This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending a virtual baby shower for my niece who lives
in the Nashville area. The event truly was global as we had ladies there from the US, Canada
and Australia! We played games, laughed, chatted and the mama-to-be opened gifts that had
been delivered in advance. In this COVID world, it seemed unusual yet very normal all at once.
The event caused me to reflect on ways that people comforted us as we were awaiting our
adopted babies to come home. Our loved ones were not always sure the best way to support
us, as we all know things can go awry with adoption plans in the final hours. Even though the
same can be said for any situation, adoptions are undeniably less predictable.
Therefore, is it appropriate to have a baby shower for an adoptive mama/papa-to-be?
Adoptive parents also need support during this time. But what if something goes wrong? Will
it increase the heartbreak if others join in the celebrations? From my experience, having others
share in our thrilling news was not only welcome, it was critical.
In my book, I write about how an encouraging word from others was like a refreshment spot
along the course of a marathon. Even random encounters from strangers who cheered us on
recharged my batteries just enough to make it to the next stage. As well, our inner circle of
friends and family were supportive...sometimes when we just needed it the most.
I distinctly recall returning home after one particularly frustrating day of dealing with red tape
leading up to Katja’s adoption. Such events blurred together and so I can’t recall exactly what
happened. What I do recall is coming home to discover a large parcel had been delivered to our
door. Inside were piles of clothes and accessories for a little girl sent by my sister-in-law.
The contents contrasted sharply with the adoption-related red tape that had dominated my
attention throughout that particular day. Suddenly, I was like a little child at Christmas. I neatly
arranged the clothes in the living room and imagined them floating around the room, powered
by our daughter’s body and limbs. I needed that physical reminder of the true goal.
Contrary to the way I felt earlier that day, we were not on a mission to gather a dossier of legal
documents. We were on an exciting journey to bring Katja into our lives and the documents
were merely the means to that end. I received all the encouragement I needed to get through
what lay ahead the next day thanks to the support of our loving family back home.
If you are supporting someone through the pre-adoption phase, I encourage you to take cues
from the adoptive parents. If they are openly discussing plans, then I think it is appropriate for
you to celebrate the impending miracle and not shy away from it. They might need to receive
hope in the form of an inspiring word – or even a gift if appropriate for their situation - to help
them believe that their dreams will come true.