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Baby Shower Q&A:
Adoption and Surrogacy


Adoption and in particular Surrogacy can create some intriguing and very special contemporary baby shower questions.

Surrogacy in the current sense was not even an option just a few decades ago, so there is no 'tradition' of any meaningful nature to fall back on.

So once again we come back to the rule of thumb that it is the mom-to-be and the baby/child that should take precedence in the answers to our questions.

After all ... Love, kindness and respect should always extend beyond the bounds of genealogy.

My friends are adopting a child from China.  Is it appropriate to give them a shower?

Yes, it is completely appropriate regardless of the age of the child.  A shower is simply a way to celebrate a new life joining your family or their family, as the case may be.  Although you can have the shower before the adoption, check with the parents first to find out their preference. They may prefer to wait until the child is home and has adjusted to his or her new home.  Then you can make it not only a baby (or child) shower, you can also make it a Baby as Special Guest shower where everyone gets to meet the newest member of the family. 

For more information on baby showers for adopted children, whether from abroad or not, please read our article, Adoption Shower.


My friend and his life partner are adopting a child and I was wondering if it was appropriate to give a baby shower for them since they are a same sex couple?

Only one thing needs to be said here…yes, you should definitely have a baby shower for your friend and his life partner.  It is appropriate to give a baby shower for any type of family regardless of whether there are two moms, two dads or one of each.  We are no longer a world that consists of purely nuclear families, not that we ever were, and there are as many different families out there as there are babies.  Enjoy this wonderful time in their life and have a couple’s shower where everyone can celebrate the arrival of a new baby.


I am hosting a baby shower for a friend who is adopting two toddlers from Russia. Do you have any ideas for the shower?

Whether a child is born into the family or chosen to be part of the family, the child's needs do not change. Perhaps the new Mom could make a list of sizes for the new additions to the family. Are they the same age? Will they need warm weather clothing, summer clothing, or both? In order to keep duplicates to a minimum (and Mom will have specific needs) perhaps she would agree to make a list for the guests coming to honor her new additions. There is nothing wrong with asking for something really needed or desired, like car seats, high chairs, bedding, toys for a particular age range. Today, most people welcome ideas for gifts.

Toddlers love balloons, brightly colored blocks, books, and soft and cuddly things to carry with them. Since the toddlers are coming from a different country, perhaps fun children’s videos or learning aids teaching our language would be a welcomed gift. It would be very nice to find something from their native country with which to decorate their room as well as using traditional Western decorations.

Keeping in mind that the very best gift is LOVE and knowing that you are wanted; so as you choose your gift, wrap it in love!


My sister may be adopting a baby thru a private adoption.  WE want to have a shower for her, but because adoption is so uncertain, we are afraid to have the shower and the birthmother may still decide to keep the baby.  Any advice?  They are pretty sure it is going to go thru, but I fear the worse and what would you do with your guests gifts?  Return them?  Give them back?

First I would like to extend a congratulations to your sister. Adoption can be a very emotional time with so many things that can change with each passing day and we understand your questions over having a shower. We hope that the adoption is successful and that your sister will soon be a mother to a new baby. 

When it comes to adoption showers, I would really discuss things with your sister.  Find out where she is at this point. Is she comfortable with having a shower yet?  Does she want to wait?  Would she prefer a small or a large shower?  Right now, while all the paperwork is being filled out, she may not want a huge shower simply because her own nerves may be tight. 

If you would like to have a surprise shower, there are two things that I would recommend.

The first would be to have the shower after the baby comes home. Many people have showers where baby is able to attend as well and it becomes more of a welcome for baby than a simple baby shower. For more on these types of showers, I would recommend reading Baby as a Special Guest.

The second suggestion I have would be to have just a small shower with immediate family. Focus less on presents at this shower and focus more on support for your sister. Keep the gifts small and focus them on things that might not be for baby. Things that will help your sister until the adoption goes through.

If you would like to host a shower before the baby is born that includes everyone, if the adoption does not go through, you could donate the gifts to a charity, as there is always a need for baby items and most people would not be upset if you did this. 

Hopefully, though, the adoption will go through and you will have years of throwing parties for your sister's child.

For more information on adoption showers, please read our article Adoption Baby Shower.


My friend is adopted and a few years ago she connected with her birth mother.  Now she is expecting her first child and I am unsure how to plan the guest list for her shower since both her mom and birth mom have difficulties being together in the same room.  What should I do?

This is a difficult decision and I think it is one that you should discuss with the expectant mother.  If you are planning a surprise shower, you may want to give away the surprise or if you are firm on keeping it a surprise, you will need to discuss the problem with both mothers.  Tell them that you know how important it is to your friend that both of her mother’s are there and you are asking them to just bear with it for the day.  If the relationship blossoms between the birth mother and your friend, then chances are both mothers will be spending time together during birthday parties and other events.  It is time that they both learn to cope with that since they will be forming a partnership for the next 20 years at least.  They may find that they genuinely like each other since they have a common interest; the daughter they both love.


I’m throwing a shower and would like to purchase corsages for the grandmothers.  My only problem is whether I should buy a corsage for my friend’s biological mother, who will be attending, or not.  I’m worried about slighting the birth mom if I don’t and upsetting my friend’s adoptive mom if I do.  What do you suggest?

It completely depends on the relationship between your friend and her biological mother but I think that I would either avoid corsages all together or purchase one for all the grandmothers.  There really is no right or wrong way to approach this since you can’t stop people from being upset but you could give a slightly smaller corsage to the birth mother or maybe a different flower to each which symbolizes different aspects of motherhood.

My friend spent years unable to conceive and she finally decided to try a surrogate.  She is very happy to announce to the world that her surrogate is expecting and I would like to throw her a shower to celebrate this.  My only question is whether to invite the surrogate or not.

I’m not very knowledgeable about the world of surrogates and any legalities involved but I think that on a question like this, you should check with your friend first.  If you would like to have a surprise shower for her, then I would suggest having the shower after baby arrives home and you can make it simply a celebration to welcome baby and to celebrate the beginning of her new family. Having the shower after baby arrives will help you in avoiding any of the questions about inviting the surrogate, otherwise, check with the mom to be.  Ask her what she would like to do or if it is okay even in the legal sense.  She will know what is appropriate for both herself and her surrogate.

I am invited to a shower "In honor of the mom-to-be and surrogate. Should I bring a bring a gift for the surrogate?

That is a very good question and it was one that really made us look into the baby showers honoring surrogate mothers.  Generally, the only gift that you need to bring is one for the mom-to-be since the baby shower is more to celebrate the new baby than anything else.  That being said, it can be very nice to give the surrogate a nice card or a small gift as a way to make her feel appreciated for everything that she is doing.

Usually, however, the mom-to-be would probably give the surrogate something special and may plan to have a get together with her immediate family and closest friends to celebrate the surrogate mother so don't feel as though you need to bring a gift.


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