In a few short months, after years of planning and waiting, my partner-in-crime and I will be bringing home a baby. Nope, I’m definitely not pregnant — we are building a family through domestic transracial infant adoption!
Both our families are unbelievably stoked about our new addition; however no one, myself included, is not sure how to handle some of the details. Unfortunately, a “What to Expect When You’re Expecting… Through A Birthmother with a Social Worker” does not exist (yet) and details, such as throwing a baby shower or when we can comfortably share the news of our wee one’s due date and homecoming date are challenging to navigate. Our agency and network of friends who have adopted have all made us aware that a placement does not always result in a family and that our situation could change very abruptly.
We are as emotionally prepared for that circumstance as we can be (which does not mean very much) and have spoken with both our parents and siblings about the possibly of this happening. But does that mean bypassing all the nesting-with-friends-and-family traditions that come with traditional family-buildin’? I would love our community of friends and family to feel involved and welcome as we prepare to bring home our monster bebe. — Kate.
Based on what worked well for us, I would say yes, you absolutely can do the shower/nesting with friends stuff — just do it after the baby is here and with you (or if it is a foster-to-adopt situation, after the baby is legally free). What we did with our first child was a general announcement of intent to adopt (via Facebook, I think) which was basically a link to the blog I was writing about the experience. Then I announced widely again when we were matched, but I wouldn’t let anyone buy us presents or throw a shower until we had the baby… which was a good thing, because we had to make another general announcement when our match fell through.
The bummer side of this is that you are very excited and want to have parties and get presents and so forth and so on. Plus, for me, there was a temptation to get stuff so that it would seem real, since there was no baby growing in my belly reminding me that I was in a process that would end in a real little person in my life forever. But we went ahead and got the basics ourselves. When our first match fell through, I was so glad we hadn’t celebrated prematurely — all our baby stuff fit into a closet and was easy to put out of sight for a little while as we grieved the lost match.
The upside, which I’d never ever have traded away, was having a shower/welcome party for our daughter after she was in the world and in our arms. I think J was about four-months-old when we had her “Lullaby Shower” a party where all of our friends brought lullabys and sang them for her. We recorded it, and she’ll have something forever to remind her how joyously she was welcomed into our family and community. And honestly I think we got even more spoiled by our friends (with love, gifts, meals, just SPOILED) doing it after she was ours than we would have if we’d celebrated in advance.
So basically my recommendation is this: do everything you want to do, just do it after the baby is here and yours for real and forever.