Adopting a child is a huge event in the life of a family. Those closest to the family, such as dear friends and relatives, will want to celebrate the addition to the family, but a standard baby shower may not fit the occasion. In that case, a welcome home adoption party may be the answer.
One way loved ones can commemorate the adoption and avoid crowding the new, and possibly overwhelmed, family is to have a surprise shower. Gather gifts and any items the family may need as well as cards and flowers with happy wishes and congratulations. The gifts can include toys and supplies the child will need. Many adoptive families wait until the last minute to get such things since they may not know the exact age or gender of the child or because they want to wait until the adoption is settled. If you can get access to the family's home through a close relative or friend before they bring the baby home, a small display can be set up in the living or dining room with a banner reading "Welcome Home." If access isn't available, then wait for the family to get home with the new addition, and call to let the family know you have some things to drop by for the baby. This way you can show the new family love without imposing on their first moments together.
The adoptive family may be overwhelmed in the early days with simply settling in and may also be fielding numerous calls and requests to drop by. To simplify things and ease the amount of callers, family or friends could arrange for a welcome home open house. Send out invitations for a Saturday or Sunday afternoon and allow for visitors to drop in throughout that time. This casual gathering can include a cake, some finger foods and activities for kids like games or movies set up in the family room, or if weather permits, in the backyard. Make sure to have a guest book on hand to give visitors the chance to welcome the new family member. If people want to bring gifts, let them know what types of items are needed, especially the child is not a newborn.
Welcome Party for Infants
When a family brings home a baby, the adoption party can be fairly similar to a baby shower that would be thrown after a baby is born. Cake, games, gifts are all appropriate. Special themes can be incorporated particularly if the child is adopted from another country or culture. For instance, if a child is adopted from China, having food or decorations that tie in to that country's culture would be special. If the infant is a bit older, make sure to find out what types of items the family needs. For instance, a highchair might not be necessary for long, but a booster seat or infant feeding utensils might be better. The shower may incorporate games that feature the cultural background of the child as well, or include activities that acknowledge the child's birth history as well as celebrating the child's adoption into the family. For instance, a relay game involving nesting dolls for a child adopted from Russia, or specially adoption-themed fortune cookies for an infant adopted from China.
Welcome Party for Older Children
When a family adopts an older child, the welcome home party needs to center around the child's comfort level and interests. The party may need to wait until the child feels more secure and settled. Gifts may include toys or games suited to the child's hobbies and age. Gift certificates to retailers for clothing or toys are appropriate as well. The theme of the party could tie into the child's interests. For example, a tween who loves baseball could include a game at a park and a barbecue. For a little preschool girl who loves princesses, a princess cake and decorations would be a big hit. Inviting children close to the child's age, including the children of friends, relatives or neighbors would be appropriate. The welcome home adoption party could also be held at a pizza or amusement center or be a cook out with volleyball games or a pool party. Guests can have a special guestbook to sign with digital pictures of them included, so that the child can link names and faces of new family members and friends.
Week Long Welcome
To adapt to a family's needs, the welcome party might be given in sections. For instance, every night for a week a couple of families could drop by with cards, gifts and a fully prepared dinner for the family. This serves the purpose of introducing the new family member in small doses and supporting the family with needed items and the help of meals during a busy and often stressful time. To help welcome the newly adopted child into their new neighborhood, consider having a special book for preschoolers that shows pictures of important places in the town .