How to Have Adoption Showers

April is known for “April Showers” and this could mean that it’s time for a baby shower!  However, sometimes those who are adopting, are forgotten when it comes to showers because it can be tricky to plan a shower that doesn’t revolve around conception, baby bumps and delivery.  Executive Director of The Adoption Consultancy Nicole Witt (headquartered in Tampa, FL), put together these following tips below for planning an adoption baby shower. 

  • Before or After Adoption–Just ask: The very first thing to do before planning an adoption baby shower is to ask the prospective parents what they want.  Some will want the baby shower prior to the birth so they can enjoy what other women get to enjoy, while others will prefer to have the shower after the placement when they no longer have to worry about the adoption falling through.  
  • Remember to Specify Age, Gender and Size: If the child was not adopted as a newborn, or if the shower is taking place sometime after the placement, make sure you put the information on the invitations so that guests know the age & sizes of the child so they can buy appropriate clothing.
  • To Invite Birth Mother Or Not: Speaking of invitations, consider inviting the prospective birth mother.  Of course, the birth mother and the adoptive mother need to have a special relationship for this to work, and both of them need to be on board with the idea.  But if they’ve developed a bond that would lend themselves to this, it can make for an extremely meaningful event. 
  • Choose a Theme Not Involving Pregnancy: This goes for the invitations, decorations, goodie bags, and throughout the whole shower.  Instead of pregnancy, focus on a general baby theme, a favorite storybook character or tie it to the nursery design.  A fun idea for a child being adopted abroad is to have guests sign a globe in lieu of guest book. 
  • Flexibility with Shower Date is a Must: Another thing to keep in mind with the invitation and planning is to be flexible.  If the shower is planned for before the birth, the circumstances of the adoption can change.  Or if it’s planned for after placement, once baby is home, some of the details (such as time of day, location, etc.) may no longer be the right fit.  Don’t make the mom feel guilty about any of this.  Happily change whatever needs to be changed to celebrate accordingly.  
  • Games Are A Must–But Not Pregnancy Related: Just because you’re not doing a pregnancy theme, doesn’t mean you should skip the games.  But be careful if you’re purchasing game items because many products on the market would be inappropriate.  Instead, do games such as Nursery Rhyme Jeopardy or a Baby Item Scavenger Hunt. 
  • Spoil the Mother, Like Always: Treat the mom with the same amount of attention, fuss and excitement as you would with any other baby shower.  A lot of what she dreamed about related to growing her family has probably been taken away from her.  So let her completely enjoy this rite of passage just as any other woman gets to.  
  • Keep Adoption Myths or Horror Stories to a Mum: Never, ever, ever discuss adoption myths or ‘horror stories’ at the shower.  If someone starts, your responsibility as hostess is to take them aside and hush them up quickly!  Also make sure that, despite not focusing on pregnancy, the adoption itself doesn’t receive undue attention.  Avoid intrusive questions about the baby’s background and/or the circumstances that will bring/have brought the baby into the family.  For the people you know well enough, you may want to chat with them ahead of time to make sure they understand what types of questions would be off-limits or just downright rude.  Just focus on the new family member as a joyous new addition.
  • Adult Beverages Are Allowed as is a Co-Ed Shower: Since this is not the stereotypical baby shower, but a true celebration of family, it might be appropriate to have a co-ed shower.  And, if the adoptive parents are comfortable with it, you can serve champagne, mimosas or another specialty/themed cocktail.  At least this way, she gets one perk from not actually being pregnant.
  • Save Money with DIY: These days, Pinterest makes it so easy to save money with DIY decorations and favors.  Search around the site for adoption-related ideas to create something truly unique to these adoptive parents’ circumstances.  
  • Maximize the utility of emailed or text invitations: Using eVite or apps like Hobnob (beautifully designed invites via text messaging) is not only simple, time-saving and eco-friendly, but it provides a unique opportunity.  It’s super easy to include links in the invitation to sites that can educate the shower attendees about adoption beforehand.  You could even customize it for specific people.  For those who need a bit more sensitivity training, you could send a link on Positive Adoption Language without offending them because it will look like it was sent to everybody.  If the adoptive parents blogged their journey, you could link to that so that everyone will know what they’ve gone through to get to this point.
  • Forget Presents, Set up a GoFundMe adoption fund: Adoption is expensive.  And, more than another cute baby outfit, adoptive parents may need help paying off some of those adoption costs.  It’s easy to set up a GoFundMe account to which people can donate in lieu of giving a gift and is sure to be greatly appreciated.