NJ entrepreneur’s ‘Perfect Gift’ celebrates adoptive families
The squat commercial building on a dead end street in West Orange belies the joyful business housed within.
The office suite for Baby’s Perfect Gift is strewn with soft dolls, baby blankets, cradles, books, and other gifts suitable for a new addition to the family.
All new additions, that is.
Heeding requests from families and business colleagues, Ilene Goldmeier, founder of the 10-year-old company, has created a new line, Touched By Adoption.
The products include multicultural dolls as well as children’s books that discuss and celebrate adoption.
“I had been approached for a long time by people who had friends who were adopting,” said Goldmeier, a resident of Montclair.
“It’s very hard to find appropriate dolls…that [adopted] children can play with for them to really maintain their culture.”
Goldmeier acknowledged her own shortsightedness: All the dolls she stocked were Caucasian. “It was my fault, too. I didn’t carry any dolls of color.”
Marsha Deoteris, Goldmeier’s associate, said that mass-marketed dolls of color are a relatively new phenomenon.
“It’s also within the last 10 years that people have become open about adopting,” Deoteris said. Where people used to be “uncomfortable” about discussing the issue, “now they’re embracing it.”
Goldmeier took her time researching appropriate items. “I was not looking for ‘heavy’ books on adoption; that’s up to the parent. These are all books on the mother looking different than the baby, acceptance, etc. I spoke to many families that have adopted. They gave me different collections of books that they thought were appropriate.”
In a case of serendipity, they launched the newest portion of their business last October Adoption Awareness Month an occasion they were not aware of at the time.
“It’s something that I felt I wanted to do, felt a passion for. I don’t know if it’s because I see so much of it in Montclair, but I just feel that everyone should really maintain their culture,” said Goldmeier. “If you see an Asian girl walking around with a white doll, well, it would be nice for her to have something to connect to.”
With the new line designed for kids up to age seven still in its infancy, Goldmeier is spreading the word through adoption publications and attorneys.
“In this day and age, with diversity such a hot topic, I think the children should really maintain their own culture and their own identity. I think with these dolls it’s so important.”
Rabbi E. Noach Shapiro, religious leader of Congregation Shomrei Emunah in Montclair, received a gift from Goldmeier one of his congregants for his 28-month-old son, Hallel, whom he and his wife, Monica Rawicz, brought home from India last June.
“I think it’s wonderful,” he said of Touched by Adoption. “There are issues that come up in multicultural households. To have a child who is of different color in a family just brings up certain things and it’s really nice to see these toys that have that in mind, that have that consciousness.”
For more information on gifts for adopted children, visit their Web site or call 800-871-6210.
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