We all hear about baby showers for expecting parents, but what about adopting parents? An adoption baby shower is more than acceptable – it’s encouraged! Adopting parents have the same needs as any other new parents would, but with a few minor considerations.
You should steer clear of planning a surprise celebration on the day the family brings their child home. This can be a very emotional time – the new parents and child (especially if the child is older) will need a period of adjustment. It is very important to be sensitive to their needs. In this case, delivering care packages and planning your celebration for a later date would be acceptable and appreciated. Be sure to talk with the new parents and find out what their wants and needs are before you set a shower date.
Your shower invitations should be sent out three to four weeks in advance and should include the time, date, and location of the shower. Don’t forget to set an RSVP date with your telephone number and address. If it is at all possible, include the child’s birthdate, as well as when he or she was officially adopted or welcomed into the home of his or her new parents. This will help your guests to pick age-appropriate gifts. In the case of foreign adoptions, you could also add information about the birth country to inform your guests.
As with other baby showers, the theme for an adoption baby shower should be the same. However, if the child that was adopted is older, you should tailor your party to suit their age and favorite things. For example, a small girl might love everything that involves the Disney princesses and may go absolutely crazy over the color pink. In turn, an older boy may be fascinated by soccer and anything green. Don’t be afraid to be a little creative to help make the party a special celebration to welcome the new child into your circle of family and friends!
Baby shower games are important too! However, stay away from games that are maternity-related. It’s very important that you keep in mind that you are celebrating the gift of adoption. Your games help set the tone of the party and should be mixed in with any other activity going on. An average shower lasts about two hours, so look at playing two to three party games. If the new parents are adopting an older child, make sure your games reflect that as well. One great adoption party activity is to organize a Welcome Book for the new child. Ask guests to bring pictures of themselves and their families to assemble into a scrapbook page they will create at the shower.
All of your shower decorations will naturally depend on the style, theme, and number of people attending. Balloons and streamers are standard, but there are a lot of creative and fun ideas to make the party extra-special. You’re truly only limited by your imagination here.
If the adoption is an international one, you could use decorations that reflect the child’s place of birth and include recipes from his or her home country. For guests, it will be a learning experience.
As with decorations, party favors should match your shower theme and party size. Your favors can be used as place settings, prizes, or they can be handed out at the end of the party. A very popular idea for adoption showers is a special program for guests to keep. Written inside should be commitments to the child from his or her new parents, poems about love, family, and adoption, and prayers for the future.
When labeling your favor, keep in mind that your party is, again, in honor of adoption, not a birth. Your wording on gift tags should reflect that.
Adoption is a very exciting time for new parents. A baby shower or welcome party allows friends and family members to share in on the family’s joy. When you host or even attend such a party, it is very important to know the needs and wants of the parents. Be sure to know ahead of time how old the child is. Find out if the parents have registered anywhere. Parents who are adopting should be reminded that they can actually register for older children as well as newborns.
By planning and hosting an adoption party, you are helping the new family formalize the acceptance of their child into their circle. You will be creating an occasion that will be documented for the child to look at in the future and remind them how much they were welcomed and loved from the start.