Adoptees Deserve Baby Showers Too!

If you or one of your friends is adopting a baby, don't assume that means no baby shower is in the offing!

Baby showers represent a long-standing tradition that we've all participated in at least a few times. But in this era of evolving families, sometimes something pops up that might cause you to stumble a bit. For example, should you throw a baby shower if the couple is adopting a child, rather than having one naturally?

Of course you should! This assumes, of course, that the family's not adopting, say, a teenager. Though come to think of it, in that case they might need the shower gifts even more than if the child were an infant...

Basic Guidelines

No matter the child's age, the adoption is worth having a party over so you can help welcome the child into the family. But a baby shower proper is more typical for an infant, or at most, a young toddler.

I assure you that whatever the celebration, the family will probably appreciate it. Adoption is a long, painful process, and knowing you cared enough to celebrate the fruition of the process should make your friend very happy.

That said, a word of caution: check with your friend first. Some couples prefer to integrate the child into the family more quietly, especially if he or she is more than a few months old or comes from another culture or heritage.

Another Consideration

Typically, a shower for an adopted child differs from a traditional baby shower in that you get the parents directly involved from the beginning. Ask them a few questions before choosing a theme.

If, for example, the baby was born in China, don't just assume that you should select a Chinese theme, with fortune cookies, paper lanterns, and pandas. That may in fact be what the parents want; but on the other hand, they may prefer a purely American theme, like SpongeBob Squarepants or Dora the Explorer.

The Timing

The adoption process is slow and often uncertain; and if the child is coming into America from abroad, it may be hard to predict when that event will occur. So decide from the beginning if you want to hold the shower before or after the child arrives; and start your planning well in advance of his or her arrival date.

But given the uncertainty of the whole situation, stand ready to hold the shower at the drop of a hat, just in case the schedule changes!

Final Suggestions

It's a good idea to brief the guests about the child. Make sure they understand that the child is being adopted, and educate them about his or her original culture (if different from the parents'). And emphasize the child's age -- you don't want guests bringing onesies to baby showers when the kiddo's already two!

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