After over two and a half years of fostering, we are finally adopting our son! This is super exciting for us and our friends and family. We would like to celebrate this event with a child's party (similar to a birthday party but without gifts - a party for children, not geared for adults). I think a party could be a lot of fun for our son and also a good way to celebrate him at a time when he's starting to feel a bit of jealousy (we are now fostering his younger siblings, too).
But I'm also sensitive to criticism, sometimes overly sensitive. And I know that many people in the adoption community frown on celebrations of the adoption day because it's a day that symbolizes the loss of one's biolgoical parents and sometimes also one's culture. I'm also just worried about how the kids will react when it's not a birthday party. Will they be confused? I really don't want any criticism of this event. Thus, I've been procrastinating on planning the celebration. I don't have anything planned and it's only 2 weeks away! I'm considering not having a party at all and just going out to eat with family.
Am I blowing this out of proportion? WWYD?
The only real criticisms I have heard from the non-adoptive-parent sides of the triad about stuff like that is the term "Gotcha Day", or celebrating it every year if the kid doesn't want to.
Realistically, the date that you adopt your son does NOT represent the day that he was separated from his family of origin anyway, so anyone flapping their jaws at you over that is just infected with verbal diarrhea and you should just ignore them. I also don't think that kids will be confused about something not being a birthday party when you're calling it an adoption party.
When i was growing up, I never heard of anyone celebrating an adoption event. Now I really do not know anyone who adopted older kids who didn't have SOME sort of party (even if it was small) to celebrate the finalization. I don't know anyone who does it as an annual event, though.
I think there will always be people in your life that will find something to critique about everything you do (they'd bitch about a birthday party or how you hosted Thanksgiving too). I don't see why you'd need to avoid doing something you want to do based on people like that. If you have people that you're worried about, or don't want to risk anyone saying anything, maybe just invite people you know to not have a case of footinthemouthitis?
IDK how old your son is, but if he wants to celebrate, then I say go for it. There's no need to worry about confusion -- if the kids wonder why it's not a birthday party, that's the perfect opportunity to explain what you're celebrating. They'll think it's cool. Grownups who don't think it's cool don't understand and don't matter anyway. You are celebrating the fact that he is and now always will be part of your family. You are not celebrating the loss of his first family, or their failures, or really anything about them. It's NOT about them, it's about him and his future and I think that is something to celebrate.
No, I wouldn't be rubbing it in the bio family's faces, b/c I'm sure it can be a painful event for them, but I'm assuming they're not involved in this part. Anyone else, it's none of their business and if they want to be offended by it, that's their choice.
Honestly, does anyone NOT celebrate the birth of their own child b/c someone else may have lost theirs/want babies but don't/whatever else?
I don't think celebrating adoption is controversial, but it is really important to be sensitive to your kid and how they react. I think styling the party as a birthday party is a great idea. That way it is all about him and not about you. That avoids the pitfalls of the parents being over the top happy while the child is ambivilant.
I hope you have a wonderufl party!!!
Why not ask your son? Ask him if he wants a party or just go out to dinner. If he wants a party, ask whether he wants a children's party or just "family" party. Who cares what other people think, it's really about him, right? So, let him take the lead. I'm assuming he's *at least* 2.5 years... he's certainly old enough to have an opinion on the matter. Relax, any cause for a celebration is worth a celebration!
When DD1's adoption was finalized we had a "Welcome to the Village" Party. It was also our opportunity to thank those who helped us along the way. People seemed to get this. A few did bring gifts, clothes or adoption related books. i think kids will be excited about a party and won't care about the reason.
Maybe just frame it as a party to celebrate the day you became a family. In our family, we celebrate our family's anniversary (which, interestingly, is just a few days after our wedding anniversary).
If you're a parent of a child ages 4-18, I would really appreciate you participating in my brief online study. Copy/paste the link below for more information:
I really like SpottedFoxx's idea of framing it as a family anniversary type of party (but still keep it fun). I spent the last year in a foster agency as a therapist and we were always very excited when parents announced they were throwing an adoption day party. I've never personally met anyone who was against celebrating such a happy event.
I feel that the day the child is placed into foster care is a time of loss for biological parents, as is the day when it 'hits' the child what it really means, as is the day the biological parents surrender parental rights, etc. Throughout the entire foster care experience, I believe many children feel somewhat isolated and confused about their identity of being a family member and having a family. Adoption day, in my mind, is a wonderful celebration because it symbolizes the end of this isolation. Even if the child has been in the home for years and is clearly shown love, I feel the experience of foster care can alter some children's views on what unconditional love and trust are, so explicit demonstrations of commitment and love are often deeply appreciated, such as this.
Congratulations to you and your family.
I had welcome home/happy adoption day celebrations for both my girls, though admittedly they were both young (1 year and 6ish months). I wanted them to know that friends and family were all excited to welcome them 'officially' into our family and that they were both very much loved and wanted. Personally I don't see the day things become official as the most painful time, as previous posters said placement day or removal day would seem to be the days that would.
Proud mom of three! Special needs teen princess , 7 year old happy girl , and my flower toddler
I fully agree with taking your child's lead, that kids don't care what the party is about as long as there are cupcakes, and to allow yourself to shut off your ears when the critics talk. I have heard the same thing, but that is from one extreme end of the spectrum.
My husband and I adopted our two sons this year. They are toddlers with special needs, and had no idea what was going on. I put together a party for them anyway for three reasons.
- One part of it was for my sons. They might not understand for quite some time what was going on, but I can tell them someday that our extended family and friends were so happy to have them in our family that we celebrated it. There are pictures and nice handwritten notes. And to make the day special for them, the room was full of balloons. Balloons! (They love 'em like you wouldn't believe.)
- I am not ashamed to say that I did it for me. I didn't get to hold my boys when they were born. I missed out on their early moments. I didn't get to prepare for their births or sew them little newborn outfits. I have no pictures of the days they were born. But I did have this special day. I dressed all of our children in coordinating outfits — for me. After they were in bed for some weeks leading up to the celebration, I spent time on Pinterest and in my sewing room preparing things for the big day — for me.
- My husband and I were glad for the opportunity to thank the people who kept our boys safe, helped us guide and teach them, helped with the adoption, and our family members who welcomed them with open arms.
1 me + 1 hubby + 4 kids + 5 goats + 3 pigs + 3 dozen chickens + 6 ducks = 1 crazy place
Well, we had the party and it was great. It was a casual kids party and all the kids seemed to enjoy themselves. The adults seemed to have a pretty good time, too, just mingling and passing around the babies of the group.
I didn't expect gifts but many people brought them anyway. We received quite a variety of gifts! Some people gave books about adoption, one gave us a framed poem about adoption, some family photo frames, and then a lot of people gave toys for our son to play with. He had a ball with all the toys. And now I'm pretty sure the kid is spoiled ;) oh well.
I'm glad we had the party. It's a nice memory to have. I just wished we took more pictures.
1 me + 1 hubby + 4 kids + 5 goats + 3 pigs + 3 dozen chickens + 6 ducks = 1 crazy place