The arrival of a new baby in a family is almost universally a cause for joy and celebration. The arrival of an adopted child is equally joyful, and perhaps even more so because most adoptive parents have had to endure a grueling administrative process, and emotional roller coaster to reach the point of bringing a child into their lives.
Many of the celebrations held to welcome a newborn could serve to welcome an adopted child as well. A baptism, bris or dedication service can all serve as the introduction of a baby into his or her new family and greater community. Of course, with an older child some of these ceremonies will be inappropriate, or unnecessary if already performed when the child was in foster parent custody.
A shower for the new family can also be an appropriate way to welcome the child. Parents adopting an infant often don't have the luxury of nine months to prepare a nursery for the birth of their baby. Any assistance in stocking up on the necessities, even after the baby's arrival, will be appreciated.
But beyond the religious and more materially based welcoming rituals, there are reasons to host a special ceremony to mark the occasion of an adoption. An adoption usually brings a child originating elsewhere (often abroad) into an established community. Therefore, beyond sharing the joy of a new life, a formalized ritual gives the community the opportunity to welcome in the outsider. A special adoption celebration will:
- Acknowledge the adoption day separate from the birth of the child.
- Formalize the acceptance of the child into the extended family and community.
- Establish a bridge between the child's past and future.
- Provide a safe, structured opportunity for the awakening of emotions, which in the case of adoption can include feelings of loss along with the joy.
- Create an occasion that can be documented for the child to look at in the future and know how desired she was.