Baby Shower for Mom Who's Adopting

Archived Q&A and Reviews

April 2006

I just found out yesturday that a friend of mine, after many unsuccessful years of trying to get pregnant, is going to adopt a baby from China. I am so excited for her and think she should have a baby shower. The caveat is, that she is bringing home a little girl, actually. Not a baby but a toddler. The child will be at least one year of age. So my question is, basically, where do I start? All the traditional stuff is sort of out the window, I think, or is it? Has any one out there had or thrown a succussful shower in this kind of situation? Any ideas or insight would be greatly appreciated. Friend of mom to be

Yes, absolutely - have a baby shower for her, even though the 'baby' will already be one year old. We had a shower like this for a woman at our church in the same situation. It was wonderful. There were still plenty of things she needed even though the baby would already be one year old. All the usual gear - stroller, car seat, crib, diaper bag, etc. Also cute clothes, shoes, blankets, toys, books - you name it. Just like for a shower for a woman who is pregnant, only the gifts will be suitable for a one year old. We still played party games - if you want to do that there are lots of things you can do other than 'guess baby's weight' or 'guess mama's girth size'. For favors and decorations you can use whatever would be suitable for any other baby shower. Such a joyous occasion - she's lucky to have a friend like you to help her celebrate it! Have fun! Anon
We adopted from Russia and our best friend threw a great shower party (about 1 months before they boys were supposed to come home - eventually it was 6 months before ONE came home .. different looooong story). She had cake & cookies, coffee and tea, the room was decorated with the US, Russian and German (I am German) flags and a soccer/baseball theme (for boys). I and my husband shared stories about Russia, brought out the globe and showed our guests were the boys are coming from. Just have a wonderful get together to celebrate this wonderful upcoming event - you do not want to plan or organize too much (such as those ''silly'' games) as the adoptive parent has typically enough ''stimulation'' and emotion with the entire process. Ask folks to bring hand-me downs - we registered at Target but only a few folks chose to buy new things. Gift certificates were great as we had no idea how big/tall/heavy they boys will be. Mom-to-Yuri-from-Russia
As an adoptive mother of 2 I would like to suggest that you have the celebration AFTER the child is here. Call it an adoption celebration instead of a baby shower. Thank you for being so sensitive. m
Congratulations to your friend, and thank you for arranging a shower for her and her daughter! Adopting families need the same kinds of supports and celebratory experiences as families with birth children -- the age of the child is really irrelevant. Your friend will need clothes, toys, books, and all of the other paraphernalia accompanying toddlerhood, but she will also need and want a community of friends ready to celebrate her expanded family and ready to lend a hand when she needs advice, comfort, and babysitting. Have fun! Been there
As the mother of a bio daughter and an adopted son, I think your offer to host or assist with a shower for your friend is wonderful. Moms who are adopting should have their joy celebrated just like moms who are giving birth. It always bothered me that many people didn't seem as interested in celebrating my adoption as they did my birth, when both were just as wonderful and special to me (and it still bothers me today that some close friends didn't even send me a card following my adoption). I just attended a shower for an adoptive mom-to-be and here what was done at the shower: a brief questionnaire about their adoption (e.g. when did they start, how old is their child, what name have they picked out, how would they describe the adoption process, where are they going, how long will they be gone - all multiple choice), a word scramble with baby words (words like high chair and pacifier) and finally a game where people had to come up with as many baby names as possible out of the parents' first and middle names. In every other way it was just like a ''normal shower'' where people brought gifts and were excited for her child-to-be. Please make sure all the guests know approx. how old the child will be so they don't buy any newborn or young infant things. Good luck! Adoptive mom
This is a response to the poster who wants to throw a shower for a friend who is adopting a baby girl from China. Good for you for wanting to do something so generous for your friend! I adopted a one year old baby girl born in China a few years ago. My friends threw me a shower that was memorable, beautiful and practical. Here are a few of my thoughts: First of all, I would wait until your friend receives the referral of her baby. Chinese adoption can take a LONG TIME these days and if she is just starting out, it may take well over a year. When she receives the referral of the baby, she will know just how old her child is (which may influence what she needs) and she will have a period of about six weeks to two months until she travels to China to meet her. People often recieve referrals of children older or younger then what they expect or request. When the time gets closer, you can ask your friend what she needs, i.e. she might want to register at a place like Rockridge Kids or Target or Babies R' Us. Even if the baby is a year old, she's still going to need a car seat, stroller, high chair, diaper bag, etc. Maybe this stuff is ''bigger'' then what someone giving birth would need, but this family is still starting a new life with this child. I went to a wonderful shower for a family adopting a five year old girl -- they needed things like clothes, books and toys. I received many books at my shower which my daughter and I treasure. Another wonderful thing my friends did for me was to put together a calendar. People signed up to bring us meals, walk my dog, run errands and meet us at the park. It was a lifesaver during those first exhausting jetlagged weeks back home and I highly recommend it. adoptive mom who's been there
I haven't thrown such a shower, but I've been to one and it was one of the most enjoyable showers I've attended. Your friend might not need some of the traditional newborn things, but she'll still need a lot (stroller, crib, clothes, toddler toys, carseat). What I found fun about this shower (other than the joy at seeing our friend finally about to become a mother) was that I could give things that you never get to give at baby showers, practical gifts that you know are useful to a mom of a one year old, that aren't exactly good first birthday gifts, either. I remember one of the things I gave her was a set of containers for food (the kind you pack in a lunch or bring with toddler snacks to the park). She took it with her to Kazikstan when she went to get her daughter and says they saved her sanity on the way back on the plane. Absolutely give her a shower!
Yes, absolutely you should offer to throw a shower for your friend who is adopting! I'm sure she is thrilled that she is finally on the verge of becoming a parent and wants to celebrate with friends and family. Tell her you want to do this and ask her if she would prefer it to happen before or after her daughter arrives (sometimes people want to be sure the adoption has happened before they start celebrating). She may not need newborn supplies, but she will still need clothes, toys, feeding equipment, a stroller, and much more. Sometimes with international adoptions, the country of origin is used as a theme (serve Chinese food, get decorations and/or favors from Chinatown). You might run this idea past your friend and see if she likes it. Have a great party! adoptive mom who loved her shower
I think you should do it just like a baby shower but with ''big girl'' things. It will be easier if you can get your friend to register someplace like target. I imagine she might need or enjoy: a bed, dresser, bookshelf, toy box, clothes, toys, books, memberships to the zoo, childrens museums, books about toddlers, etc. Congratulations to your friend, that is great! Oh, maybe the party could even take place on the arrival of the little girl. I would think that all those presents would make a pretty good impression on her. We have some friends who adopted from China and their pictures make it seem like their orphanage was pretty stark but those girls and pretty resilient and not afraid of crowds! anon
Upon returning stateside with our 13 mo. old adoptee from China, two women hosted a ''welcome to the neighborhood party'' for our daughter in a park. Organized similar to a birthday party, where parents and children were invited, the children gave gifts to our daughter. Balloons were given to all the children present. We ate cake and ice cream. We all were very touched. The good heartedness was an excellent way for our daughter to become acclimated to our culture and community. It also afforded a way for her new community of well wishers to satisfy their curiosity about an adoptee in their midst...children and parents alike. karen
We threw a baby shower last year for friends who adopted from Korea. Their baby was younger (about 4 months) but the situation was basically the same. My advice is give her a great shower, with everything age and stage appropriate.

First find out what she already has, or has been given or promised by friends and relatives. Suggest that she register somewhere like Babies R Us--that will make it easier for her to get exactly what she wants, and for friends to not buy things she doesn't need.

We sent out invitations to the list of people they gave us, and noted on the invitation where they were registered, and a reminder at the bottom ''Note--the baby will be at least 4 months old when he arrives...please, no newborn sizes!''

Good luck--your friend deserves and needs a shower as much as any other new mom; she'll just need slightly different items.

Have fun! Heidi

Your friend is fortunate to have someone like you planning a shower for her and her baby. I have two children adopted from China. When we adopted our first, we were given three baby showers, one before we left (work community) and two after we came home (one by local friends and one by well-wishers from the community where my parents live that gave everyone a chance to meet our baby and see our travel pictures). The showers were all wonderful and made us feel our daughter was surrounding by a loving, supportive community.

Adoptive parents need the same things needed by any parent but these items are especially useful before traveling: an FAA approved convertible car seat (both rear and front facing--forget one just for infants) safely strapped into the car the baby will be driven home in unless the parents are planning on taking it to China to keep their baby safe on the flight home; diaper bag--one that includes a changing pad is great because public restrooms in China rarely include a diaper changing area; small bottle of hand sanitizer; baby wipes; a baby carrier (like a wrap, a baby Bjorn or even a backpack carrier); a small stainless steel thermos (for preparing bottles while traveling in China); Cheerios and Goldfish crackers; an easy to carry/pack camcorder or digital camera; a multi-slotted document file for adoption/immigration paperwork; bottles (regular fast flow nipples) and sippy cups; plastic bibs; baby feeding spoons.

Because our referral statistics (the pre-travel medical information that includes weight and height) were not completely accurate (our first child was bigger than we expected, our second much smaller), some of the clothes we received didn't fit. So I know its easier to use things that are too big rather than too small. Lucky Mom