The arrival of a new child is always cause for celebration. What expectant family doesn’t look forward to a shower, celebrating their baby-to-be? It is a rite of passage these days. When parents are growing their family through adoption, they can benefit from a shower as well. Adoptive parents deserve just as much love and support as birth parents.
However, the typical rules may not apply when planning a shower for adoptive parents. It can be difficult to organize, because often with adoption, the parents may not know the gender, age or arrival date of their child. So, before scrolling through Pinterest for baby shower ideas, here are some things to consider:
Talk with the adoptive parents to see if they want a shower.
Some families may worry that having a shower before the child arrives may “jinx” the adoption, or it may seem insensitive to the birth mother. Regardless of reason, make sure the family wants a shower before planning it.
Ask what timing makes sense for the family.
Whether domestic or international, adoption timelines are often uncertain. Maybe the family wants to wait until the adoption is finalized. Maybe the family needs help preparing their house for their new child. They can let you know what works best for them.
Consider the age and gender of the child.
Not all families adopt an infant, nor do they always know if they’re getting a boy or a girl. Be very specific on the invitation, so guests can bring appropriate gifts. And on the topic of gifts…
Get gift suggestions from the adoptive family.
Encourage the family to register, regardless of the age of the child. Target and Amazon offer “wish list” registries, in addition to a typical baby registry. If the family knows they are adopting a newborn, think of items they’ll need the minute they bring baby home. This will be like a typical baby shower. However, if an older child will be joining the family, encourage them to register for age-appropriate items, whether it be books, toys, clothes, or even furniture for their room.
Consider a theme as unique as the family.
A shower doesn’t have to be overflowing with pink/blue/yellow décor, nor do you have to plan typical baby shower activities. If the adopted child is from another country, maybe incorporate some of their heritage into the festivities. If the shower is occurring after the adoption is finalized, consider a “sip and see” event, where the family brings the child to the party. Circling back to the timing of the shower, make sure the family has had adequate time to settle in with their child before introducing them to the masses.
For new parents, consider having guests write down parenting advice in a scrapbook. In lieu of a card, ask guests to bring a storybook, either about adoption or a childhood favorite. Parents will be looking for opportunities to bond with their child. If the parents have not requested specific gifts, guests can bring gift cards to restaurants, museums, movie theaters…any venue that will help the family create memories.
No matter how parenthood comes to a family, it’s a miracle worth celebrating.