Honoring Adoption: the traditions, gestures, and gifts

It's never too late to start...

As a birth mom, here are some traditions I do to remember and honor my child:

  • "I always have a Bullseye donut or Rainbow Sherbet from Baskin Robbins from Shipley’s because those are the things I craved when I was pregnant. Or I take my boys to get a frosty and fries — it’s what I wanted to so badly on the day that he was born that my dad drove 30 minutes to get it for me."  - Jennifer, birth mom

  • "Every year on my son's birthday I get Chunky Monkey ice cream because he was a chunky little guy."  - Ashley, birth mom

  • "Every year for my son’s birthday, I get a slice of cake/cupcake or even a cinnamon roll once, put a candle in the center, light it, then sing happy birthday to him.  I then make a wish to meet him one day, and that he remains healthy and happy and blow it out."  - Courtney, birth mom

  • “When I was pregnant, I asked for two of every ultrasound picture and when he was born we took two of each picture.  I sent those to his adoptive parents so they would have them.  I felt like it was important for him to have things that went back to before day one and thought it would help his adoptive mom feel more connected.”  - Holly, birth mom

  • "We always make him a birthday cake and sing Happy Birthday. He isn’t here with us, but my hope is that some day we will be able to tell him that we always celebrated his life, even when we didn’t get to be in it."  - Jennifer, birth mom


As an adoptive parent, here are some traditions that we do to honor our kids' birth moms and birth parents:

  • “Our Christmas tradition is to take our daughter shopping for an ornament.  She picks out her favorite and we buy two. One we send to her birth mom and the other one we keep.  That way they think of one another and have some of the same ornaments on the tree."  - Stacy, adoptive mom

  • "For my boys’ birth moms, I make a Shutterfly book every year full of the every day snapshots so that they can share in all of the moments - even just the small ones. I have also given them lots of jewelry with the boys’ birthstones."  - Jennifer, adoptive mom

  • Every year on the kids’ birthdays, I spend a few minutes in quiet contemplation, thinking of our birth family (same birth father, too). I send them light, love and my gratitude.”  - Karen, adoptive mom

  • “Our daughter Beth is grown with children of her own.  We helped with and supported her reunion with her birth mother and birth family and it has been all joy to be family together and to witness the healing in everyone’s lives… Her birth mother is ‘grandma’ to Beth’s children and is a part of their lives as are we and Beth’s husband’s parents/family. Beth and family are spending Thanksgiving with her birth mother and family (in another state) and we rejoice with her and with them. We believe and live the old saying: Love shared is love multiplied. We’ll exchange Christmas cards and gifts... and celebrate all the ways that our lives are richer together.”  - Helen, adoptive mom

  • “We send an ornament every year at Christmas.  We've done our kids' handprints, updated pictures on the ornament, etc.  We take a picture of each ornament and put it in a little photo album for each of our children. We want them to be able to see all of the ornaments we've sent throughout the years to their birth families. Our hope by sending ornaments is that we can have our children be a part of Christmas traditions, even when they're not able to be there when the tree goes up or celebrations are happening in birth family homes.”  - Bradey, adoptive mom

  • “Unfortunately we do not know my kids’ birth parents.  In the past on Mother’s Day, my kids have written letters to their Birth Moms and lit a candle for them.  The kids know their moms would not receive the letters, but I think it’s good just to have them write down what they would say.”  - Rebecca, adoptive mom

  • “For our first Christmas with our son, we got two of the same ornament - gave one to his birth mom and kept one.  We think of her every time we decorate our tree."  - Bailey, adoptive mom

Simple gestures to honor a birth mom:

  • Get one of our BraveLove stationery sets and commit to sending a letter to a birth mom once a month.  If you are an adoptive parent, send a letter to your child’s birth mom and include a few pictures and what is happening in your life.

  • If you are an adoptive parent, ask the birth mom of your child if there are any family traditions they have that you can possibly incorporate into your family.

  • We host BraveLove Birth Mom Dinners twice a year in cities all across the country.  If you would like to honor a birth mom, each place setting is $35. Learn more here.  Donate today to help create connection and community for birth moms.

  • We would love to hear your story!  We firmly believe that stories erase stigmas so if you're an adoptive parent or a birth parent, check out this page to see how yow you can share your story.  We'd love to hear from you.

  • Check out this BraveLove Gift Guide.


Other meaningful things adoptive parents have done for birth moms:

  • "What meant the most to me was a simple picture of him on Christmas morning, turning the corner with his bed head and that anxious look on his face - waiting to see what Santa had left for him. I was so thankful to have a glimpse of something that I would never get to be a part of otherwise."  - Jennifer, birth mom

  • "We have a collection of photos with our daughter, her birth parents and us from the hospital that are framed in her room.  It reminds us to pray for them and talk about them often. We also have a memory tree with photo ornaments of our daughter and her birth parents."  - Lindsy, adoptive mom

  • "A meaningful gift I received was artwork from his school when he was little, which made me feel a part of his normal daily life."  - Ashley, birth mom

  • "For gifts, I also got artwork from when he was little.  I also got a card for Mother's Day this year that meant so much.  And for the first Christmas his mom gave me a necklace with his initial on it. I lost it in all of our moves but I remember it. As a replacement my husband gave me a necklace with all 3 of the kids initials on it.... My son's parents also gave us a picture from his newborn photo shoot that was just for us. They only printed it and showed it to us. That was special."  - Stephanie, birth mom

  • Every month we create a small picture book through Walgreens photo where we keep updated on memories and growth of the kids over the month.  The bio mom has them sent to her dad's home so she can have them safe and secure there.  She can access them as she wishes, or if she is not able to do so, she knows they will be there still, when she is ready.”  - Whitney, adoptive mom

  • "We honor her with our girls by praying for her and talking about her in respectful ways.  It's important to speak positively about her because they are a part of her.  We praise her for choosing life for each of them.We celebrate our adoption anniversary every year on April 20th with a special dinner, extra praise and prayer.” - Holly, adoptive mom

  • “We gave our birth mom a cozy robe when she was in the hospital for the delivery.  And then at placement, we gave her a James Avery necklace with our son’s birth stone on the charm.  And then at placement, we gave the birth dad a James Avery money clip with his first initial on it, which also happened to be the same first initial of the name we gave our son.”  - Margaret, adoptive mom

  • "My son’s parents, when we met when he was an infant, gave me a Bath and Bodywork’s basket. On the basket was a golden metal leaf.  It means the absolute world to me. On his birthday, I take it out and hold it."  - Courtney, birth mom

  • “Always a photo album. As a foster parent and adoptive mom, I always make extra copies of the books just in case they lose theirs somehow or more people come into the family of baby/child who will want copies from the beginning of their journey.”  - Angie, adoptive mom

  • “We invite my son’s birth mom and her daughter to our family Christmas.  They eat dinner, open gifts and play cards with us.”  - Misti

  • “The first thing we did was to keep the name she had picked while he was in the NICU.  She wanted him to have a name until we took him home and the name she picked was her middle name and her fathers middle name.  As a gift we bought her a necklace with his birthstone and his initial. At his one year birthday we made her a book with pictures from the first year. A few months after his first birthday she tragically passed away. To keep her memory and spirit with us we made a memory box for our some with some keepsakes we have from her.  We’re also planning on making a book with all the emails that we sent back and forth so he can read them and know how loved he was by her.”  - Jessica, adoptive mom

  • "I gave her a double infinity necklace and showed her mine as I gave it to her. Since it was a double infinity, I explained that we will be forever connected and when I wear mine, I will think of her and the blessings she provided for our family.”  - Karen, adoptive mom
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