Are Baby Showers Appropriate for Older Kid Adoptions?

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While baby showers are often expected to welcome a new addition to a family, if that new addition is adopted -- and older -- the etiquette may seem murky. Should a baby shower be thrown? And if not, what should be done if you're a well-meaning friend who'd like to help the family mark this exciting event?

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Well, according to adoption experts, you should refrain from the traditional "shower" festivities.

"Baby showers are not appropriate for older child adoptions," says Victor Groza, one of the authors of the recently published book, Adopting Older Children. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't celebrate the new addition.

"Celebrations of the family joining together is a great ritual," acknowledges Groza. "I just wouldn't call it a baby shower but maybe an adoption shower."

When should the festivities be held? Many parents like to celebrate the day they've completed the mountain of paperwork typically required and the adoption becomes legal. This typically occurs shortly before the child arrives. When in doubt, the best course of action is just to ask the adoptive parents what they'd like to do, and when.

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"Some will want the baby shower prior to the child arriving so they can enjoy what other women get to enjoy, while others will prefer to have the shower afterwards," says Nicole Witt, Executive Director of The Adoption Consultancy in Tampa, Florida.

Another wild card to consider is the adopted child himself, who may not appreciate being the center of attention. 

"My feeling is that you do not throw any big parties for the children when they first come," says Regina Radomski, adoptive mother of two older Polish-born boys and contributor to Empowering Parents. "It is scary and overwhelming for them. We had a few people over here and there to make sure to not overwhelm them. Be aware that in the beginning they may have a lot of fears." 

Bottom line: flexibility on when and how to celebrate will definitely come in handy, so be prepared to change whatever needs to be changed to make everyone comfortable -- particularly the adoptive child you're welcoming into your circle.

What's the biggest question you've got about adoption?

 

Image via Volt Collection/shutterstock

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