Adoption is a joyous occasion and deserves to be celebrated! An adoption party is a fantastic way to welcome a child into your family where they will be loved and cared about for the rest of their life.
It may be appropriate to throw a baby shower-style party for adoptive parents who are adopting an infant. If the adoptive parents are adopting an older child, though, an adoption party that includes the child may be more fitting. An adoption party that welcomes an older child into the family will allow them to meet extended family members and friends while celebrating a new start in life.
In any case, it can be challenging to know where to begin with adoption party planning. Here I’ve compiled several adoption party ideas to help you throw the perfect celebration to welcome your new child into your family.
Choose a Theme
Before you begin planning, you’ll want to choose a theme for your adoption party. Here are some theme ideas for your celebration.
If you are adopting a child from another country, a cultural-themed party is a good idea. This idea allows you to celebrate your new family member and honor their cultural roots at the same time. For instance, if you are adopting a child from Russia, you could send out invitations with nesting dolls on them, decorate with nesting dolls, and serve Russian desserts, such as Charlotte, pirog, and zefir. You could display photos of your child’s hometown and play Russian music during the party.
For a Chinese-themed adoption party, you might serve red eggs, soup, spring rolls, cake, and tea. You can decorate with paper lanterns and folding fans.
Pieces of the Puzzle
I love this idea because it symbolizes your adoptive child as being the missing piece that completes your family. You can hand out pieces of a puzzle you’ve nearly completed to each guest as they arrive at the party. Display the nearly-completed puzzle on the central table. Sometime during the party, have each guest come up to the table and place their piece of the puzzle into its correct spot.
If your child is old enough, give them the final piece of the puzzle and have them place it, completing the puzzle. If your child isn’t old enough to place the piece themselves, you can take your child to the table with you and place the final piece into the puzzle for them. The idea is that the child is the piece the adoptive family has been missing – now that the child is here, the family is complete.
In Our Hearts
Another theme you can use for your party is an “In Our Hearts” theme. You could decorate the party space with heart-shaped decorations, such as paper hearts, heart-shaped lights, and pink and red crepe paper. You could serve heart-shaped cookies, cupcakes decorated with hearts, heart-shaped candies, or a heart-shaped cake. You can also create a large heart or several smaller hearts out of wire and flowers and use the heart/s to take a family photo to commemorate the occasion.
You can use that photo to start a scrapbook for your adoptive child. You could also get your adoptive child a heart-shaped ring, locket, or charm bracelet to remind them of your family’s love. Alternatively, you could give them a decorative box to store the special memories you create together as a family.
Worth the Wait
Adoption is often a very slow, arduous process. A “Worth the Wait” party celebrates the process by featuring slow-moving animals such as snails, turtles, inchworms, and sloths. Now, you may be thinking, “These are not the cutest, cuddliest animals on the planet,” but you might be surprised at how adorable this theme can be.
You can hire a local bakery to make cupcakes with fondant snail, inchworm, and turtle toppers or one large cake featuring one or more slow-moving animals. You can even make a cake in the shape of an inchworm. You can serve snail pinwheel sandwiches, turtle sugar cookies, turtle quesadillas, sloth pretzels, and a mini-Oreo inchworm. There are tons of recipes out there for sloth, snail, turtle, and inchworm-themed party food.
You can either buy or make your own slow-moving animal decorations for the party. Pinterest has an abundance of recipes and do-it-yourself decoration ideas.
A book party is a great idea for an older adoptive child. You can decorate with fun book covers and serve cake featuring your adoptive child’s favorite book cover or story characters.
Ask each of your guests to bring a book with a family or adoption theme to give as a gift to your adoptive child. Some adoption and family-themed children’s books include I’ve Loved You Since Forever, We Belong to Each Other, You Are My Happy, I Wished for You: An Adoption Story for Kids, and The Family Book. During the party, have each guest read a few lines from their book that they find meaningful. Alternatively, ask each guest to share a little about what family means to them.
After the party is over, you will have a nice set of books to start your adoptive child’s collection. These books will provide you a chance to bond with your adoptive child as you read them together.
The “O-Fish-Ally Ours” theme celebrates the fact that your adoptive child has finally arrived at their forever home – they are officially yours. There are a lot of really adorable things you can do with an O-Fish-Ally Ours party.
You can use blue tablecloths for the tables to represent the ocean. You can use little fishbowls, cut-out fish, starfish lanterns, and other sea creatures to decorate with. Goldfish, Swedish fish, starfish sandwiches, sugar cookies in the shape of various sea creatures, cupcakes with fondant sea creature toppers, and seaweed spirals (pinwheel sandwiches) are some of the refreshments you might consider serving.
You Are My Sunshine
I love this party theme idea because it is so bright, happy, and positive – just like the adoption you are celebrating. If you go with this party theme, there are tons of pre-made decorations you can purchase. Alternatively, you could make your own decorations featuring suns, bright yellow happy faces, and sunflowers. Fresh flowers would also be lovely decor for this type of party. Sun sugar cookies, pink lemonade cupcakes, or a sunflower cake could be served as refreshments along with yellow or pink lemonade.
The focus of the party should be the adoptive child, of course, but some entertainment will add to your celebration.
If your child came from another country, you can play music from their country of origin in the background.
Learn a Dance
If your adoptive child is from another country, you could all learn a dance from their country of origin during the party. You could either hire someone to come to the party and teach you a simple dance or use YouTube to teach your guests a simple dance. Your local cultural center may have a contact for an instructor.
Even if you’re not using a “Pieces of the Puzzle” theme for the party, it would be fun to have a puzzle at the party your guests can work on throughout the celebration.
Plant a Tree
If you’re hosting the party at your home, you could plant a new tree in your yard. Have the guests work together to plant the tree to show your adoptive child the importance of working together. You can have a couple of people dig the hole, someone put the tree into the hole, a couple of people shovel dirt onto the tree’s roots, and so forth. The tree will serve as a reminder of the joyous occasion for years to come.
Play Bonding Games
There are numerous games you can play at the party to help strengthen the bond between your adoptive child and your extended family and friends. Here are just a few.
One person from the group does something silly or fun with their body. Then, the rest of the group tries to mimic the movement. This game is great because it gets everyone to tune in and pay attention to one another.
This is a favorite relay at family gatherings and it’s great for an adoption party, too. Pair people up into teams of two and have the teammates stand side-by-side. Use a scarf or bandanna to tie the teammates’ inside ankles together. Each team races down to the finish line. The team that crosses first is the winner.
This is a great game for bonding as it requires teammates to communicate well and work together to get to the finish line.
Wheelbarrow Relay Race:
The wheelbarrow relay race is another fun relay game you can play. Pair people off into teams of two. At the starting line, one person stands and holds the other teammate’s ankles while they walk on their hands to the finish line. At the finish line, teammates switch places and head back to the starting line. The team who finishes first wins.
Planning the Guest List
If you are planning the adoption party for the parents, be sure to include them in the process, especially when it comes to selecting who to invite to the celebration. Be aware that there may be people in the adoptive parents’ lives that don’t support their decision to adopt. Avoid inviting anyone to the party who might be negative or try to rain on the parents’ parade.
Baby showers are typically held before the baby arrives but the whole point of an adoption party is to give the adoptive child a chance to meet their new family and friends. If you’re adopting an infant, you can hold an adoption party anytime after your baby comes home.
Timing is a little trickier if you’re adopting an older child. It’s important to give your adoptive child time to settle in before throwing a party. It can be overwhelming for adults to meet a bunch of new people at once so imagine how much more overwhelming it could be for a child who has just moved into your home.
You might want to introduce your adoptive child to family members and friends as they start to settle in before you hold the party. That way, your adoptive child will already be familiar with some of the party guests at the time of the celebration. This also means that your adoptive child won’t be overwhelmed with meeting everyone in your life at one time.
Avoid Surprise Parties
Along the same lines, it’s probably best to avoid throwing a surprise adoption party. Your adoptive child needs time to settle in and get used to their new surroundings. They need time to get to know you and the people close to you so they aren’t overwhelmed with meeting a bunch of new people all at once.
Include the Adoptive Child
Include the adoptive child in the party planning as much as possible. The whole point of an adoption party, after all, is to make your adoptive child feel included and part of the family.
Perhaps you can base the party’s theme on something that your adoptive child likes. You could incorporate your adoptive child’s favorite colors into the decorations. If your adoptive child is old enough, they may be able to help you make some of the decorations for the party. Serve some of your adoptive child’s favorite foods at the party.
If you have other children, allow them to invite their friends to the party and include them in the planning process as well. While the focus of the adoption party will be your newly adopted child, you don’t want your other children to feel excluded. Planning the party together as a family is also a wonderful way to start building bonds together.
Adopting a child is an occasion that deserves to be celebrated. Throwing an adoption party or welcome home party for your adoptive child is a wonderful way to welcome them into your family and introduce them to extended family members and friends. Using these tips, you can throw a marvelous adoption party that will create a beautiful memory to share with your child for years to come.