Friday, June 28, 2013

Fiesta Friday: A Foster-Parent Shower of Love

About 2 years ago, our friends the J's started the process to become foster parents. For miscellaneous reasons beyond their control, it wasn't until May that they were finally finished all the requirements and were approved for foster parenting!

They don't have their own kids, but Mrs. J has worked with kids before and had some kid stuff around the house. They also bought enough basics to get any kids by in the meantime (like, you know, BEDS), but they still needed a lot of basics that most parents accrue over time - and they kind of need it, you know, ASAP.

So, our mutual friend R and I decided to shower them with love! The J's are good people and they definitely deserve to experience a "baby" shower. The only catch is the youngest kiddos they'll be housing are 4-year-olds. So we called it a "Shower of Love"!
Mrs. J requested lime green and white for the colors, so we gave her lime green and white! ;D
R handled the invitations, food, and half of the decorations; I did the centerpieces, the banner, and figured out the games and prizes. We were able to use Mrs. J's church's reception room for free, which was nice, because we needed a BIG space - lots of people love the J's!

So the biggest problem was figuring out shower games for a non-traditional shower. I wanted it to center around welcoming the J's into parenting, and not so much around baby stuff because it doesn't relate to their journey. Brainstorming with my friend V, we came up with some modified versions of baby shower games.

  • The first game was a silly brain-teaser; it has clues that relate to different names of candy! The people who got the most answers correct got bags of candies that were in the game as their prize. Guests really seemed to like this game, it was challenging but not frustrating!
  • Another game we played was a modified baby shower game called "Guess the Price" - except instead of baby items, I picked parenting "essentials" like chewable vitamins, shampoo, swimming wings (or "floaties" as I grew up calling them), etc. This game was a lot harder than the baby version, apparently; the highest score was one person got 2 out of the 6 right. :/ I would modify it by offering multiple choice options, maybe, or picking different items.
  • Finally, we played a variation on "baby bingo", but I called it "The Joys of Parenting Bingo". I came up with a bunch of different parenting scenarios (good and bad), and called them out like bingo numbers! I asked the winners if they had any funny stories to share from their Bingo line, too; no one had any, except for Mrs. J's mom! THAT was funny, hahaha.

Speaking of the joys of parenting, we had a "wish vase" for guests to provide words of wisdom and encouragement to the new parents-to-be!

I'm proud of the prizes I came up with, too - "movie night in" baskets and a stationary basket! The stationary came from the Michael's dollar bins, and the "movie night in" are simply movie-theater-size boxes of candy, microwave popcorn, and some Redbox codes for free (to the victor) rentals!  

The "gift card" for the Redbox codes - I included all the legal info that was emailed to me when I bought the codes on the back, so those who won them knew what to do and had the links to more info.

R came up with a great idea for the centerpieces - kids toys! This way not only are they cute centerpieces but HEY MORE TOYS FOR THE J'S FUTURE FOSTER KIDS! Unfortunately, R is a real grown-up with a year-round job, so since I had the time I did the execution. I decided to theme each of them, and wrap them in gift-wrap ribbons and bows so they look like presents but are also totally obvious as to what they are. We had kid books, bubbles, water/beach toys, puzzles, games, art supplies (like coloring books and markers), and a teddy bear! The ribbons tied the gifts back to the color scheme.

1 example of the centerpieces - art supplies!

All the centerpieces! Art supplies, books, games, puzzles, bubbles, pool/beach stuff, and a teddy bear!

Finally, I made this pennant banner. AND I WILL NEVER DO IT AGAIN OMG. Yes, it turned out cute, but those rosettes behind the letters were the bane of my existence. Seriously, it will either have to be for The Hubs or our own future progeny to convince me to put myself through that again. I mean, the end product was cute, but SHEESH.

Yup, I made that. Next time I'm making it a month in advance or just paying someone else to do it.

Detail close-up!

We kept the food simple - cakes from Costco, lemonade, water, and fancy mixed nuts for snacking were on the tables (it was a mid-afternoon shower). Guests also got those pastel mints as party favors.

The basic table set-up

All in all, it was a successful shower and Mrs. J was so grateful - she thanked us (and the guests) repeatedly, and overall seemed to have a great time. The guests also told R and myself that they had a great time, too. All the thanks and compliments made all the stress worth it! (Seriously, if you describe yourself as etierh "a perfectionist" or "anxious", don't plan a party. SERIOUSLY. I'm lucky I'm still married because the night before I damn near went off the deep-end when I realized I screwed up the Bingo cards at 11:30pm.)

I only have my crappy phone pictures right now, but I'm hoping Mrs. J will share the good pictures her photographer friend took! I'll post the better pictures and downloads/instructions for the games next Friday hopefully.

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By Stephanie Lynn


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5 comments:

  1. My husband and I are becoming foster parents and were told that we will be licensed this month. My family and I are trying to piece together some kind of "Welcome to parenthood shower" but I'm very stuck on what to put on the invitation. Any suggestions? Also, can you give me more details of the games you played? It's so difficult to plan this shower since there are really no suggestions online and it's much different than a baby shower. Any advice would be much appreciated!!

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    Replies
    1. I am also becoming a foster parent (we'll be first-time parents) fostering children ages 0-3. I hadn't really thought of a way to announce it either, so I asked my friend who volunteered to throw me a shower if she wouldn't mind having the invitation double as an announcement. This is what she came up with and I love it!

      The stork usually deliver babies, wrapped in pink or blue. Can you guess where he is making his next delivery to?

      On the inside: He is delivering sweet children to their parents in foster care. We are honoring them with a shower and hope to see you there.

      _______ & __________ are becoming foster parents and we are throwing them a foster shower to help them celebrate.

      I think they are planning on listing the ages we are expecting and they are having me create a registry of things I may need.

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  2. Kids will have a lot of fun and entertainment while playing Baby Shower Gamesand begins laughing and pushing her route into ahead of all comers more than once.

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  3. Pretty much cried just reading it. It's awesome that you have such a great support network. We are getting licensed for foster/adopt and nobody cares...half of family had a negative reaction to the news and the other half pretty much no reaction at all.

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    Replies
    1. I am so sorry to hear that. Maybe someday they will understand the blessings it brings not only to those children, but to you as well. The foster care system is a lot better than it used to be, so I think a lot of people view it the way it was years ago, and just need information to help them understand the process. The first few people I told seemed a little uncomfortable with it, and I found that it helped even just announcing differently. Instead of just saying, "we're doing foster care." I started saying, "I have something exciting to tell you, and it's probably not what you're expecting..." For some reason, I think that helped people realize that it was something to be celebrated and something I was happy about. But some people are going to be negative anyway, and just don't let that affect your happiness. You're doing this because it's right for you and it doesn't matter what they say, unless it's helpful or building you up.

      Marie, best of luck to you and know that even though I don't know you, you have my support. You can do this! Keeping you in my prayers.

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