In Korea, it is customary to give small presents when visiting. That goes double when you’re visiting for the first time in almost 30 years. That goes triple for the foster family and agency workers who have been taking care of your child for the past 9 months.
I can’t remember if I wrote out all the people I had to buy presents for. Hold on while I check. Oh yeah, here is the list. A lot of people, 23 in total in fact. I needed something with a lot of bang for my buck and compact at that.
Of all the ideas I read, vitamins seemed to be easiest to get for everyone. Apparently Koreans are very health conscious and really appreciate American vitamins! I bought a bottle for 14 of the 23 people. Plus a little bit of this and that for the foster family and agency workers.
In fact, here’s the comprehensive list in case an adoptive family hits upon this site for gift ideas for foster family and adoption agency. I have no idea if I spent too little or too much, but it is what it is. I’m really hoping if I didn’t buy enough gifts the, “It is the thought that counts” really is true.
Foster Mom – Vitamins, Coffee, Nuts, Photo Album to photos we send over the years, Vera Bradley Purse, Girl Scout Cookies (some suggested something local or personal and since S is a Girl Scout… shrug)
Foster Dad – Vitamins, Ralph Lauren Tie (Koreans like American Designer Brands)
2 Foster Sisters – Paul Frank Shirts, necklace and lip balm
1st Foster Mom and Dad – Vitamins (I feel like I need to add something else, but I’m short on ideas and running out of time!)
Social Worker – Vitamins, Vera Bradley Notecards, Chocolate, Coffee, Nuts, Girl Scout Cookies
2 Doctors – Nuts, Coffee, Chocolates
Holt Staff Group Gift – a large bag of chocolates, Girl Scout Cookies
2 Van Drivers – Coffee, Nuts, Cookies
11 Aunts, Uncles and Cousins – Vitamins and Coffee
Plus, a bag of new boys baby/toddler clothes for boys. I was going to buy rice cereal and diaper cream, but they also need boys clothes and they are so much light! Them vitamins are heavy and I’m scared of going over the 50lb limit.
Plus, a bunch of gift bags, tissue, tape, labels to organize the gifts once we get to Korea.
Anyway, that’s it. Hope it is enough and I hope this list helps someone!
Edited to add: This reminds me of when my mom went back to Korea for the first time in 1994 or 1995. She couldn’t buy presents for everyone because we have a large family. She decided on Lancome (Koreans like expensive brands!) makeup for just the ladies. Anyway, I was going to school in Boston and I stopped by Bloomingdales in Chestnut Hill to buy them. The Lancome lady was so nice. There was a sample giveaway. She gave me a sample bag for every makeup I purchased even though she was supposed to only give one per customer. I think I had bought 10 – 12 compacts. It made for such a nice gift package.