Adoption Announcement Etiquette

The adoption of a child is cause for celebration and a popular way to share the excitement and joy with family and friends is through an adoption announcement. The etiquette for announcing adoption is essentially the same as for announcing birth, with a few caveats.

As with birth announcements, the rule of thumb is to send the adoption announcements within the first six months that your child officially joins the family. However, because adoption is typically a long drawn-out process with numerous legal hurdles, it is quite acceptable to be a little late especially when many people on the receiving end are not likely to notice the delay. For international adoption where the adoption is finalized before the child can leave their birth country, parents usually send out the announcements as soon as they bring their child home. For domestic adoption, parents are usually advised to wait until the “honeymoon period” is over before sending out announcements. During this period, which typically ranges from 30 to 60 days depending on the state, biological parents can rescind their decision to place a child for adoption. Statistically, post-placement revocations are rare (1-2%), but some parents feel the emotional consequences are too high for them to risk making the announcement prematurely.

Once the legalities are finalized, take out your address book and start making your mailing list! Beyond the usual family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers, don’t forget to include the people that have helped you along the adoption process: social workers, liaisons, adoption agencies, attorneys … anyone who played a role in your child’s arrival. Adoptive parents tend to target a wide circle of people when sharing their adoption news.

An announcement of adoption is similar to an announcement of birth in composition and style. Instead of announcing “the birth of” a baby, the words “arrived” or “placed in our arms” are used. See our wording ideas for sample verses. Because family circumstances vary widely, adoption cards are less restrictive in format than birth announcement cards. In fact, some of the most creative composition that we’ve seen at Baby Cachet comes from parents announcing their child’s adoption. Other than the child’s name, parents’ names, and adoption date, any other information you’d like to proffer is up to you. For babies you may wish to also include the birth date, birth weight, and birth length on the announcement. For toddlers or foster children who are eventually adopted, omitting the birth statistics and indicating just the birth date, even if it’s a few years removed, is completely acceptable. There’s also flexibility in what you call the adoption date. It can be the date you first met your child, the date he first stayed the night with you, the date the adoption is final, or another date that has significance to you. Many parents end up using several dates on their announcement.

If the child is adopted from a different country, it’s popular to include the birthplace on the announcement. To show off your multicultural family, consider incorporating some symbols of your child’s birth country. For example, if your child is adopted from China, you might use your child’s name in Mandarin with an English translation. Or you may choose to simply communicate your family’s diversity by using a photo of the child, of just the children if there are siblings, or of the entire family.

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