The Saturday Question: How did you gear up for your adopted child?

Adoption is catching on in America, which is a great thing for families, children and the environment.  We thought we’d ask the experts (adoptive parents) how they prepared for their new addition.  If a family knows they’re going to be welcoming a newborn there’s a lot more information about what you’ll need, but many adoptive families aren’t sure how old baby will be when the adoption proceedings are complete.  How did you deal with baby shower and gift registries?  What tips would you pass on to families who are beginning to prepare for their baby’s arrival?


  1. My daughter will be 10 months when she comes home. I have received many many hand-me-downs from my nephews (crib, dresser, changing table, carrier, toys, etc., etc….). I also am a craigslist junky and have gotten some great deals! I also plan to cloth diaper and have bought most through . I did register at local baby stores for “necessities”. Of course, with any baby, all you REALLY need is food, a place to sleep (co-sleeping is recommended in adoption), and clothes. When I registered at one store they have a spot for “due date”. I place her 2009 birth date there. The store assumed I made an error on 2008 and changed “due date” to 2009. They were happy to change it and added a comment. Other stores have been respectful of adoption and not having a newborn. My sister-in-laws are having a shower for me and are focusing the games on “getting to know B…”. Questions about what her name means and trivia about the country and culture she was born into.

  2. A book shower always works for traditional gifting get together before the age of the child(ren) is known. Or a project shower where the gift is elbow grease. Get that deck put in, the wainscoting up in the new room, the sandbox built or the play set assembled.

    And some of the best gifts have nothing to do with the kids. When I came home with my first daughter, I discovered that a friend had sent her husband over to rake the leaves and mow the lawn while we were away. I was shocked and so grateful. The friend who calls to tell you not to worry about dinner that night because the pizza will be there at 5:30 is a friend indeed. For those with busy dogs, consider hiring a dog walker for the first couple weeks they are home or employing your child to get those dogs moving. Green housecleaning, a couple of prepaid grocery delivery fees, yard work and so on make great and appreciated gifts.

    And don’t forget zoo or science museum memberships. Or for first time parents of older children, a homemade book of things to do in your city with a couple of gift cards thrown in. Example – The library by your house has these scheduled activities, I recommend the Wednesday story hour. Here is a gift certificate for a latte from the coffee shop around the corner from the library. Try the chai, it is delicious and be sure to get it on the way out because the library doesn’t allow food or beverages.

    But most of all, just be excited for them and be understanding because it is a stressful process with many lows to go with the incredible highs.

  3. We’re looking forward to bringing a son home this year from Ethiopia, so I am looking forward to all these helpful tip!

  4. We are hoping our little one from Ethiopia (still awaiting referral) will be here for Christmas 2009.

    We are reading everything we can get our hands on. I visit the library and used book story every week or two. My favorite book so far is: There is no me without you.

    We plan to have a shower on short notice- after we pass court but before travel. It is difficult to plan ahead. We do not know gender, age (under 1 year), or weight.

  5. One of the hardest things about adoption is trusting it will all come together. In our experience, we were astounded by how our friends and family came together to support us. Friends decided to have a shower for our sweet month old son just 5 days following the adoption. It was truly a community coming together!! When organizing the shower my friends sent out an e-mail list of things that we did have (which was not much). The list was rather humorous now that I look at it. We had 3 bottles, 2 onsies, socks, a couple of blankets etc. At the shower friends had examined our list and then brought over the missing necessities. We recieved a bassinet, a used and beautiful crib and changing table, sheets and matching bumper, toys, clothes, a bouncy chair, a couple of slings, a swing etc. etc. It was marvelous and magical. Overnight, litterally… we were readily prepared for our new one and most of what we recieved were handme downs, wonderful things hardly used.

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