Gifts for Brother's Foster Children (My Foster Nieces/nephews)

Updated on November 20, 2017
L.U. asks from Kirkland, WA
29 answers

Quick question....
My brother and his wife have 5 foster kids (3 of them just joined their family 5 days ago) Do we buy gifts for them for Christmas?
(My husband and I both think we should...I love buying kids gifts! I am asking more because my brothers and my parents are leaning more towards "no. We don't know them")

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R.S.

answers from Sacramento on

Are these children going to be present when everyone else is getting gifts? If so, I don't understand why this would even be a question. It's about them feeling included and part of the family and not "other."

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E.J.

answers from Chicago on

Yes!Yes!Yes!

Something small and appropriate so that they feel included in the family celebration (just don’t go too big as if you are trying to make up for the situation they are in).

No better time to show kindness to others then now.
Many blessings to you!

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E.T.

answers from Rochester on

Yes! A thousand times YES! Give them something that can be just for them.

I recently read about a family who took in foster children. One of the parents had been a foster child. He was appalled when their foster kids came with everything they owned in a black garbage bag. Exactly what had happened to him 20-30 years before. They now have a foundation that puts together small suitcases with a plush animal, a blanket, a pillow, pjs, a toothbrush, etc. When children enter the foster system they get one of the suitcases to put their things in. They have prepared and given the cases to 100s of foster kids. (I believe the same family was on the Ellen show recently.)

Please give these kids something that they can call their own. They have so little and even though things can’t replace what they have lost, at least they will have something that shows that someone cares for them.

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M.6.

answers from New York on

I'm in the minority here - possibly because I'm quite familiar with the foster care system and children who have been displaced. First, it is possible that these children will be moved by Christmas - depending on how/why they ended up in foster care in the first place. I would wait until it was closer before I even worried about it and/or make sure to keep the receipts.

Second, some children do NOT benefit from receiving gifts from strangers. Sounds weird, I know. Children who have RAD or other deep seated attachment or boundary issues can actually be "harmed" by receiving gifts from people they do not know.

You should be asking your brother what to do as he and his wife should be the ones to make the final gift giving decisions.

8 moms found this helpful

T.F.

answers from Dallas on

Why would they not buy gifts or be ok with giving them gifts?

Personally, I would give them gifts because we don't know their personal situation. I'd try to make them feel welcome. It does not have to be extravagant to be meaningful.

I do applaud your brother for fostering. It's a thankless job.

6 moms found this helpful
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R..

answers from San Antonio on

Yes, not only get them gifts....call your brother and find out what each child likes....my little pony, or spiderman or squishies...and get each one a nice gift just for them. Then if you have the money get each one a stocking with those little toys most kids have but they probably don't like a fidget spinner, and fun pencils for school (like scented ones), things that dangle off their backpacks for girls and uh, not sure on the boys....but you get the idea.

Make it a Christmas to remember for them in an awesome day they will never forget.

I was raised in a family that took in foster kids and they were always included as if they were just one of the kids. Years later I have run into some of them and they would have stories about remember the Christmas when...(I will date myself here:)... the family got an Atari and each of us got our own bean bag chair to sit in to play....I had that chair for years...your mom bought me a _______ and I couldn't believe it.

So yes, yes, yes....make it a great year for them!!! Big hugs to you for asking!!

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E.B.

answers from Honolulu on

I think it's really nice that you are thinking of these children whose lives and homes and families have been uprooted. And it's wonderful that your brother and sister-in-law are providing a home for them.

I would definitely buy gifts for them, but only with the guidance of their foster parents. A gift might overwhelm them. Or it might trigger a painful memory for them. Perhaps they don't need toys, but they could use a warm coat. Or maybe they've never had a toy of their own, and toy would be really special. Or maybe they need a suitcase or backpack to keep their stuff in. Maybe possessions remind them of a previously difficult foster home where their belongings were destroyed or stolen. Or maybe they're at your brother's home just for a short time, and more belongings might complicate matters. There are just so many factors to consider, and sensitivity is crucial.

Consult your brother and his wife and ask how you can show these foster kids that you want to show them that they're welcome in your extended family. Perhaps instead of buying traditional gifts you could treat all the kids to a day at the zoo or aquarium or a children's museum?

As for the "no, we don't know them" argument: that might be appropriate for an adult's brand new boyfriend or girlfriend (especially when there has been a long string of brief relationships), but these are children that your brother and sister-in-law have committed to parenting, whether it's for a short time or a long time. That's all that matters. Your kindness may make a big difference in these children's lives, and will show your brother and sister-in-law that you are supportive of their amazing decision to foster needy children.

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D.D.

answers from Boston on

One of my brothers starting going out with a woman who had a toddler and told us a week before Christmas that they would be coming for the family get together at my house. I went out the next day and bought the toddler gifts because no child should be at a get together where everyone is opening things and there's nothing for her.

Get sizes and likes from your brother for each child and get them stuff. They've been through a lot to end up in foster care. People need to show them that they are loves and matter.

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B.C.

answers from Norfolk on

Of course you do!
A little something age appropriate for each child would be nice.

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J.B.

answers from Boston on

I think that if you have the means to do this, it would be a huge blessing and in the holiday spirit to include them in your giving, especially if there is any kind of family gathering where gifts will be exchanged. I would see it as I give some charity gifts every year and I don't know this recipients, so I would slot this into my charitable giving budget if budget were an issue.

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J.K.

answers from Wausau on

In general, it is always okay for you to buy gifts for anyone that you wish, unless the recipient themselves has told you that they don't appreciate your attention. It doesn't matter what others choose to do. Your generous spirit is commendable.

The only people you should ask for input about your decision is the brother and sister-in-law who are fostering. I would think they would welcome gifts for the children but there may be reasons for otherwise. If gifts are welcome, they may have practical ideas.

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T.S.

answers from San Francisco on

Oh my goodness YES. These poor kids need to be made to feel welcomed and not receiving gifts while the other children do would be the opposite of that.
I really can't even comment on the "we don't know them" statement. If I knew there were new children coming over to celebrate Christmas with my family it wouldn't even matter if I had met them or not! I would have something, maybe a cheerful gift basket with holiday socks, candy, a book or small game, a bit of cash, whatever. I would put something happy and festive together.
Sigh. I'm sorry your brothers and parents see gift giving and generosity as an obligation or a burden, I'm glad these kids have your other brother, his wife and you to provide an example of the true meaning of the season.

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M.G.

answers from Portland on

My instinct when reading this was YES!

But then I just read below to Military Mom's post (only one I glanced through) and thought, yes, definitely - ask your brother and his wife what they think. They may have received guidance on this very thing.

Otherwise - I would for sure. Do they have kids of their own? If you were planning on giving gifts to their children - you'd have to for the foster children. And if they do move on to new homes, then I'm sure you could donate to needy children (so many places these days collect gifts).

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D.B.

answers from Boston on

OMG - with all these kids have been through, why in the world would anyone say "no" to gifts? They already feel abandoned and in the midst of upheaval, and now people would make them feel even more left out?

Get to know them. Get a wish list from the social worker. Get a wish list from your brother and his wife. People buy gifts for kids they don't know all the time - charities and so forth. Surely you can find something they can claim as their own that would bring them comfort: stuffed animals, toys, clothing, board games or things the foster family can do together.

Good for you for seeing that they have needs!

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J.C.

answers from Anchorage on

Definitely get them gifts, they will appreciate it in a way kids who have never been in the system will understand. It feels amazing to be treated like family and to feel like someone cares about your feelings.

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M.M.

answers from Boston on

YES!
Of course, you buy them Christmas presents.....Have fun shopping!

Merry Xmas! Happy holidays!

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C.T.

answers from Santa Fe on

YES! You should all make them feel welcome and like part of the family. Please treat them equally and buy gifts for them. Boy, I hope you can convince your brothers and parents! It would be the right thing to do. They do not have to buy something expensive but they should be sure that all 5 gifts for all 5 kids are equal.
(Imagine being a young kid with so much upheaval in your life and sitting there watching the other kids open gifts while you are not given one. That is cruel.)

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R.K.

answers from Appleton on

Of course... how would you feel having to watch everyone else opening presents on Christmas morning and there is nothing for you?
Best idea take them shopping and let them pick out something practical such as clothes and something fun such as a game or book. This will ensure they get what they want and will give you an idea of what they need or like and what size they are.

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L.C.

answers from Washington DC on

Of course you include them!
Those who don’t want to are total grinches!
It’s Christmas! These children need to feel part of the family. They won’t be with their family of origin and I am sure they are scared, lonely, and feeling lost...

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C.C.

answers from New York on

Yes!!!! As Diane says below, people buy holiday gifts for "children they don't know" all the time, as a form of charity and holiday kindness.

Also, a nice gift "for your brother" might be anything that his various foster children might enjoy together - board games, XBox, etc.

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M.Z.

answers from Dallas on

You cannot, in good conscience, leave them out, but maybe you could buy a large family gift such as a TV or game console. Poor little kids. Or check with your brother or his wife to see what they might need...pj's, winter coats, etc.

This is the time of the year to be charitable. Let the rest of your family do as they please, but you can decide for yourself. No child should feel left out at this time while everyone else gets presents. Don't help ruin their holiday, please.

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W.W.

answers from Washington DC on

why wouldn't you include them in Christmas, that would be my question to your parents.

Doesn't matter if you don't know them. They are there - they are part of the household. It's not like they will be there for 2 weeks, right?

MAKE THEM FEEL WELCOME!!! They've been ripped out of their "normal" environment to something stable....show them what a FAMILY is....

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R.B.

answers from San Francisco on

Yes, of course you do!

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S.H.

answers from Santa Barbara on

I donate gifts to 'boys and girls club' to kids I have never seen, so maybe this could be why I am surprised that needing to know them is important. Then again, I am not meeting them, so they are not getting something from a stranger. Someone made a good point about kids being confused when strangers give gifts.

You did not mention their ages.

I would ask the sister-in-law and brother what their interests are and if they have any recommendations.

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T.M.

answers from Tampa on

A thousand times yes. No child is in the foster system without having had something awful happen in their lives. They often show up to a foster family with not much more than the clothes on their back. Find out what they need and then add in 1 or 2 toys as well. If you have the opportunity to make a child's holiday brighter, that's such a wonderful thing to do.

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V.B.

answers from Jacksonville on

I would tend toward thinking that the fact they are recent placements means they need to be thought of kindly more now than ever. Of COURSE you get them gifts. I would talk with your brother and his wife about how to do that in a way they can best accommodate it... but yes. By all means.
You don't want to do more for them than for any other nieces and nephews, I wouldn't think. You want them to feel equally loved, not singled out, I would think. Ask for guidance from your brother, but don't exclude them. How awful would they feel ? Why not give them some semblance of normality at one of the most cherished times of year?

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K.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

Yes, I would absolutely buy them gifts. These kids need to know that there are people out there who care about them and want them to feel loved. I would think the three new ones are probably going through a HUGE adjustment period and could really benefit from feeling like part of the family. Chances are, no one outside the family is giving them Christmas presents this year and they need to feel loved now more than ever.

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H.M.

answers from Dallas on

You said your brothers and parents are leaning towards no. Do you mean the one who is fostering them or other brothers? I would ask the brother and sister in law that are fostering them what they think. Like others have said they may not even be with them that long so if they say yes wait till closer to and save recipes. I have a co worker that fosters kids and I have heard her say before that the state (I think) gives the foster kids lots of gifts at Christmas so they don't even get the ones they are fostering gifts from themselves. I don't know it that is for all states or just here. Or it could even be the county. If they will be there for Christmas and after I like what someone suggested about taking all of them to the zoo. If you live too far to go with them yourselves get a family pass for your brother and sister in law to take them themselves.

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❤.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

Yes, of course as they are children. Can you imagine how they would feel, as children, if other kids around them received gifts to open but no one bought them one? They would feel left out and ostracized. They are already going through a tough time. I say a definitive yes!

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