The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services encourages adoptive families to spend time with their newly adopted child when the child is first placed with them. Gifts that promote family bonding during this initial period and acknowledge the child's background and culture show thoughtfulness and consideration to the adoptee and her family.
Books that celebrate the newcomer as an adoptee or honor her heritage help her feel welcomed and comfortable -- and will be special keepsakes throughout her life. According to Kirkus Review, Todd Parr's book "We Belong Together" for ages 2 to 5 is reassuring to adoptees -- and the repetition and brightly colored illustrations will appeal to a young girl or a girl who is just beginning to learn English. Other keepsake books for newly adopted girls include "Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born" by actress Jamie Lee Curtis and "Over the Moon: An Adoption Tale" by Karen Katz -- both which feature beautiful art work and are recommended for ages 4 to 8.
Cindy Probst, an adoptive mother and social worker, encourages adoptive families to create a lifebook. A lifebook is the adoptee's story of her life before she was adopted -- told from her perspective. You can purchase a lifebook online -- and in some cases, even customize it to suit the adoptee's unique situation. But if you're crafty, you might want to create your own homemade lifebook for the adoptee, using scrapbook papers and including folders within the book to hold keepsakes and mementos.
A Gift Basket
The Adoptive Families website stresses the importance of the initial bonding between parents and child. A gift basket filled with activities for the adoptee to do with her new parents will show thoughtfulness while helping to encourage a healthy attachment. Fill the basket with a deck of cards or age-appropriate board games that the family can play together. Include different colors of nail polish so the adoptee and her mom can take turns painting each other's nails. You might also want to include a movie that the family can watch together.
A gift card for a family outing will promote bonding while also giving the girl a new and exciting experience. For a younger adoptee, passes to the zoo or a gift certificate to the neighborhood ice cream shop are sure to impress. For a school-aged adoptee, tickets to a movie, passes to a local museum or a gift certificate for mother-daughter pedicures might go over well.