Spring is officially here. As the warm weather sets in and April showers pass by, we look forward to seeing what new life will blossom this season. This is especially true for many prospective parents who are hoping to welcome a new little life into their own homes and hearts.
A baby shower is a rite of passage that many parents look forward to when they find out they are expecting. Traditionally, it is a welcome celebration in which the expectant parents are showered with baby gifts, countless congratulations, and high spirits in anticipation of their child.
Welcoming a new member into the family is unquestionably a moment worth celebrating, and families that choose to grow through adoption are no exception. Today, it is becoming increasingly popular for adoptive parents to embrace the arrival of their new child with an adoption shower.
If you are on the way to becoming adoptive parents, Adoptions With Love extends a big hug and congratulations to you. This is the start of a beautiful journey for your family, one that will soon be blessed with the presence of a child.
If you are a friend or family member of the waiting adoptive family, we also extend good wishes your way. We can only imagine how excited you are to help welcome this child into his or her forever home. Before you start planning the adoption shower, however, there are considerations to keep in mind.
As you may already know, biological parents and adoptive parents prepare a bit differently for the arrival of their child. In the same token, preparing for a baby shower and an adoption shower should differ in their approach. Whether you are hosting the adoption shower or helping with the plans, here are some important considerations and tips to remember when celebrating the baby and parents-to-be.
- Hold off on the celebrations until after the baby is born and placed –
There are many unknowns when it comes to adopting a child. In most scenarios, the waiting parents do not know when they will receive the baby. Even if they are chosen by an expectant mother, there is no way to know if this particular adoption plan will be “the one” that brings a baby into their lives. While the staff at Adoptions With Love does our best to help expectant adoptive parents prepare for the adoption process, law states that birth parents cannot make a final decision regarding the adoption until after their baby is born. Sometimes, this can take days or even weeks after the child’s birth.
With that in mind, we recommend holding off any adoption celebrations until after the child is born and placed with their forever adoptive family. Doing so will avert any possible disappointment or frustration that a premature adoption shower could cause. Some adoptive parents will even wait to host an adoption shower until after the revocation period is up and they can assure their child is forever home.
- Give it time before throwing the adoption shower –
We understand that everyone, friends and family alike, will be excited to meet the latest addition to the family. If you are the soon-to-be parents, however, you might consider taking time to spend with your child before hosting a big celebration. Giving your child (and yourselves) a few weeks to adjust to new parenthood, will allow you to connect with your baby. If you are hosting an adoption baby shower for the new parents, be sure to check in and make sure they are ready for a welcome party.
- Tread lightly with any surprises –
Most of us out there love surprises, but when it comes to an adoption shower, it is best to play it safe and steer away from the surprise party approach. Adoption timelines, unfortunately, are never set in stone. Plans change or get delayed, and as mentioned before, the timing of the official adoption placement is very unpredictable. If you are hosting, make sure that the new parents are involved in the planning process. They may want time to adjust to parenthood before having a party.
If you are really into grand gestures and surprises, you may consider taking a different approach to the expected adoption shower. Fact is, adoptive parents often spend a good amount of time travelling to meet the expectant/birth parents of their child. In many cases, the birth parents will even ask that they be in the hospital the day and days after the baby is born. If this is the case for your honorees, be sure to check in with them while they are on their trip. Once you have word that the adoption is official, consider filling their house with “welcome home” baby gifts – clothing, diapers, food, toys, books. Many adoptive parents do not buy these things in advance in case of adoption hiccups, and will be very appreciative upon bringing their baby home to a well-prepared house.
- Personalize the party –
An adoption shower should reflect the adoption journey in some shape or form. If you know the child is of a certain heritage or background, you may consider celebrating that through food or decoration. If you know that the adoptive family traveled by air or car to meet their baby, or any other specific tidbits from their adoption story, try to incorporate that into the theme of the party as well.
No matter what, keep the focus of the party on parenting and the adoption experience. Unlike a traditional baby shower, adoption showers are not about pregnancy or birth. Think about the love and joy involved in adoption, and bring that to life through the party. Consider bringing adoption-related children’s books for others to read to learn more about adoption, and then give them to the new parents to read to their child once the party has ended. Consider other personalized activities such as custom message puzzle pieces and personalized notes for the family to help welcome the child home.
Adoption baby showers are a great way to say “Welcome Home” to a forever family. Whether you are hopeful adoptive parents or the adoption shower planners, there is just one more consideration that everyone should keep in mind: family bonds go beyond biology, love makes a family complete, and every parent – including adoptive parents – deserves a party to celebrate their newest family member.
For more tips and information about adopting a child, do not hesitate to reach out to Adoptions With Love at 617-964-4357. Across Massachusetts, we help families grow through adoption. We can also help you get started on your own adoption journey.