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The arrival of a new baby is an exciting time for the parents-to-be as well as friends and family. With an estimated 120,000 children being adopted by U.S. citizens each year, according to adoption.com, it’s important to remember that new families come in all forms. While the experience leading up to the arrival is a bit different, the needs remain the same. That being said, an adoption shower is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the precious new addition and help mom and dad prepare for parenthood. The format will likely parallel that of a traditional baby shower, however, there are a few things to consider in adoption situations.
It’s a Date
Unlike pregnancy, adoption does not have a nine-month deadline. For a domestic adoption, it usually takes around 12 months. Most placements occur between six and 18 months, according to AdoptionHelp.org. That being said, it is best to plan your shower after the adoption is complete and the parents have their new child. Fight the urge to throw a surprise homecoming shower and openly communicate with your friends about their plans for acclimating the child to their new surroundings.
Only a small percentage of adopted infants are sent to a permanent home straight from the hospital, according to adoptionhelp.org. The inundation of new environments can be overwhelming for the child and the new parents may wish to introduce extended family and friends individually first and hold off on large social gatherings for a few weeks.
One major advantage to hosting an adoption shower is having information on the child prior to the party. As with any invite, you will want to include party basics such as when, where, what time and how to RSVP. Additionally, if possible, include the child’s name and birth date so guests can select age-appropriate gifts. While it’s common to think of a new addition to a family arriving in the form of an infant, only 21 percent of adoptions are to children under the age of one, according to a graphs.net infographic. In fact, children between the ages of one and two are the most common, followed by children 5 to 12 years old. If the child is older, you may want to include clothing size, interests and any special needs.
Themes for baby showers and adoption showers can be one in the same. From the traditional “It’s a Boy” or “It’s a Girl” theme, to an array of animal-inspired themes, sites like partypail.com can offer a variety of ideas and accompanying decor, favors and more. If you are looking to get creative, try customizing the theme to the child. For example, if they are adopted from another country, host a passport-themed event with food and decor from their native country. Or, if the child is older, find out their favorite cartoon character or work with the adoptive parents to come up with a theme they would enjoy.
Games and Activities
Shower games and activities set the tone for your party and get guests involved in the festivities beyond eating, drinking and watching the parents-to-be open gifts. For a shower lasting two hours (the typical length of time for a shower) plan on two to three games, but stay away from maternity games. Keep in mind the age of the child and where he or she is from. If the child is older than two, plan a “welcome home” party instead of a “baby shower.” Guests might be unsure of what to buy an older child, so think of creating a registry for the adoptive family.