Monday, September 17, 2007

Sharing the Anticipation: An Adoption Shower

Last month, I was honored to attend an adoption shower for friends adopting a daughter from China. My connection to the adopting mom is through one of my dearest friends (who hosted the event).

As I'm reasonably food-obsessed, I volunteered to bring muffins. On Craftster I had seen photos of similarly decorated international adoption cupcakes, so I couldn't resist trying my hand at making mini-flags.

If you have some Avery 5160 labels and want to print your own you can download MS word formatted sheet for 30 US flags and a MS Word formatted sheet for 30 Chinese flags. [These files are zipped, but should otherwise be standard Word format. If you're an Open Office user, email me for odt files- Google base is rejecting them at the moment.] Or you can grab the US flag and Chinese flag jpg image files and use them with the software or label of your choice.

As with traditional baby showers, our young guest of honor was not present. She was represented by a recent photograph. The hostess chose to have the shower before the toddler was in the country for a few reasons:
  1. We're a sometimes overwhelmingly enthusiastic group for anyone- especially a small child new to the country.
  2. There are items the family could use for the trip to China and immediately after their return to the US.
  3. The adopting family applied to adopt two years ago. Our whole community is SO EXCITED for them and wanted to do something fun and encouraging to help pass the time while they're waiting for their daughter to come home.
  4. The shower offered the opportunity for people who will be in different areas of this child's life to meet each other before the baby arrives.
  5. It saved the adoptive mother hours on the phone explaining where they are in the adoption process to everyone who attended. She had a very receptive audience to talk about all that has happened through the adoption process.
Cool things the hostess did:
  • She worked to find a non-infant, non-maternity themed shower invitation. After a lot of hunting, she found a beautiful dragonfly stationary which she customized for the event.
  • As the mom of honor teaches Sunday School for elementary schoolers, the hostess helped arrange for the Sunday School kiddos to make their own congratulations and welcome cards.
  • After the gifts were opened, they were laid out on a table so people could see the various things. This is really nice with intergenerational showers as many people like to see what current baby toys and gear look like.
  • The shower didn't have games. Instead the hostess decorated with potted flowers and put a prize notification under a few of the seats. The person seated in the lucky chairs got to take flowers home.
  • She set all the furniture and decorations up the night before the shower with a friend. On the day of the shower she and two friends prepared and served the food.
  • She gave the mom of honor pre-addressed, pre-stamped thank you notes. (This isn't presumptuous if you know the mom is a regular thank you note writer, and it definitely helps minimize the time spent preparing the notes for mailing.)
Her casseroles were so good that I got all three recipes to share. They're all great to prepare the night before, refrigerate, and cook the next day. These are delicious examples of Midwestern church supper fare.

Hash Brown Casserole
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
6 eggs, well-beaten
1 can Carnation evaporated milk
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 pkg (26 oz) frozen shredded hash browns
1 medium onion, chopped
optional -1 small green pepper, chopped - 1 c. cubed ham

Combine cheese, eggs, evaporated milk, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add potatoes, onion, and remaining ingredients. Pour mixture into greased 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Breakfast Casserole
8 slices white bread torn in pieces
2 lbs. browned, crumbled sausage -or- 1.5 lbs. cubed ham
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 can cream of celery soup
1/2 can (soup can) milk
4 eggs, well-beaten

Grease 9 x 13 dish. Put in bread. Then add meat & cheese. Combine soup, milk, & well-beaten eggs. Pour over ingredients in dish. Refrigerate overnight. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Apple Sausage Casserole
2 lbs sausage browned and crumbled
8 slices bread, torn in pieces
1-1/2 c. sliced apples
8 eggs, lightly beaten
1-1/2 c grated sharp cheddar cheese
3 c. milk

Grease 9 x 13 dish. Put in bread. Crumble sausage over bread. In large bowl, combine remaining ingredients & pour into dish. Bake at 350 degrees covered with foil for the first 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake 30 more minutes without foil.

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