Communities of friends and family love to celebrate with one another. We celebrate graduation. We celebrate marriage. We celebrate pregnancy. But how do we celebrate adoption, especially when the child is not a baby? Here’s how Heather Haynes did it.

Every family deserves a celebration

As an adoptive parent, I missed having a party when children joined our family. Our friends and family were pleased for us but didn’t really know how to show their support. When my friend was recently matched with two boys, I wanted to make a memorable show of support and encour­agement. However, I soon discovered that Pinterest isn’t full of festive ideas for adoption unless the child is a baby. I was determined to come up with something, though. Planning for the “Shower of Love” began to percolate.

It was easy to think of people to invite, but a bit of explanation was needed to get everyone on board. My messaging was clear: it is always a celebration when children become part of a family. What better way to show that than to start the parents off with gifts, advice, games, food, and friends?

Pieces of the puzzle

The theme we chose was “We Found our Missing Pieces.” Not being a very creative person [I beg to differ! –Ed.], I was really happy about this because decorating was super easy. I used puzzle pieces of all shapes and sizes in primary colors so that it was bright and fun. The cake was special ordered to match the theme and was the centrepiece of the table. We used the backs of the puzzle pieces to write advice or encour­agement for the parents, who got to take the puzzles home as one of the gifts.

The traditional baby shower games of tasting pureed foods, melting chocolate to look like poop in diapers, and reciting nursery rhymes were clearly not going to work. Instead, I made up a multiple choice game with facts about foster care and adoption. It was well-received by the group and started a great discussion. The winner of the game was rewarded with the Belonging Network notepad and pen! As far as gifts went, the guests needed some suggestions. We wanted to be of practical help by providing necessities as well as fun things. When parents adopt multiple kids at once it’s expensive. Gifts included swimming passes, books, clothes, medicine, socks, bedding, date nights for the parents, gift cards, a first aid kit, movie tickets, and a family photo shoot. We also created a meal train for the family for the week after placement so they didn’t have to worry about food.

Sharing the beauty of adoption

The afternoon was a delight. The new parents were truly showered with love from their friends and family. They were able to start their new season knowing that they have a community of people who are supporting them along the way. It also gave the guests a glimpse into an adoption journey and let them witness firsthand the beauty of family. It brought me to tears because, you see, the boys entering this family were once in my home as foster children. I had already loved them, cried for them, prayed for them, and hoped for a forever family for them. My grieving time was also a joyous time of celebration because I know this to be true: Children belong in families. 

Heather lives on Vancouver Island. She’s been married for 23 years and is a mom to seven children: three biological (ages 22, 21, 20), two adopted (ages 15 and 14), and two foster kiddos (ages 2.5 and 1)! Her family brings her great joy.