About three years ago, friends of ours from church announced that they were planning to adopt a baby boy from Ethiopia. They subsequently became very close friends of ours, and their adoption journey had a major impact on our lives and our decision to adopt.
John and Vanessa's wait ended up being a lot longer than expected. Like two years longer. It was agonizing, waiting and praying with them, begging God for their referral of the son they would name Samuel. Finally this spring, the call came and they saw the face of their child. A few weeks later they were able to fly across the ocean to meet him, but they still have a few months and two more trips before Sam can come home.
Because their family will be traveling on various mission trips this summer, our friends planned a baby shower for Vanessa last week. They held the shower at the church with beautiful global decor.
One of the big traditions in Ethiopian culture is their elaborate coffee ceremony. The original plan was to have someone come and demonstrate the ceremony, but that didn't work out so they showed a video of it. In Ethiopia they often eat popcorn while they drink the coffee, so popcorn and coffee were served while presents were opened.
The cake was custom made by a local woman and it blew me and everyone else away. It was designed to look like a vintage suitcase, with edible "stickers" all over it featuring symbols and logos that are all very meaningful to this family's adoption process. It was delicious too!
A table at the front of the room displayed photos of the family and Samuel, which many hadn't seen because they can't be posted online yet. Small sheets of paper with the outline of Africa were available for people to write a note of blessing to Sam or the family. Vanessa expressed that these notes were the most important gift anyone could give her that day.
Opening gifts was fun to watch and took quite awhile because so many love and cherish this family. After the gifts and cake there were a couple of games. A quiz with various trivia about Ethiopia, adoption stats and the family was fun, and I won, undoubtedly because I read so many adoption blogs, many of which are via Ethiopia. The we played a variation of pin-the-tale-on-the-donkey, except it was pin the heart on Addis Ababa. The kids were much more willing to play this than the adults.
Party favors were simply Hershey bars wrapped with this lovely printed labels. The ladies did a wonderful job of throwing a beautiful and meaningful adoption shower on a pretty limited budget. Not only did the shower bless the family, it blessed and educated the guests and helped build the culture of adoption in our community.
And we all can't wait to meet Samuel!