also like the idea of “Baby Blinders” which is kind of a take on horse blinders, but this would allow a newly separated mom to remove other infants from her line of sight. Perhaps a “Get Out of Every Baby Shower Free” card might be better?
For you big spenders who really want only the BEST for everyone in your life including “your birthmother” give her a tummy tuck, boob job and a loaded gun. This way her body will be back to its shape and “as if” she wasn’t a mother. Of course, we can’t do anything about her grief and loss; hence the loaded gun.
If you are not into the NRA, then might I suggest her very own personalized straight jacket? I think they only come in white*, but come on.. there is NOTHING that can’t be made special with the Bedazzler! Just think of it..add some glitter, embroider a unicorn, and add the adoptees hand prints on with puffy glitter paint.. bedazzle the shit out of that thing….OMG! Perfect!!!
If you are a birthmother and have received a great gift that really touched you, please share it in the comments. And happy holidays! Remember Adoption equals love and you ARE a special glitter covered hero!