Baby Shower and The Helpful, Helpful Internet

25 06 2012

Yesterday, I hosted a baby shower for my friend S.  She and her husband, P, will be traveling to China to bring home their new baby boy sometime soon.  (Yup, you read that right – Boy.  After being on the waiting list for something like five years, during which time they completed an open-domestic adoption, they received their referral for A BOY.)

When we picked the date for this shower weeks ago, trying to accommodate as many friends’ schedules as possible, we did not realize that this would be the Coleman Campout weekend (hopefully you can read more about that in a few days.)  So, it turns out this weekend was actually pretty inconvenient for ME!  And, in the end, only a few other families could show up.  Still, I started to obsess over the party… but not in a timely way.  I did not obsess weeks ago when I had time to do my homework and get all crafty in a pretty way.  No, I started to obsess late last week, when I only had a day or two to do anything.  What do you do when you are in a pinch?  I turn to the internet.  Here is what I learned after Googling “Shower for Baby Adopted from China”…

1)  Parents who are adopting children like to celebrate their new children JUST like parents giving birth.

2)  As far as gifts go, adoptive children need the SAME EXACT supplies as bio babies.

3)  Sometimes parents who are adopting do not know the exact size their child will be when he/she comes home.  Therefore, it is important to get gift-receipts for any gifts you will be giving.

4)  It is best to wait until parents have a “referral” before setting a date for the shower, as sometimes the wait can be long (Can I get an Amen?)

And, really, can I get a WTF???

Are people actually this stupid?  And, if a stupid person is in charge of throwing a shower, would they not ask their friend, the Prospective Adoptive Parent, a few questions???  Oh, maybe it is one of those surprise showers… well, that is what you get if you like to plan surprise showers, I guess.

Eventually I found an idea or two worth stealing, but mostly I just headed to our local Asian Grocery Store followed by craft stores, dollar stores and party stores.  Beyond shopping, the key ingredient was help provided by my awesome friends.

So, here are my tips for throwing a Baby Shower For A Child Being Adopted From China or Any Other Country…

1)  Have a theme, but be careful not to be a racist (just saying).  It is great to honor the child’s country of origin, but make sure you don’t get down with some crazy stereotypes.  Safe choices… flags, food, colors, language and culturally significant proverbs or symbols.

2)  Make your shower a “potluck.”  I believe in making EVERYTHING a potluck.  When we sent out the evite we told people the theme was China, but they could bring whatever they wanted.  We ended up with an awesome stir-fry, home-made taquitos, tabouli, antipasto, fruit and fortune cookies….   And it all worked together.

3)  Honor the adoptive parents’ wishes.  In this case, they did NOT want any gifts.  They already have a son so they have clothes, toys and a plethora of baby gear.  Still, we wanted to do something.  We chose to make donations in the family’s name to a charity working in China.  After checking with some friends (thanks Bicicleta Mama) we picked Half The Sky.

4)  If the adoptive family already has a child who is about to get screwed out of all attention happily awaiting his younger sibling’s arrival, do something special for him.  In this case, we made him a giant card that we all signed and he sat in front of the cake while we sung “Happy Big Brother, to you…”  The kids who attended the party all made him individual, special cards, as well.

5)  Don’t forget to have awesome friends.  In my case, they came early and vacuumed my floor, brought flower arrangements, decorated the house, provided food, stayed late and cleaned up.

These cards that we all signed were on a table right when you walked in our door.

A few theme items… fortune cookies, chopsticks, a cake decorated like the Chinese flag with the Chinese character for “Joy” written on it, an internationally adopted child (you may not have one of these handy and may have to borrow one from a friend.)

Know your guests… more theme items included paper lanterns for ambiance and Chinese beer because our friends could care less about ambiance.

Cake tips – NO amount of red food die will turn white frosting red… the Chinese flag is NOT pink. Also, some kids can NOT keep their hands off of cakes. If your cake was not going to be perfect anyway, it might be good to be able to blame one of those kids for messing with it.

Mr. Enthusiasm himself LOVED hearing us sing the always popular “Happy Big Brother To You.” The fact that he exudes joy made the fact that the cake said joy extra special.

This mobile was the coolest idea that I stole. I found the Chinese characters ready to print, used red cardstock and a variety of gold papers, plus some blingy gold stars. The whole thing hangs from red thread balanced on some giant chopsticks. My hope is they will hang it in their new baby’s room. They seemed to like it and said eventually they would even frame the cards. Considering I didn’t finish this project until they had been at my house an hour, I was grateful for their enthusiasm.

One of the Chinese characters that is part of the mobile.  In China the color red symbolizes good fortune and joy, the colors yellow/gold symbolize balance, good luck and freedom from worldly cares.  The red thread connecting the mobile is a reference to the Chinese proverb, “An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstances. The thread may stretch or tangle but will never break.

Final tip: If you can arrange to have the adoptive father who is about to travel to China open this fortune – you are golden. I just got lucky… thank you, Universe.




One response

27 06 2012

If I ever adopt a kid, you have my permission to throw my baby shower.

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