Planning a shower to welcome an adopted child may be a little different than your standard pre-baby event. Here's how to plan the perfect adoption shower.


At my baby shower, there was no guessing the size of the bump, and I could drink all the champagne I wanted. That's because I was still a few months away from being matched with my daughter by officials thousands of miles away in China. A new child is always a cause for celebration, but it can be tricky to throw a shower for a mom who isn't showing or doesn't have a due date. Learn how to throw a personalized adoption baby shower for your expectant mama.

Ask mom-to-be what kind of timing makes sense. Whether the family is adopting internationally or domestically, the timelines can often be uncertain. That can make plotting out an adoption baby shower a bit of a challenge. "We waited until Lilee was home to have the shower," says Laura Hoffman, a mom in Montclair, New Jersey, who adopted domestically. "Having one adoption plan fall through was enough to convince us that nothing is certain until it's certain. When the adoption was finalized, we had a wonderful shower. It was a celebration of this new person in our lives."

When we adopted, the timeline was straightforward, so we planned our adoption shower for a few months after our paperwork was submitted to China, but before we knew exactly who our daughter would be. Others wait until they have the referral picture and the travel date in hand. "I think the timing was tough because there was only a little over a month between our referral for Livi and traveling," says Kendra Allen, an adoptive mom in Huber Heights, Ohio, who adopted her daughter from China. "We received our referral for Livi on March 2, 2010, and had the shower on March 28. We left to meet Livi on April 14."

Baby Bib Cupcakes

Look for ways to include the child's heritage in the celebration. If the parents are adopting from a different country, heritage, or region of the United States, consider using that as inspiration for the theme or activities. You can have guests bring squares of fabric to be made into a fabulous quilt as part of the 100 wishes quilt tradition in China, or opt for Texas barbecue if the child is arriving from the Lone Star State.

Consider gifts that aren't so babyish. Newborns aren't always the norm in adoption, something to keep in mind when suggesting gift ideas. Have the guest of honor register for needed items to help gift-givers, or consider a theme that could work for kids of any age, such as a book shower to stock them up for story time.

Dream up fun activities for the shower. Most adoptive moms won't want you to guess the size of their bellies, and if the baby has already arrived, you won't be able to guess the due date. Ask guests to write out their best parenting advice to share with the new parents, or have them deck out bibs or T-shirts for the new arrival. "Our games consisted of how fast can you move things with chopsticks," Allen says. If the child is already home, you won't have to worry too much about planning to keep everyone entertained. "We didn't play any games at the party," says Hoffman, whose daughter was the guest of honor at her shower. "It was funny. It's like we were so happy and relieved and fulfilled that it didn't even occur to us. We just wanted to all be together and hold this precious baby!"

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