A kind gesture can mean the world to a birth parent — but finding ways to show them how much they mean to you, how much you’re thinking of them, and how grateful you are for their adoption decision can be tricky. This is a new relationship that you’ve never embarked on before, so it’s understandable that you have plenty of questions. Whether you’re a hopeful adoptive family or a birth parent’s friend or family member, here are 10 simple, yet thoughtful, ways to show some amazing people just how much you care before and after the adoption.

1. Write Letters

young woman reading card decorated with heartsIf you’re looking for a great way to get to know one another before your adoption or to let a birth parent know you’re thinking of them after placement, try sending letters. You could talk about how much you appreciate their decision, things that you’d like them to know about you before the adoption, and more. A handwritten letter can do a lot to show someone just how much you care.

2.  Listen to Their Feelings

Choosing adoption for their baby is the hardest decision that any parent can make for their child. A birth parent is going to need a lot of support and compassion from the people in their life before and after the adoption. They might not know or might not be able to tell you what they need and how they’re feeling right away — but just knowing that you’re there and that you support their decision will mean so much. Listening to them truly shows just how much they mean to you.

3. Keep Your Promises

You won’t be able to have any kind of relationship, especially one with a birth parent, without trust. If you make a promise to send picture or letters or to schedule a visit, is the birth parents are counting on you to keep that commitment. Respect their time as much as you would want someone to respect yours.

4. Celebrate Holidays

Holidays like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Christmas can be especially hard for birth parents.Getting a reminder of how much they’re loved can be so thoughtful for parents who have placed a child for adoption.Involving them in the celebrations can be a great way to share how much you care.

5. Check In

If you have an open adoption or a semi‐open adoption with your child’s birth parents, you can make adjustments to how much contact you’re open to as time goes on. Some birth parents go into the adoption prepared for a certain amount of contact, but might need to change their minds as time goes on. Make sure you’re checking in with the birth parents to ensure they’re still happy with your relationship, and make it clear you’re willing to make changes as needed.

6. Share Updates from Friends and Family

If you’re an adoptive family, a great way to include the birth parents in your child’s life is asking for letters from close family and friends. This is a great way to send a lot of love their way, and it way mean a lot to know just how many people care about them.

7. Create Handmade Art

Sending your child’s artwork will be something that their birth parents treasure forever. Paintings, pottery, and drawings are popular choices, but there are other options that you might consider, like matching blankets and bracelets. If it’s from your child, the birth parents will love it.

8. Send Pictures

Pictures are a great way to update the birth family on how your child is doing and keep them involved. You might think about creating a personalized photobook or framed photos to send to them as well. After all — a picture is worth a thousand words.

9. Celebrate their Accomplishments

If you have a birth parent in your life who’s achieved a new goal for him or herself, take the time to celebrate their accomplishments. Whether they’ve gone back to school after the adoption and they’ve recently graduated, found their dream career, or even gotten married, take the time to send a card or a personalized gift.

10. Learn About their History

As the adoptee grows up, they may have questions that the adoptive parents won’t be able to answer.  Another way to make a birth parent feel appreciated is to ask them about their life and their family history. Is there a tradition that their family does that you could incorporate into your life? Any way that you can make them feel involved is a great step in the right direction.

What are some of your favorite ways to show a birth parent how much you care? Let us know in the comments!