A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about how to support your friend or family member in her adoption journey. In this second installment of “So Your Friend’s Adopting,” I’m presenting tips for celebrating your friend and her new family when the big day finally arrives.
In domestic infant adoption, you usually do not know the gender until a match meeting, or just before placement (in our case); thus, preparing a nursery beforehand is tricky. And for some soon-to-be mothers (like me), I did not want to walk by an empty nursery every day for who knows how long. There is also a “wait and see” element with adoption. For instance, in Texas, the birthmother cannot relinquish her parental rights until 48 hours after the baby is born. Sometimes she follows through with her adoption plan. Sometimes she chooses to parent. Also, adoption can take longer than nine months. That summer newborn outfit your mother gave you might not actually work when you bring baby home in February. There are many variables in domestic infant adoption, especially, that make preparation for baby complicated.
For our baby prep, we purchased a gender neutral car seat, rocking chair, two newborn outfits, and a pack of newborn diapers. That’s it. So, as with other aspects of the adoption journey, follow your friend’s lead. Does she want to register? Does she want to brainstorm nursery decor? (I so did. And am doing so now as we await a second sweetie.) Does she want a shower for baby basics? Does she want a party to provide clothes and toys for an older child?
We found out our darling girl was ours on a Monday at 10:20 a.m. I brought her home the next day at 2:00 p.m., and since she was already over 8 pounds, the newborn diapers and clothes I purchased were totally re-gifted later. My wee one was not that wee.
In a scramble, the hubs and I hit up Babies ‘R Us that night trying to secure items we needed: a bed (hello! a bed!), bottles, pacifiers, clothes, diapers, wipes, etc. (Lawd, if you could have only seen us. I bet we are a legend at that store. Two crazed new parents rushing in the store at 8:00 p.m. frantically asking: What do we need?) What a blessing it was to find three bags of hand-me-downs waiting for me on the porch when we arrived home. And that’s my next tip: Be there with help when it happens.
- Volunteer to wash/launder/sanitize new baby items if a quick placement happens. The parents have so much on their minds beside how to put the baby bed together!
- Create a list of baby basics with your friend before placement. When THE call happens, hop in your car and pick up those items for your friend.
- Mobilize a group of friends/family who will be willing to provide meals for the family.
- Does your friend need help running errands, tying up loose ends of daily life? Help! Help! Help!
- Ask how you can help spread the good news. Make calls? Send emails or texts?
- Send flowers! Balloons! Anything to celebrate the big deal of baby coming home!
And don’t forget to party! In our case, my church friends put together a sweet Sip-and-See just five days after we brought our daughter home. Shortly thereafter, my husband’s work threw a shower for us. And eight months later, when we were cleared to leave the state with our cutie, my sister hosted a huge surprise “Welcome to the Family” party that included my entire Tennessee family. Ah-mazing.
Simply ask your friend what type of celebratory shin-dig she would like after baby arrives — and what she wants included. For instance, don’t put Mom and Dad on the spot with the adoption story if aspects of it are private. Or don’t volunteer your version of the story either.
Consider this too:
- Think through a guest list. You may find yourself planning a party with little notice. And your friend/family member will be reeling with excitement and exhaustion. That’s not the time to inquire about who and what.
- Volunteer to provide child care — or whatever is needed — to allow the new parents to register.
- If time is an issue, utilize online invitation services.
- A party with baby is very different from a party before baby. Couples showers are nice because they include more people. Thus, new parents are not dragging the new baby to 15 different parties in 10 days so as to cover all their friend groups. Also, be respectful of baby’s schedule. What time of day is best for the new family?
While the bulk of this post deals with celebrating domestic infant adoption, the tips certainly apply to adoptions of older children whether domestic or international. Showers, soirees, and such are for celebrating any child, whether a newborn or not. A family who is welcoming a three year old or a 15 year old child still need clothes, supplies, decor, furniture, and the like to settle into life. These happy times should be celebrated and supported!
Stayed tuned for Part 3 of “So Your Friend’s Adopting”! Next on the docket is unique, thoughtful, gift ideas for adoptive families.
These are such generous, thoughtful ideas! I’m not sure if this comment would be more appropriate in an email to you, but I just wanted to let you know I work for a company called Noonday Collection, which started as an adoption fundraiser for our founder. We sell gorgeous accessories made with love by vulnerable women in resource-poor areas around the world, and we have a huge heart for adoption and orphan care! If you or someone you know is adopting, we love doing adoption fundraisers for these families! You just host a show in your home and Noonday donates 10% of the profits to the adoption process. It’s just another way to bless a precious, growing family in what can be a very costly process. Just wanted to throw it out there!
WHAT A GREAT IDEA! Please shoot me an email: [email protected]. I’d love to learn more about this.