It is an exciting day in the Kerrigan house. Our son, Owen, is six months old. Not only does this mean he is sitting up, eating more solid foods, and keeping us even more on our toes than when previous milestones hit, but this marks a day that permanently changes our family tree. Owen has always been a “Kerrigan” in our hearts, but as of today, the courts will now acknowledge this as well. No more foster parents — just mom, dad, and a little guy taking on the family name!

So, despite a few other things, like overwhelming emotions, visits from family and friends, and the only exciting reason I can think of to see a judge, we have a lot of celebrating to do.

Party planning is something I have always enjoyed, but planning for this party proved to be more difficult for me than I anticipated. What kind of theme do you use for an adoption finalization party? Similar to looking around for baby books designed for families built through adoption, I had no luck finding party ideas for this exciting milestone in our life.

Lucky for me I have many creative people in my life, as well as other friends preparing for this anticipated milestone, and we pulled together the perfect party to announce and celebrate the Kerrigans officially becoming, the Kerrigans!

Personalized Cookies

My friend made sugar cookies decorated with her child's initials at her adoption celebration party. The cookies were not only a tasty treat, but added a fun, chic, personal, and very applicable way to celebrate.

Personalized Cake

This one was a difficult one for me as I could not find a Costco cake, my normal go-to cake, that fit this special day. What I did find is a grocery store, and most do, that will scan a picture of your little one and turn it into a cake decoration, making a very personal and special cake for this special occasion.

Picture Centerpieces

I was at a loss for table centerpieces. We held our party at a pizza parlor in a separate party room. This was a great location for us. However the décor was very sports oriented and I wanted to bring in an “Owen” theme…on a budget. I grabbed pictures of Owen at different ages from around the house and put one on each table…it added the budget friendly, personal touch I was hoping for.

Scrapbooks and Picturebooks

Display any scrapbooks or photo books of your child and of your family. If you created a family profile book to show the birth families when they were choosing an adopting family, this is also a fun thing to display. If you do not have any, and want to make one, Shutterfly and Snapfish are my favorite places to make books, and they often email out coupons for budget friendly deals.

Power Point Picture Slide Show

Another good friend utilized this emotional and powerful tool for keeping family and friends up-to-date on the development of their family. To create this tool in power point, insert a picture per slide and once it is created, you can play the slide show for all to see on the computer, or to a larger audio visual tool, such as the TV or a slide projector. Music in the background adds to this emotional moment, or you can just let the pictures play continuously throughout the party for your guests to view as their desire.

Court House Picture Collage

Take pictures at the court house, and turn them into a collage to be framed to share the experience with family and friends that could not be there, but are at the party. Walgreens offers this service for just a few dollars.

Electronic Invitations

Evite is user friendly, allows you to keep track of your RSVPs easily, does not require postage, and provides a platform to create a fun template with pictures and colors that show off your little one and family.

Hand Made Invitations

My friend just sent out precious invitations that she made by hand. She had a picture of her little guy, details about the party and this beautiful poem that has a special place in my heart. She put a cute little border around the poem, picture and information, and had one of the cutest (and budget friendly) invites I have seen. This is the poem she used:

Not flesh of my flesh, nor bone of my bone, but still miraculously my own. Never forget for a single minute, you didn’t grow under my heart-but in it. — Author Fleur Conkling Heylinger.

Add Special Elements

At one of my friends’ parties, her parents wrote their “newly official” granddaughter a beautiful song and performed if right after having the entire group pray for their new family member. It was a very touching and special moment. Music is a big part of this family’s life, and this moment made it clear that this precious little girl owned a piece of everyone’s heart.

International Adoption

If your child is adopted internationally, celebrate with traditional aspects of the culture that your child is from. I have seen this done with décor, dress, music, menu and pictures displayed at parties. If your child is old enough, ask for their input on what they want to celebrate with. An exciting element about doing this is that it also serves as an educational tool for family and friends that may not be as familiar with the country your child was adopted from, but want to be more familiar with it.

Have fun!!

Be creative and inspired by your little one…and share your ideas with the rest of us in the comments section below!