Share Your Story: How did you welcome your child into your family?
We asked our readers: "What did you do to welcome your child into your family?" Here are some of the letters we received!
When we arrived home from the airport with our first child, Joey, we were surprised to find huge, beautiful, professionally painted banners commissioned by our friends that said “Welcome Home Joseph Stanley Gardner!” and “Congratulations, Mike and Debbie!” consuming our small house. The banners, hung along with blue streamers and balloons, became a significant part of Joey’s homecoming story. Two years later, our friends did it again (with pink balloons!) when our daughter came home. For our youngest, Ben, his brother and sister made banners and decorated the house for his arrival. We hang their signs each year when we celebrate the days they came home.
I printed announcements that said “The Very Pink of Perfection.” On the inside was a paragraph telling how my son and I traveled to Ukraine and had many adventures—and how our journey was so worth it. I included a picture of my new daughter and another photo of both children.
When we adopted Alena Chloe in April of this year, lots of people wanted to welcome her into our family. My husband’s boss and his wife gave us a baby shower the week after we brought Alena home. I will never forget the sight of all those businessmen and warehouse workers fawning over a seven-week-old baby! One present we got was especially memorable. My best friend, also an adoptive mom, told everyone at her church about our adoption. A week later, we received a package including beautiful, handmade cards welcoming Alena from the children’s Sunday school class. What a surprise!
When we received our referral we sent out little Godiva chocolates in a gold box with a pink ribbon and a carriage charm attached. We attached miniature announcements with a wallet-sized referral photo. They were a huge hit. The wonder of adoption still amazes us. There hasn’t been a day in the past six months with my treasured child that I have not cried and thanked God.
When we received the referral of our daughter, Kayleigh, we sent an announcement to family and friends with her picture, information about her, and the first verse of “Arms Wide Open,” by Creed. We wanted everyone to see her and share our joy. The framed announcement now hangs in her room. We want her to know how blessed and lucky we feel to have her!
My husband and I met and married while we both were stationed with the U.S. Navy in Hawaii, so the Hawaiian culture is an important part of our family. Ohana is the Hawaiian word for family, but it has a much more inclusive meaning than just biology. Each year, on our son's adoption anniversary, we celebrate 'Celli Ohana Day' with a special family outing. Anything goes, from a science museum to a picnic, to new adventures as he gets older. Ohana Day is sacred. Our welcome to our son was a holiday and a new family tradition.
We welcomed our children into our family with a birth announcement and baby showers! I couldn't wait to send out the announcements. We put pictures in my husband's office newsletter and our college alumni magazine! Then came the showers: one for family, one for friends! It was crazy! Now we celebrate each year with Graf Family Day. We eat at Red Lobster (they love crab!) and then we go home and watch "The Russia Movie." The video shows our first meeting, the trip home, meeting the extended family, the showers, and just playing around the house. The movie ends when they are just beginning to speak English, with a strong accent, on Halloween. An additional 2 or 3 times a year the kids ask for a "Russia Movie Night," and they can invite whomever they want to share it with. The best thing we did after we came home from Russia was to ask that friends, and even family, leave us in peace for two weeks. That gave the four of us time together to adjust in relative calm.
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