Adoption is usually not the first choice for new parents. Often couples have endured many troubles with pregnancy loss, and have had to learn to grieve the loss of a child in so many different ways. When a person looks into adoption, they deal with the shock of the different types of adoption. Is it public, private, international? Then in today’s world you have to throw in whether it’s an open or closed adoption. With adoptive seeking parents, the cost tends to be a heavy factor and adds stress after potentially still grieving the loss of not having a biological child. In my own personal battle, I grieved not having the normal pregnancy, not going to the “mommy and me” classes, and not having a regular homecoming with my new child.
Here are some tips on how to throw and adoption or celebration baby shower.
1) Avoid surprise adoption parties
Many adoptions are not normally with a newborn baby, they may be placed in a home with adoptive parents that have the intent to adopt, but may not finalize for over a year or so. Make sure to talk to the adoptive parents and get their input. I would discuss with the adoptive parents and consider throwing a celebration party once the adoption has been finalized as every adoption journey is different.
2) Include the child’s age, gender and size in the invitation
As most children that are adopted are not newborns, it’s nice to share with the guests what the child’s age, gender and size are to make sure everyone is aware of the situation. We included a little back story to our guests so that they had a better understanding of our journey and what the celebration really meant for us.
3) Educate your guests about adoption
Adoption is a sensitive subject and sometimes our family and friends don’t understand the struggles that we have endured while going through the adoption process.
Share one of your favourite adoption blogs to help give your guests a better understanding prior to attending. Open adoption has really changed, and many people need to be educated on the process to fully understand the commitment of everyone involved. I had trouble with having our child held by so many different people, as we were working on bonding with our baby still. I was grateful for everyone being ecstatic, but I needed them to also understand what we were working on.
4) Keep the negative adoption experiences to yourself
When going through the adoption process, there really likely isn’t one story that is full of all flowers and rainbows. There are many ups and downs that happen to go along with adoption. People often like to ask questions as they are curious, but you need to limit how intrusive these questions can be. People don’t ask how the birthing process happened? Did you have to use the tongs to remove the baby? Some things are better left unsaid.
5) Spoil the new parents
An adoptive parent may have missed out on many things that typical “new parents” have the luxury to enjoy. Make this day full of excitement! These parents have potentially accepted a challenge in their lives that they don’t have a lot of experience in. Yes most new parents, need some guidance, but they have so many friends and family members that can tell them their tricks to surviving a newborn. When it comes to new parents and adoption, there really isn’t many people that they can lean on for support as the adoption community is rather small.
Adoption is a different kind of miracle, but the new parents shouldn’t really be treated any differently. They still want to share the joy of their new adventure and often it’s nice to do a baby shower/celebration with both parents as they have gone through this journey together.
As you can see adoption is a tricky subject for many. You get people that are nosy and asking inappropriate questions, and you get others that are genuinely scared about the topic. Adoption is kind of like a cruise ship being in uncharted waters. Back in the 80’s and 90’s, most adoptions were closed and you didn’t have social media to contend with. Nowadays, more and more adoptions are public and social media has really shaken up the process. We are learning as we go and adapting to the changes. Adoption paperwork is definitely worth it. Keep calm and fill out the next form.