Paperwork all done? Twiddling your thumbs? Wondering what on earth you will do while you wait for your referral or for your child to come home? Why not plan an orphanage shower?
We had one before our first Ethiopian daughter came home, and it was a great success. People donated dozens of diapers, underwear, and socks, plus plastic diaper covers, vitamins, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and other useful items. I went to Ethiopia loaded down with great stuff to bring to my daughter’s orphanage.
Planning Your Own
Start by asking your agency what your child’s orphanage most needs. Ethiopian orphanages routinely use cloth diapers for the babies, and plastic pants are nearly impossible to find over there. So those items are sure to be helpful. Your agency will be able to tell you what else will be helpful.
Next, put together your guest list. Our guests’ response to the orphanage shower was overwhelmingly positive. People want to help; they just don’t know how best to do it. So be brave. Invite lots of people. You may want to see about having the shower in a public place like a church if your guest list is bigger than your home.
On the invitation explain what you’re doing and who the gifts will benefit. It’s a good idea to include a suggested gift list to give people some shopping help. Do keep in mind that you will need to get things there, so you may want to steer people away from big stuffed animals or large baby toys.
The day of the party runs a lot like a regular baby shower: cake, punch, and conversation. At our shower, some people brought things unwrapped, some wrapped, and many people brought gift-bags loaded full of goodies. I unpacked bags while people watched.
We had fun counting things and setting them on a big table for everyone to see. Every person present had a real feeling of accomplishment to see all the things we had gathered by working together. And once I got the things to Ethiopia, the workers there were equally pleased.
So give it a try– host your own orphanage shower. Your friends will have fun. The kids in Ethiopia will benefit. And, as often happens when you extend a helping hand, you’ll reap the rewards as well.