Adoption Shower

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How to Throw a Welcome Shower for a Recently Adopted Child

Most of us have attended a baby shower in the past — a special party that both celebrates the upcoming birth of a child and provides a way for friends and family to “shower” the new parents with things they will need in the coming weeks and months. Baby showers are an opportunity to have fun, encourage the parents-to-be and ease the financial burden of preparing a safe and inviting home for a new baby. 

What about a family who isn’t adopting an infant, but rather a child who is school age? There is no less need for encouragement or age-appropriate gifts for the family who is adopting an older child. We hope this article helps you, your church, community group or workplace rally around the friend or family member who is adopting a school-age child by throwing a “welcome shower.”

When to plan a welcome shower?

Start by discussing with the adoptive parents-to-be their thoughts on whether they feel it more appropriate to have a welcome shower before the adoption is finalized or afterwards. If afterwards, the welcome shower will likely include the recently adopted child. Depending on the child’s personality and background, the welcome shower could absolutely be a positive experience or could prove overwhelming and uncomfortable for him or her. It’s best to ask the adoptive parents for their input on the timing of the shower for this reason. 

Who should be on the guest list?

Be sure to ask the adoptive parent-to-be for the contact information of local friends and family members they would like to invite. Beyond that, your guest list is only limited by your budget and the size of your location. Keep in mind your budget should include the venue costs, food, paper products, invitations, decorations, games or prizes. Whether small or large, be sure to ask someone to photograph the guests and adoptive parents-to-be so they have a memory of this time with family and friends. Whether celebrating a birth or adoption, baby showers are memorable experiences.

What are some décor ideas?

One of the fun parts of this kind of shower is that there is usually an actual photo of the child that can be shared at the shower. Create a collage of photos somewhere in the room or at each table in a variety of frames, then give the frames to the adoptive parents-to-be for their home. Colors for a baby shower aren’t limited to just pink or blue. If the child is being adopted internationally, incorporate the child’s birth country into the theme by using colors from the country’s flag to create table décor.

What kind of food to serve?

Be sure to ask the adoptive parents-to-be if they have dietary restrictions. Beyond that, decide if you want to pre-purchase food or make it a potluck-style shower. Another fun idea would be to include one or two items from the child’s birth country, if being adopted internationally. If you are planning to have cake, be sure to ask the adoptive parents-to-be their favorite flavor, since they are likely taking home any leftovers. Consider cutting the cake just before it’s time to open gifts so guests are eating their dessert during that time.

What gifts are appropriate for an older child?

Adopting an older child versus an infant means an entirely different stage of development. This could mean instead of opening gifts like onesies and highchairs, the adoptive parents-to-be are opening Nerf guns and Spiderman posters. Here are gifts ideas for an older child:

Outdoor Equipment:

Kids need time outside to expend energy and soak in vitamin D. Ideas include a bicycle, scooter, skateboard, basketball hoop, football, soccer ball, fishing pole and accessories, frisbee, kite, hammock, sidewalk chalk, jump rope, bubbles, cornhole game and swimming supplies such as goggles, dive sticks, a float, kickboard and character beach towel.

Board & Card Games:

Board games and card games are great for bonding. Game ideas include Monopoly, Battleship Shots, Trouble, Jenga, Operation, Connect 4, Checkers, Chess, Yahtzee, Twister, Chinese checkers, Monopoly Deal, Disney Eye Found It card game, Phase 10, Sorry, UNO, Skipbo and Spot It. 

Toys and Activities:

Building toys such as Legos and Magna-tiles, robots, Nerf guns, puzzles, Play-Doh and age-appropriate books are all great ideas. So are small toys such as yoyos, toy cars, indoor squish balls, action figures, dolls, beanie babies, slinkys, stuffed animals, sunglasses, Rubik’s cubes and fidget spinners. You might also consider makeup items such as flavored lip glosses, nail polish, a wallet or purse, inexpensive wristwatch, earrings (pierced and non-pierced), necklaces or items representing a favorite sports team. 

Arts & Craft Supplies:

Foster creativity with small notepads, notecards, stickers, cool pens, markers, sketch pads, coloring books, color pencils, drawing pencils, crayons and craft kits for bracelet-making, stamps, a Rainbow Loom, car models and slime.

Experiences:

Consider giving the adoptive family a trip to the zoo, movies, local amusement park, aquarium or an afternoon of bowling. Adding an extra child (or two) can make special events out of reach financially. Do you have access to tickets for a sporting event or concert or know someone who does? Or, maybe you have a boat and would be willing to invite the host family to the lake for a day of fishing or swimming. Perhaps you are able to build the family a zipline or treehouse in their backyard. Music lessons are a great gift for a musically inclined child. 

Closet & Hygiene Needs:

An adopted child will need socks, shoes, shirts, pants, pajamas, underwear, winter items such as scarves, gloves and hats as well as summer items including a bathing suit and coverup. Slippers or house shoes are fun. Hygiene items such as fun character toothbrushes, brushes, combs, hair styling accessories, scented soap and lotions, body scrub, body sprays or light perfumes are nice additions. 

If you are looking for a way to honor a family in the adoption process, hosting a welcome shower for their adopted child could be an incredible encouragement to them and meet very real financial needs, especially if the family is welcoming a new age or gender into their home. Celebrating a birth has become a tradition for most of our communities and families, but adoptions can often go overlooked. An adopted child is no less worthy of celebrating so consider the role you might be able to play in honoring the adoptive family’s commitment to their child. 

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Michelle Vernon


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