Adopt-A-Child Program through work - Wow! Expensive Gifts! - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 99 Old 11-25-2008, 08:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So, my DH signed up for an adopt-a-child program through work where you offer to buy christmas presents for a certain number of kids (mostly kids in foster homes)- kind of like a personalized toys for tots thing. Then they give you a list of kids and what present they asked for. He signed up to buy presents for four kids, thinking at about $25 each, that would be $100. Well, he got the list today. The lists are things like ipods, digital cameras, video games, etc. This is his first year at this company and he just assumed it would be like other adopt-a-child programs (normal toys, books, maybe some clothes, etc.) He asked around and his coworkers were all expecting that - apparently, most people only choose one child, then spend around $100 per kid. Wow.

What would you do? He doesn't really want to "give back" three of the kids he adopted, but he doesn't want to buy them less expensive presents they don't want either. And honestly, there's not much you can gather from a kid who wants an ipod other than that they like ipods. It's not like they asked for a barbie dream house and I can pick up a few barbies and some new outfits instead.

We're really torn/bummed by this. We can technically afford to do the $100/kid budget, but we usually budget for $500 charity at christmas ($100 toys for tots, $400 food for pantries). If we go with the flow on this one, that will be reversed, and I just don't think that's a good use of money. Plus, that's just a lot of money to spend on one child for christmas. I doubt I'll even spend that much on my children. I just don't think it's necessary. What would you do? Bite the bullet and just remember to do a different program next year, buy them different gifts, or try to "un-adopt" three of the four kids?
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#2 of 99 Old 11-25-2008, 08:41 PM
 
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Well, I would say, buy cheap versions of the items they want.... an Ipod.... translates into a twenty dollar mp3 player, honeslty, think of the cost involved with an ipod, you have to buy songs, have a computer, etc..... not really a gift that many kids who are poor can use.

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#3 of 99 Old 11-25-2008, 08:41 PM
 
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I'd have DH try to "un-adopt" 3 of the kids, explaining that he was expecting smaller gifts since that's how it worked at a similar program he participated in last year. If he's not able to "un-adopt" them, then buy them what they asked for and give less to the food pantries.

I think the kids would be severely dissapointed if they're expecting a certain gift and get something cheaper- yeah, they don't NEED gifts that expensive, but this particular charity is set up a certain way, and I think it's "wrong" to participate but not do so fully.

And next year, give to Toys for Tots. Your money will go a lot further.

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#4 of 99 Old 11-25-2008, 08:59 PM
 
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I'd have DH try to "un-adopt" 3 of the kids, explaining that he was expecting smaller gifts since that's how it worked at a similar program he participated in last year. If he's not able to "un-adopt" them, then buy them what they asked for and give less to the food pantries.

I think the kids would be severely dissapointed if they're expecting a certain gift and get something cheaper- yeah, they don't NEED gifts that expensive, but this particular charity is set up a certain way, and I think it's "wrong" to participate but not do so fully.

And next year, give to Toys for Tots. Your money will go a lot further.
What she said.

Your dh can plead ignorance to the coordinator since he's new to the company. If it presents a problem, I would go with the flow and take this as a temporary shift in your holiday giving priorities and go with one child next year.
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#5 of 99 Old 11-25-2008, 09:06 PM
 
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Basil, I'm on the board of a local denominational church organization that gets 1500 names each year from our county's DCFS of kids in foster care. We have the same problem. In fact, over the past few years, some churches have either dropped out of the program (it's heavy on teenagers and most folks want to buy for the little kids) or greatly reduced the number of names they take. The older kids write up their own wish list - what we actually get - or the parents work with the social worker for younger kids.

What the DCFS person who coordinates the program has told us is this: the kids see what their peers have (iPods, portable video games, etc.) and want the same. However, how many of these kids in foster care also have a computer is debatable. Do they even know that you have to have a computer to put the music on the iPod/mp3 player? We don't know.

The woman at DCFS told us that for the kids who ask for expensive items that we can't afford to buy is to simply get a gift card for Target in the amount you can afford and that's it.

My church of about 200 members got 25 names this year. I'm the person who coordinated it for my parish. Due to the economy, I had a very difficult time finding people who were willing to spend even $25 on a kid. If several of the more well-off members hadn't taken multiple (2-3 kids) names, I'd have had to go to my priest to ask him for help - money from the church, etc., or try to find people who might be able to spend $10 and multiple people cover one kid.

I saw lots of kids ask for the following on the same sheet - same kid asking for all of this: iPod, DVD player, Gameboy, etc.

The board of the denominational organization has discussed this problem (kids wanting tons of expensive electronics) for hours over multiple meetings. It's gotten so bad, in fact, that we are looking for another organization to team up with for gifts for next year. It's been going on for enough years now that we're going to do something about it. DCFS is actually going to be hard up when we stop with their program. We've been doing this for 20 years and are the organization that takes the largest block of names, but when you've got people who won't buy anymore because what the kids want is too extravagant...

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#6 of 99 Old 11-25-2008, 09:15 PM
 
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I'm wondering if sometimes kids in foster care don't really have a concept of how much the things they're asking for cost or how much money the people who are "adopting" them have at their disposal. If they aren't in a long term family situation, they might not have a lot of insight into financial issues. I really feel like the organizations that set these things up should work with the kids, especially the teens, to manage their expectations. For example, tell them that if they really want an Ipod, to put that down, but also list less expensive items that they would also like, like nice but not expensive clothing items.

In your position, I would ask dh to try to take back three of the kids, as long as the organizers thought they could find other people to take them on. Otherwise, just rearrange your budget, since you do have enough money earmarked for charity holiday spending. I want to add that I think it's great that you give so much at this time of year. i hope to someday be in the position to do the same.
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#7 of 99 Old 11-25-2008, 09:20 PM
 
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Since you've already planned on giving $500, I would bite the bullet and do the $400 for the toys and the $100 for the food pantry and just not participate ever again.

I think the lists are pretty outrageous, but think your husband would make a bad impression at his new job if he tried to unadopt 3 of the kids.
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#8 of 99 Old 11-25-2008, 09:29 PM
 
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I was faced with this same delima when I was in college and picked a name from their giving tree for local kids... and I only picked 1 name, the request was for a coat, a very specific coat, a very expensive specific coat. It was a brand name thing which in a way I can understand but in reality there was no way for me to do it, so after a week of debating on whether to buy a jacket, not 'that' one, but one that my budget I had set aside could afford I decided that hopefully someone with more money could pick that tag and buy the kid the thing they actually wanted, so I took my embarressed self and little card back up to the office that was in charge and basically told them I did not realize that the gift was going to be so expensive and that it wasn't possible for me to do it, after talking with her a bit about my debate to self and how terrible I felt about not being able to do it she told me not to worry that all the gifts on the tags were in the same price range and that it ws usually profs or organizations of students that picked a tag and bought as a group. I ended up spending my money on a few smaller gifts that I was able to donate someplace else.

My advise is if you can afford to do 1 then go ahead and buy for the one and turn the other 3 back in.

editing to add... if you are comfortable not giving as much to the food bank and are able to buy something that is on the list of all four then I would do that.
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#9 of 99 Old 11-25-2008, 09:41 PM
 
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Just because someone *wishes* for something doesn't mean you have to get them that item. I think it's pretty outrageous to expect an iPod or a digital camera through one of these programs. That's more than I hope to spend for my own kids, and we're not having financial challenges.

I would either a) get them a knockoff version, or b) a giftcard in a more reasonable dollar amount.

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#10 of 99 Old 11-25-2008, 09:42 PM
 
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Even poor kids want what everyone else wants/already has.


It would look REALLY bad to the boss to hand them back, plus you HAVE the money to do it.




Walk up to a "poor" kid who knows they will get nothing for xmas and ask them what they "wish" for.


Do you really think the kid is going to debate in their head to keep the cost low and not appear greedy?


It's xmas and they have VERY little. "Santa" is supposed to make wishes come true.


Every kid will "wish" for the moon.


Just because they are poor doesnt mean they deserve "cheap".


It's xmas. Make a dream come true.







(ps... for the IPOD. If you do give one you can always give a giftcard for the music downloads. Alot may not understand that part, but you can ensure someone can download it for them. )

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#11 of 99 Old 11-25-2008, 09:50 PM
 
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The CAS in our area has wish trees at the big department stores. It's the store that wants the names and ages on the tree. They make up names and wishes for the trees, and what you give basically goes in a pile and gets divvied up at the end. And everything gets unwrapped and rewrapped.

They can't put real names up, as it might make identification easy (or easier), and they can't really put real wishes up and then match them. It's a crapshoot really. A lot of the gifts are given to the kids by Santa at the Christmas party, and the rest are taken by the foster parents to supplement what they buy themselves. The stuff is unwrapped to check for suitability (no guns, etc.).

So it's sort of dishonest, and sort of makes sense. The stuff does eventually make it to the kids, but not necessarily the "kid" you think you are buying for.
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#12 of 99 Old 11-25-2008, 09:59 PM
 
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I'd probably go ahead and buy the gifts, but I wouldn't buy the name brand versions. Digital cameras... there are all kinds. You can find super cheap, you can find expensive. Instead of an Ipod I'd get the kid an mp3 player. They're not very pricey at all, and does it really matter if it's not name brand so long as it plays music? If the other kid who listed a video game asked for a specific one I'd go ahead and get that... but if the same kid asked for a couple video games I'd probably only buy one on the list.

Also, if a kid wanted a digital camera and an ipod and a video game... well, I certainly wouldn't be buying it all. I'd buy one nice gift per kid.

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#13 of 99 Old 11-25-2008, 10:09 PM
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Since you've already planned on giving $500, I would bite the bullet and do the $400 for the toys and the $100 for the food pantry and just not participate ever again.

I think the lists are pretty outrageous, but think your husband would make a bad impression at his new job if he tried to unadopt 3 of the kids.
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#14 of 99 Old 11-25-2008, 10:10 PM
 
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As a former foster child, let me share how things went for us...

I don't know where it is that Foster Kids are able to ask for everything and anything, or perhaps, at 16 (I entered the Foster Care system at that time.), I had a pretty good idea of "financial issues"......we were specifically told to keep our wishes under $25 each. I wasn't into the latest trends....I just wanted my own copy of my favorite books so I didn't have to go to the library to get them.

I remember asking for two specific paperback books that were still in print and easily available at the time......for Chanukah, imagine my shock when I had TEN new books wrapped up for me including the ones I'd requested, and was held up as an example by our Foster Parents on being modest and frugal and not asking for impossible, expensive things....

The feeling I had after that was not a good one. Not a good one at all. I enjoyed my books, but felt so sorry for the other kids who didn't recieve a thing on their lists...they requested CD's, a CD Boombox.....
I'd say just give less to the pantry and fulfill the children's wishes.
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#15 of 99 Old 11-25-2008, 10:18 PM
 
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Since you've already planned on giving $500, I would bite the bullet and do the $400 for the toys and the $100 for the food pantry and just not participate ever again.
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I would probably do this.
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#16 of 99 Old 11-25-2008, 10:24 PM
 
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The woman at DCFS told us that for the kids who ask for expensive items that we can't afford to buy is to simply get a gift card for Target in the amount you can afford and that's it.
I think this sounds like a good idea. This way you can give the amount you are comfortable with (and still be able to contribute to the foodbank, which we know is super important these days!) and the children get something good that they can use. Maybe a gift card to Best Buy? Those don't expire or lose their value or charge a monthly fee (not sure if Target's gift cards do or not).

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#17 of 99 Old 11-25-2008, 10:27 PM
 
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No, no fee for Target gift cards/expiration date.

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#18 of 99 Old 11-25-2008, 10:31 PM
 
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I'd probably go ahead and buy the gifts, but I wouldn't buy the name brand versions. Digital cameras... there are all kinds. You can find super cheap, you can find expensive. Instead of an Ipod I'd get the kid an mp3 player. They're not very pricey at all, and does it really matter if it's not name brand so long as it plays music? If the other kid who listed a video game asked for a specific one I'd go ahead and get that... but if the same kid asked for a couple video games I'd probably only buy one on the list.

Also, if a kid wanted a digital camera and an ipod and a video game... well, I certainly wouldn't be buying it all. I'd buy one nice gift per kid.
We've had both MP3s and an iPod Shuffle here, and the iPod is the easiest to use, both for the kids playing it and the person downloading/changing stuff on it. There is no comparison (we've had 3 different MP3s). The shuffle is only $50, the MP3s aren't a lot cheaper. Certainly not enough to make it worthwhile, imo.
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#19 of 99 Old 11-25-2008, 10:33 PM
 
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We've had both MP3s and an iPod Shuffle here, and the iPod is the easiest to use, both for the kids playing it and the person downloading/changing stuff on it. There is no comparison (we've had 3 different MP3s). The shuffle is only $50, the MP3s aren't a lot cheaper. Certainly not enough to make it worthwhile, imo.
Really? Only $50? I've never bought an Ipod (dh has an mp3 player) and I thought they were much, much more expensive. Like, over $100.

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#20 of 99 Old 11-25-2008, 10:34 PM
 
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I have not read all the other posts -- but I'm going to say either get cheaper versions of the wish list or bite the bullet and give them what they want. They may never get the toys they want at any other time in their entire life -- so I'm leaning that way. While its nicer to feed the masses, these kids will never have parents to fall back on.....ever.
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#21 of 99 Old 11-25-2008, 10:36 PM
 
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The prices have come down some, but there's a difference between the models.

Shuffle=you put music on it and it just plays whatever whenever. You can't choose.

Nano=you put the music on it and you can choose to play whatever your heart desires.

I have a two-year old nano. Which I didn't buy until I had received a gift card that covered half the cost (Nano was $200 then).

My rule is this: if I can't afford it or would not buy it for myself or someone (say, my goddaughter) who I regularly buy gifts for (such as, a gift that goes against my values), I ain't buying it. Period.

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#22 of 99 Old 11-25-2008, 10:37 PM
 
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I think it would be really nice if you could get them what they really would like to have. Foster kids really do live at a horrible disadvantage. I realize many others don't have the money for expensive gadgets either, but it would be nice. Just nice.

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#23 of 99 Old 11-25-2008, 10:48 PM
 
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Really? Only $50? I've never bought an Ipod (dh has an mp3 player) and I thought they were much, much more expensive. Like, over $100.
The 1GB shuffle is currently $47.49 on amazon.com It is not what most people think of when they picture an i-pod, though. That would be more like a Nano (currently $136 for 8GB).

 

 

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#24 of 99 Old 11-25-2008, 10:52 PM
 
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You can also buy Ipods refurbished from the Apple store online. That's how I got mine as a present for my birthday - if I had asked for a brand new one, my family may not have gotten it for me, but I specified that I was happy with a refurbished one.

ETA: The 1gb Shuffle that's on Amazon for $48 is sold refurbished for $39. It's not a huge difference in price, but $9 x 4 kids = $36 extra dollars that could go to the food pantry or whatever you choose.
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#25 of 99 Old 11-25-2008, 11:02 PM
 
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I second/third the 'get cheaper versions' theme. The Ipod shuffle isn't too expensive. There are also cheap digital cameras too.

To be honest, I know that asking for a lot of electronic stuff gets people's goats, but let's be realistic here. It's Christmas. And they probably have all the food/clothes area taken care of. Why be grinchy?

I'm not suggesting you get everything on their list, just a cheaper version of one item. For me, I LOVE music, so if I wanted an Ipod but got the cheapest version, or a knock-off brand, I'd still be happy I had music I could take anywhere.

Plus, please realize that these kids KNOW they aren't going to get everything on their wish list, or even a majority of it. They might be thinking of putting as many high priced 'wish' items on there so that they might get just one of them, kwim? If they wrote that they wanted, say an Ipod, a digital camera or books, they'd be overflowing on the books. Maybe that's why it's all the 'expensive' stuff.

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#26 of 99 Old 11-25-2008, 11:02 PM
 
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Really? Only $50? I've never bought an Ipod (dh has an mp3 player) and I thought they were much, much more expensive. Like, over $100.

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage....=1204332007609 $49.99 1G Shuffle. Holds 240 songs. It's what dd has. I don't think she KNOWS 240 songs, so will do her a long time. Or until she loses it, whichever comes first.
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#27 of 99 Old 11-25-2008, 11:09 PM
 
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I really can't figure out why you would consider 'unadopting' three of the kids! It's almost too perfect that you actually already budget for Christmas charity giving just about exactly the amount it would cost to buy the kids' gifts.

I think that you should have fun spoiling those kids rotten.
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#28 of 99 Old 11-25-2008, 11:30 PM
 
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Walk up to a "poor" kid who knows they will get nothing for xmas and ask them what they "wish" for.


Do you really think the kid is going to debate in their head to keep the cost low and not appear greedy?


It's xmas and they have VERY little. "Santa" is supposed to make wishes come true.


Every kid will "wish" for the moon.


Just because they are poor doesnt mean they deserve "cheap".


It's xmas. Make a dream come true.

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#29 of 99 Old 11-25-2008, 11:34 PM
 
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if you've already budgeted for it, i'd just go ahead and buy the stuff... i'd do the $50 ipod + a $30 music card, 1-2 video games worth $40 for the 2nd kid (TRU should be good for this), 1 $80 digital camera for the 3rd kid and the 4th i can't remember...

you can still try to do all four gifts for around $300 if you look hard enough - make it a challenge and make those kids smile on christmas morning! then donate the other $200 to the food pantry. do toys for tots next year.

our local salvation army also asks for stuff for older kids because they hardly get any donations for them, it's always for the younger set.
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#30 of 99 Old 11-25-2008, 11:36 PM
 
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actually why don't you post the list here?? i'm sure all the savvy mamas can find you some great bargains.

just a thought.
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