Tuesday, January 29, 2008

What are the Best Referral Gifts

Since all I do know is think about the referral. I am trying to figure out the best gift to send to the children to let them know that I am on my way.

Here are a few things that I am considering:
  1. Me. I am hoping on a plane right after I receive the referral to meet them.
  2. My father. He is going with me.
  3. Picture of me in a talking picture frame with me talking of course.
  4. A picture book with pictures of the house and their room.
  5. Snow globe with a pictures in it. Isn't every kid fascinated by a snow globe? Sort of a warm up to a Chicago blizzard like it looks like we are having tonight.
  6. Matching bracelets or necklaces. I would have the same to help them recognize me. I like the idea of ID bracelets, name bracelets, or necklaces with a cross charm.
  7. Writing a children's book for them illustrated by my father. My favorite idea.
  8. Something fun that they can share with the other kids like a case of bubbles.
  9. If I'm feeling really brave, I could sent them a tape of me singing them song or a few nursery rhymes.
Any ideas? What did you send?


Holly said...

Hi Valerie!
We are only in the beginning stages of our Ethiopian process, but we adopted our 2 yr.old son from China this summer at age 21 months!
We accepted his referral when he was 15 months old in Feb. 07, but were not allowed to send him anything until we got pre approval from China and that was sometime between March and April! Anyway- we sent a total of 3 care packages while we waited to travel. He was in foster care, so I'm not sure if this will work but my FAVORITE care package item was a disposable camera! His foster mother took pictures (I wrote his Chinese name on the camera as well as sending Chinese instructions for operation) and when we received our son, we also received the camera back for development. We were able to see where he lived and what he wore and those pictures are priceless to us! We also sent a blanket, a stuffed yellow lab puppy wearing a fancy luggage tag as a collar with a wallet sized photo of our dog, a mini. yellow lab mutt!, mini M&M's in a tube, Dum-Dum suckers and a hooded Cookie Monster sweatshirt, oh yes, and a Playskool toy car.
I also sent a soft baby photo album with pictures of each of us in the family. Later I sent pics of the house and more of the family, and lots of his room and his things. (labeled all pictures in Chinese) I sent snap beads and blocks and a small praying bunny toy. The best ideas for me were the camera and the baby album- both were returned when we met him and he still will carry that photo book around and say our names! I really think it helped him to accept us! We didn't get back any of the other items, except the lab/Mac dog, but we were okay with that! I think it is AWESOME that you can go after referral. We would love to do that but not sure if we can afford 2 trips. We'll see!

graceling said...

First, I would suggest nothing that requires batteries or electicity. Just a thought.

Love the idea of a book illustrated by your father.

Photo albums with captions/labels tend to go over well. Pictures of you, your family, your home, and some good ole Chicago SNOW (and ice, and sleet...) What fun it would be to send pictures of kids sledding so that they can imagine some of the new and different things they will do once they come home!

Also love the idea of a disposable camera!

I like the idea of something to share with the other children, but not sure if bubbles would be best (might not ship well as I've been told) so something like pencils, stickers, balloons...?

So fun to think about!

graceling said...

Oh, thought of something else- what about shirts that match- you can all have matching shirts and can wear them when you go to meet them/pick them up!

VALARIE - Single, Ethiopian-bound, mother-to-be of two bright-eyed Ethio children. said...

Grace and Holly good ideas. As I understand any clothing that I send will end up in the general pile once it gets washed, so I might try the t-shirts when I'm actually there and ready to bring them home. Since I will actually get to go and take the gifts it may give me a few options.

K Doxsee said...

Hi Valerie,

I have been following your blog for awhile now and really enjoy it! Thank you for sharing...

I am just about one-two weeks away from sending in my dossier and then the waiting game begins for me.

I have also thought about this and I think what I would like to do is "Build a Bear" (I am from Canada not sure what it would be called in the States) I will select a stuffed animal and I get to stuff it with fluff and then add a heart to it (I will of course say a prayer for my little girl) and the cool thing is that you can also add a recording - so the baby can hear your voice. I actually did this for my Mom, before my Grandma lost her ability to speak with Alzheimers I recorded her saying "I Love You" and I made a build a bear with it and gave it to my Mom...this has extra special meaning now as we lost my Grandma this past August.
Even if you don't want to record a saying you can play a favorite lullaby to, so the kids can get used to it.
Lots of fun thinking about stuff like this!!!

VALARIE - Single, Ethiopian-bound, mother-to-be of two bright-eyed Ethio children. said...

We actually have build-a-bear in the States. I love it.

graceling said...

Valarie, I was thinking about you today (while I was in Target, of all places!)

I know you mentioned a book illustrated by your dad, which is a great idea. I also think you are going to be giving them "scrapbooks" with pictures and such...

Well, what about a "storybook scrapbook." You can publish an actual bound book at Kodak's site. I made a storybook scrapbook for my mom, using pictures of my daughter and myself, and then adding the captions to the pages to tell a story (our story was about Princess Abigail who lived in the far-away land of Pennsylvania, and her magical journey to be reunited with her Fairy Gaga (she calls my mom Gaga instead of gramma.)

Anyway, thought it would be something fun and cute that would also allow you to incorporate family, friends, and home. A book about you- maybe one about you growing up with pictures of you, your parents, etc... I think that would be really great!

VALARIE - Single, Ethiopian-bound, mother-to-be of two bright-eyed Ethio children. said...

Grace, what I was intending to do for the book is have my father illustrate and then have those pictures put into a bound photo book. I think that's what you are describing. We actually talked about it the other day and have decided to have it show "their story" in stages coming to America. I don't want to give too much away but we think it is going to be very unique.

Original Court Date: April 18, 2009
Final Court Date: May 18, 2009
[607 total days & 165 days w/IAN]