how to welcome my sister's adopted child

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-11-2001
how to welcome my sister's adopted child
Thu, 09-23-2010 - 8:48am

First of all, I apologize if I sound ignorant on this topic, but I'm not very familiar with adoption. I'd like to find out as much as I can, so please chime in with your experience and advice!

My sister and her husband have a biological son who is 6 years old. They are in the process of adopting another child via foster care; hopefully he or she will be there by Christmas. I'm very excited for them, and I would like to hear if there are any good ideas on how to welcome the child to the extended family. Also if there are any things we should NOT say or do.

Do people have adoption/welcome parties? If so, is this something that the adoptive parents do, or a family member/friend would host (like a baby shower)?

We don't know the age/sex of the child yet (they don't either - they're still in the process) so I wouldn't know what type of gifts to give to the child.

I can't wait to meet our new niece or nephew, whenever he or she arrives! TIA

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-01-2003
Thu, 09-23-2010 - 4:58pm

I can't answer most of your questions but I think the fact that you're asking is so awesome!


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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-26-2007
Thu, 09-23-2010 - 7:42pm

A lot will depend on the type of placement your sister and her husband are planning on. If they're doing regular foster-to-adopt, there's always a chance that a child placed with them won't end up being adopted by them, in that case I would wait until the adoption is more certain before planning a party. If they're planning to only accept placements where TPR (termination of parental rights) has already happened or reunification is very unlikely, a party shortly after the child is placed would be more appropriate.

I'm adopting a baby girl through foster care, mine is considered a pre-adoptive placement since TPR had happened and no family members were interested in adopting. My sister claimed the right to host a baby shower as soon as I told her I had accepted the referral and ICPC (interstate paperwork) was started because we knew it would be a permanent placement.

If you decide to wait on a party/shower, I'm sure your sister would be thrilled if you asked if there was anything you could do to help them get ready for their new addition.


July 15, 2008 - Decided on Social Service Adoption then spent 3 months paying off all my bills
October 14, 2008 - Submitted agency application
January 20, 2009 - Homestudy home visit
March 5, 2009


July 15, 2008 - Decided on Social Servi

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-19-2007
Thu, 09-23-2010 - 11:21pm

You came to a great place! In our situation we adopted our foster placement. So we had a "celebration" party after the adoption took place. They lived with us for 14 mos prior so a "welcome home" party didnt' really fit.

Are they doing foster to adopt with a chance the child will be reunited with bio family?

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-22-2008
Thu, 09-23-2010 - 11:54pm

I just wanted to chime in and say that just the fact that you are here asking speaks volumes. You're in the right place, and thinking ahead and making sure you are treating them and their future child with care is more than a lot of family members do at this point in the process. Whatever you do after this I'm sure will be great, just keep asking questions and being interested, there's nothing better than the genuine support of the people closest to you. Ask them if they have books, or a book list from their social worker and read one of them, it will give you somewhere concrete to start and make it easier to have a thoughtful conversation about all of this.

Wishing them luck and strength as they wait!!


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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 09-25-2010 - 12:10am

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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-31-2007
Sun, 09-26-2010 - 3:29am

I didn't read the other responses but as someone who just brought home toddlers from foster care with the intent to adopt, I'd suggest:

A Toddler Shower....(if the childisn't an infant).

Work WITH your sister to coordinate this (should the child be there, for example; location, etc.)

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-27-2010
Mon, 09-27-2010 - 5:49pm

A party is definitely a good idea. We had one for both our adoptions and it was a great way for the children to meet distant relatives and feel like part of the family.

Our first adoption was our two twin girls and they were just about 2 so it wasn't really for them but more for the family.

Our second adoption was our son who was 4 and he loved the party! He didn't really understand the party was for him, but it was great for the family as well.

We celebrate adoption days here, just like other families would birthdays. They get a small gift (a trinket of some sort) and we have a cake and a small family get together.

Just treat their new child like you would your nephew. He/she may be shy at first (if old enough to do so) but eventually they will come around.

Good luck!

Stephanie: Wife to an amazing man for 15 years and homeschooling mother to three beautiful children.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-11-2001
Thu, 09-30-2010 - 11:41am

Wow, thanks for the responses everyone! They had their first home visit this week, and will have a follow-up in about a month. They don't know when a child is coming, but it could be "soon." I'm so excited for them.

They are doing foster-to-adopt. The age range they asked for was anywhere from infant to 5 years old, boy or girl. Originally I believe they were hoping for a toddler girl, but by leaving the age range and gender of the child more open, they may be matched sooner. I will probably come back to this board when I know more information. Thanks again for the ideas and the advice!

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-13-2002
Fri, 10-01-2010 - 2:32pm
That's so awesome that you care so much to want to do/say everything right! You are an awesome sister!

A few thoughts on a party. Is this a definite placement? Is there a period that they bio parents can get the child back?
If so-- I'd wait on a party.
My friends threw me a "Welcome Riley" party and I insisted they wait until the 30 day period where the bio parents can change their mind passed.

Also-- our 2nd son was adopted at 11 months and our agency said to limit lots of visitors and big crowds for the 1st 6 weeks.
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-11-2001
Fri, 10-01-2010 - 2:41pm

The adoption won't happen until at least early 2011. It's going to take a while for all the paperwork, background checks, etc. to go through. I had no idea how detailed the process is! Of course it is for everyone's benefit so the best possible match is made for both parents and child.

They are only interested in adopting if the bio parents will almost certainly not get their child back. My sister and her husband don't want to do foster care and get attached to a child that they would have to say goodbye to later on. I can understand how they feel.

This whole topic has made me more aware of what these children must go through, wondering if their foster parents will keep them or if they will live with their bio parents's got to be so traumatic for them, especially at such a tender age. I just hope that every child finds the loving home that they are meant to be in.