*** Second in a series of posts on gift-giving for Vietnam adoptions.
In addition to gifts for the nannies at the orphanage, we also brought gifts for the orphanage director and other orphanage officials. (Just to clarify: these gifts are optional and should never be cash. I was horrified to read on a listserv that an agency was telling families to bring thousands of dollars in cash for orphanage directors and nannies. This is why Vietnam is now closed.)
This photo is us with Mrs. Duong Thi Thao, the orphange director at Go Vap in HCMC, just before we left with Sam. I remember feeling like she was so stylish and put-together, while I was sweating like a pig and a big blubbery, crying mess. When we saw her at our G&R, she was equally stylish, in a nice suit--and I was again sweating, nervous and crying. Our agency suggested a handbag or scarf for her, in the range of $25. Again, American-made goods preferred.
Super shopper that I am, I went to the Coach outlet near Aurora University and got a really cute handbag for well... not $25 but closer to $50. Still, it was regularly like $150. Again, I felt strongly about being generous to the people who made our family happen, and this woman was instrumental in Sam's care the first 10 months of his life, not to mention in matching him with us.
We were told to bring 2-4 other small ($15) gifts for orphange officials, and I believe it ended up being three gifts for males (there might have been one female--I can't remember now. If so, I gave her bath products). I got three Chicago baseball caps (thinking that since we live in a big city they might recognize that name). I confess I cut the "made in China" labels out of them. I put them with some candy and a Cubs pen in a gift bag (again it is important that these gifts be equal). I think I added some chocolate to the director's bag, too.
Lesson: You can't bring too much chocolate or candy.
Next: Gifts for the kids at the orphanage