Wednesday, November 18, 2015

What gifts did you bring for the foster parents/orphanage workers?

In Poland, children are placed with foster care parents or in an orphanage. Smalls was placed in foster care and she had foster parents that took care of her. (I am trying to be positive about Smalls' foster care experience because her caregivers were very neglectful to her.) Depending on your adoption agency, they may ask you to bring gifts to give out to individuals who are involved with your adoption. Some agencies may even ask for a cash donation to the orphanage center where your child has been staying. But most agencies recommend that you bring gifts to hand out while you are in Poland.

What gifts did you bring for the foster care parents/orphanage workers?

I feel like I get asked this question on a monthly basis in the various groups that I am apart of. We were told to bring $500 cash as a donation to the orphanage and gifts for officials that we would meet throughout out trip. Well, our daughter wasn't in an orphanage and we were able to put that money to the extra week that we had to stay in Poland because of paper work issues.

When I give gifts, I like to give gifts with a purpose. I don't just buy anything for anybody. It has to have purpose. The first question I asked myself was "how could my gift have purpose?". I want the officials to remember us and our daughter. After all they are entrusting one of their citizens in our hands for the rest of our lives. What could I give them so they could remember us? I want something that reflects where we are from and where Smalls will be living. Since we live in New Orleans, which is a very touristy town, I was able to find tons of touristy stuff that we could give out as gifts. I chose magnets that had New Orleans, La across it, scarves with fleur de lis, and coffee mugs with New Orleans, LA on it. I got all of these gifts from Walgreens because they had a great, but cheap selection of touristy items.

The sad part is about buying all of these gifts and traveling all the way to Poland and back is that I didn't hand out gifts like I thought. I wouldn't know where we were going or what we were doing most of the time, so I left all of the gifts in our apartment. I didn't want to pack around the gifts everywhere we went. I had a 40 lb. child that wanted to be carried and was scared most of the time. She needed constant attention. So, we brought back a lot of them and now hand them out to friends who visit our city.

Tips on What Gifts To Bring:

The size of the gift
 If you are thinking of bringing gifts to give out to others while in Poland, try to get gifts that are small enough to fit in your purse and that are not heavy to carry around. You could easily put a bunch of magnets in a ziplock bag in your purse and it not take up too much space or weigh your shoulder down. You want to be able to take these where ever you go because you don't know who you might meet when you are out and about. Don't make my mistake and go to all that trouble to bring gifts to not be able to hand them out.

The meaning of the gift
You want your gift to represent you and your family. Where do you live in the US? What is your hometown known for? You want the person getting the gift to remember you and your family.

The place to get your gift
I went to Walgreens, but you could probably go to any drug store. Most drug stores have a small section of touristy items. You could also try your local Walmart. In some of the check out lanes, Walmart has some touristy items. If you live in a small town and there isn't anything touristy about your town, don't fret there are other ideas. You could take a picture of your family in front of your house and turn that into a small magnet or a postcard. Don't forget to put your hometown and state at the bottom so that person will know where you are from. Look on shutterfly or other online picture services for other small gift ideas that you could put your picture on.

The gifts you can bring for others in the foster home
If there are other children in the foster home or in the orphanage that your child has been living with, you should definitely bring them gifts. Some ideas that you could bring are hard candy, playdoh, small toys, wordless picture books, a picture frame (and while you are in Poland take a picture of your child and their friend), or anything age appropriate.

The gifts to not buy
 Don't buy shot glasses. I know that every town has shot glasses with their hometown written on them, please refrain. Try to stay away from breakable items. Nothings worse than traveling across the world with gifts to hand out only to have them broken during your travel. I wouldn't get anything that is liquid. If your town is know for their hot sauce, bbq sauce, ect... and you really want to bring something like that, see if you can get the small bottle possible (I"m talking about the 1" size). I would also stay away from chocolate or anything else that has the potential to melt.

The gifts for foster parents
If your child is in foster care, you could bring an extra special gift for the foster parents. After all they have been taking care of your child. You could make a picture book of your family, home and hometown. You could get a picture frame with your family's picture in it. Anything that is personable to the foster parents to remember your family and the child that they cared for. Check out shutterfly for gift ideas that you could put your family's picture on.

Do you have any other suggestions? What worked or what didn't work for you?


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