Shower for Foster Children.....

Updated on November 04, 2016
L.U. asks from Kirkland, WA
22 answers

My brother and his wife decided about a year ago that they wanted to be foster parents. They have been married about 8 years and do not have any children of their own. They have been trying for a year, but have been unsuccessful. So, they decided that they would like to foster. (children 5 and up...preferably siblings) Lovely, right?
So, they took all of the classes and then decided that in order to become foster parents they needed to add some rooms onto their house. They went from a two story 4 bedroom home to a 3 story, 8 bedroom, 4 bathroom, 3 living room, 2 kitchen...home. (this is important, you will see why in a minute)
Their house has been under construction for the past 6 months and they are towards the end. They had a housewarming party last weekend, that I was unable to attend. This weekend they are having a "foster shower" for the children that they are hoping to foster soon. They do not know how many children, ages, anything. But they know they will soon be foster parents.
They are registered at Target and some other store, so I got online and looked at their registries. They are asking for $$ to help pay for furniture, or towels, things for the kitchen, book shelves...household necessities. The ONLY thing that they asked for for a child is a football.
I am excited for them to become foster parents (heck, I work with youth that have aged out of the foster system), but am a bit put off by their registry. Isn't a baby shower/child shower supposed to be about the child?
I have children who are all over 5, and my daughter has some great clothes. Hannah Anderson and Gap. They are in great shape and I was thinking that I would gift her those. If they have a foster daughter then she will have box full of beautiful clothes. I was also thinking of getting them a soccer ball (we are a HUGE soccer family) and that way my kids would be able to play with them.
Am I way off here? Is that a good gift? Or should I just go ahead and get them a shower curtain rod?
ADDED: Since people are saying maybe I should wait....I agree! BUT...this is going to be a HUGE foster shower (I think 50-75 people are going) and I think it would look wrong if I don't show up with a gift and just wait for the kids to be in their home. BUT, my husband feels that way. Wait until they are here and then play, go places, invite them over.

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

To answer a few questions....
They are NOT running a group home. They believe that they will be fostering siblings (up to 3) since often times when kids go into the foster system they are separated because most homes will only take one, maybe two, kids.
They are both in the medical field. One is a doctor and one works in the psych ward for a nearby hospital. They "should" be ready for any issues a child may have.
I DO believe they will be stunned by how much work this will be. As a mom of 3, working full time, I am swamped. My SIL's mother is going to be their "nanny" during the week when my brother and SIL are working.
They wanted children over 5 so that they will be in school during the day. I have tried time and time to tell them that children in the foster system are going to need to be ferried around to possibly see their parents, doctors, psychologists, schools, and possibly siblings or extended family. They do not seem to get it, or think it wont be an issue.
And yes....the addition to their home cost just over $500,000 (if I remember correctly) so I am a bit put out that they are asking for household items for the kids. I still don't quite understand WHY they felt like they needed to add so much to the house. My SIL says it's because she wanted them all to be on the same floor at night (the 3rd floor is their room plus the 3 kid bedrooms) in case there is an emergency.
I am going to go with the soccer ball and some board games or books. I liked the idea of "how to talk so kids will listen" I will see if I can find that. I will give them the clothes at a later date.
Thanks ladies...

Featured Answers


answers from Los Angeles on

Why do they need an 8 bedroom home? Sounds more like they are planning to operate a group home, and have friends and family subsidize their "business". (Where I am from foster parents are very well paid, and group home operators make a huge profit.) I personally would not participate in the "shower". I think it would be more appropriate to buy a gift for the foster child when that child arrives, and present it to the child.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I think usually shower registries are just suggestions. You can still give them whatever you wish.

The other thing is, you may want to get a gift for the household initially and wait until after you get to know these kids to give them personal, individual gifts. They may not be into soccer or the kinds of clothing you want to give them. Why not wait to find out what interests the kids?

3 moms found this helpful

More Answers


answers from Jacksonville on

Relative to your "ADDED" section, can you just decline the invite? I mean, seriously. Why not have another commitment and not go? Surely with 50-75 people invited, this is RSVP... so send regrets.
I know, I know, then they'll call and wonder why... and then you'll be on the spot and feel the need to explain yourselves. So do it. Tell them (be honest, not rude) that you would rather wait until they have the kids (if not in the home, at least selected as foster kids) so you know something about them and can gift something relevant to THOSE children. Obviously they don't need the money for the necessities. So, make your gift what you want. That's what gifts actually are. Otherwise it isn't a gift, but extortion of some sort.
They have an 8 bedroom home for the two of them, and no kids yet. Wait until they get the kids. It could be a long time before children are placed with them. It isn't an easy/simple process.
ETA: Can I just say, that I have read many of the responses, and, in most cases, I would agree with most of them. But, given that this couple in NO way seems to be lacking for the financial means to provide these necessities you all keep bringing up (beds, linens, etc), I just don't see it as being something that these 50-75 people should be asked to provide. This isn't a childless couple, who has been yearning for kids for years, spent thousands on unsuccessful intervention, lives in a cracker box and has nothing to offer kids but love. They just ADDED ON TO a 4 bedroom home, expanding (what presumable just wasn't enough??) into an 8 bedroom 4 bathroom home! If they can't afford a bed and linens for potential foster kids, what were they doing doubling the size of their house to such an unreasonable size to begin with?? Foster kids would have been blessed by a 4 BR home with someone to love them and offer them safety and provision. If this couple is so short-sighted that they expanded their home this way without considering that the kids would need beds to sleep on and sheets to put on those beds, then they have no business trying to raise/guide kids who will need a lot more than just schtuff.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

that's super weird. it doesn't sound remotely like a shower (which would be weird anyway), just your basic housewarming.
i mean, it's your brother, so roll with it.
and i'll join you in rolling your eyes right here.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I understand where you are coming from but I hope you can think about this a little more. Foster children typically don't have the basic household items like you and I. So having a mattress, bed sheets, towels, a rug, shower curtain, matching dinnerware etc are a 'luxury'. When it comes to clothing, everyone has different taste, body sizes etc so how could they put that on a registry? Plus taking them shopping for clothing, shoes is a time for bonding.

Before going into foster care, we were very very poor. Sometimes I had a mattress to sleep on but usually didn't have sheets. Towels usually had holes in them. A shower curtain was a luxury. Helping these kids feel comfortable & relaxed in a home they will probably not be in for long, is priceless. Personally I wouldn't mind buying some home furnishings to make foster children feel clean and comfortable. It sounds like they spent a whole lot of money on this construction which will be amazing to help the less fortunate so helping with furnishings isn't a big deal to me.

If your heart is telling you not to help with household items, then get a soccer ball, games, books or maybe just gift cards but don't give your used clothes as a gift, that should be separate.

I'm thankful for people like your brother and sis n law.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

If I were you?
I'd skip the house warming and wait till they have some actual kids.
I just can't help being rude if I think I'm being snookered into a gift grab.
It's just better if I stay away in these types of situations.
Otherwise I'd be handing them directions to the nearest 2nd hand store and they can do what ever they want with that.

Oh, and a baby shower is not about the baby.
It's a celebration of a woman becoming a mother for the first time.
She's expected to save her baby things for any more kids she has.
Exceptions are for if there's a long gap between kids.

A Meet and Greet is when people are introduced to the new family member(s) and THAT is about the kids.

50-75 people for kids that aren't even there yet?
I'm sorry but that's bait and switch.
They just want stuff for their house.
If their foster plan falls through - they'll be set up to run a boarding house or a bed and breakfast.
It's up to them to furnish their own house.
You're planning to go along with it to get along.
I'd be planning to 'have prior plans' when ever they have their party and I'd decline the invite.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

ETA after your SWH: Holy Toledo! Mother-in-law is going to be "the Nanny"? SHE'S the one who will do all the work! I feel very sorry for her! I will bet that it won't take long for her to tell them that she cannot continue. This will be really hard work.

I have never heard of anything like this. Wow...

Get the soccer ball.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Family members do weird things - and I agree, this is on the more unusual side! I agree that the whole "foster shower" thing is not appropriate, but keep in mind that people who do NOT have children think alot different than people who do, and since everyone on this site (hence the name "mamapedia") have kids, we are all probably going to think this is pretty unusual :)

I'd chalk this up to one of those weird things that people without kids do, and I bet other guests that don't have kids are going to be like "this is so cool!" and the guests with kids are going to do some eyerolling.

It's your brother. If it was called a housewarming/remodeling party instead of a foster shower, what would you give as a gift? How much money they have or how little they might need shouldn't have anything to do with gift giving. I don't buy a gift for a birthday party and think to myself "well, clearly the parents have plenty of money, I'm going to give a cheapy or no gift." No, usually folks buy a gift that is within in their own budget regardless of the recipients financial situation.

If it were ME, I would talk to my brother about donating the items they are collecting to moms/dads who need items to furnish apartments to get their kids back. The point of fostering, generally, is reunification and supporting that idea through not only fostering, but helping the families overall, is an awesome idea!

Good luck!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

So their 'foster shower' was more a house upgrading/outfitting fundraiser - not so much a baby/child shower. They should just have approached it like that I think. It's admirable they are giving children a place to live and I'm sure having things like shower curtains will come in handy for the children. So I get it - maybe they should just have communicated their needs differently.

As for giving the kids a soccer ball for example - I'd wait and actually meet the children. They'll likely have their own interests - and then get them an appropriate gift to welcome them (your kids may love soccer, and I think that's a nice idea, but they may not be into soccer).

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I'm with your idea on focusing gifts for the children so they will have toys, clothes, books. Etc.

It's my opinion that a shower for baby or foster child is about the child, not about furnishing the house.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I don't get it.. sorry. It's weird to me, and seems a bit off.

I have friends that have tried longer than a year to get pregnant. Most have been able to conceive , naturally, if they try for a longer period and work on issues/medical concerns of not being able to conceive. Some have tried IVF, some adopt.

I would advise them to look into adoption or discuss their difficulties with a doctor before fostering.

Fostering is difficult, heartbreaking at times, and usually starts off with one child in the home. Adding additions on their home and then wanting people to help furnish this for their " foster kids" is way off. Have they even met with a case worker yet?

I don't know what to think. I know many foster parents who own modest homes, and take in one child at a time. Some siblings, but if it's just them and they already had two spare rooms why the need to expand? Unless they want a group home like others have mentioned.. but are they qualified? Are they working in the mental health world? Are they social workers? Do they have experi nice working with troubled kids? Behavioral issues? Neglect?

Just plain off to me..

They can't just simple create a perfect full house with kids. Some may be fortunate and not have been through the ringer, but goodness.

Don't get me wrong, it's wonderful they want to do this, but I do not think they are really thinking about all of this appropriately.

If I went I would bring toys and sport stuff.. also stuffed animals, blankets. That's if I went at all..

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I think gifting the clothes you have is a wonderful idea and I'm sure they would appreciate it. However, even if this was a normal baby shower, wouldn't you still buy a gift in addition to the hand me downs? My best friend is having her first baby after years of trying and I gave her tons of hand me downs (clothes, swing, bouncy chair, high chair, etc), but I still bought her gifts for the new baby.

I think giving things for the children would be very much appreciated. But those children also needs beds, sheets, pillows, dishes to eat off of, and so much more. Pick something off the registry that they need, and add in something that you want to give. Make the gift separate from the hand me downs.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Meh. I mean I get it, they certainly will need those things to make children feel more comfortable in their home and they wouldn't be asking for them if they hadn't have added those rooms, etc. so I mean I kinda get it. Plus, those are more expensive items and they might be thinking that people will donate toys, clothes, etc. when actual children come to their home. Lots of people have hand me downs, etc. Plus, you can get a lot of those things at a thrift store when you have an actual kid and know what to buy, whereas it's harder to get matching furniture,etc. at those places.

But I get what you're saying too. I would definitely hang onto the clothes you have and give them to them, just not at the shower. If you aren't comfortable getting the items on their registry then I think it's totally fine to get a soccer ball, football, other outdoor toys, etc. I would also suggest books. Kids of all ages read books and kids into 3-4th grade still enjoy funny picture books that the whole family enjoys. You could also think about school supplies, crayons, etc. They will need those items to send with the children to school as well as keep at home for homework, coloring, etc.

I agree that getting at least a small gift is necessary so go with something that all kids like and will be used by all kids.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I think it is tacky to ask for $. However, I think it is also tacky to gift used clothing. I'm not saying don't give the clothes. I'm sure they would be appreciated but to give them as the gift (even with a soccer ball) seems cheap to me. Also, since you don't know the ages, size or gender they might not even be able to use the clothes.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

This is an odd way to go about this for sure.

Here's what foster parents that "I" know have on hand.

They have an organized area/room for clothing. They have it hung and in drawers by gender and size. Diapers and baby things are in their own area since most of them won't hang.

Over time they've "collected" from garage sales, hand me downs from friends, and taking advantage of great sales and added to their storage items. Plus they get a stipend each moth for each child. That money is to purchase and pay for anything that child needs. One foster mom makes sure all the kids have their needs met then spends the rest on household bills. That covers things the kids need too. She also spends a bunch on groceries. She has no "income" per say but she does get to keep anything she doesn't spend on the kids. Again, their needs are met and some extras are also provided too.

Whatever she buys for a specific child is that child's property. They take it with them when they leave. They also get emergency money when that child is first removed from their home and placed with a foster family.Those items are that child's items and they get to keep them.

As for stuff for the kids as far as toys, they need to be aware they should never allow the little ones, under age 3, to play with the toys meant for bigger kids. Such as Barbie shoes, they are a serious choke hazard for little ones. Gummies are choke hazards too. They have to keep stuff put up and out of reach for any little ones they might have to bring in.

They can buy good things at garage sales over time also. If you want to purchase specific items for kids then do that.

There are so many issues with what they're thinking here. In my opinion they are biting off a lot more than they can handle. Do they seriously think they are suddenly going to get that many foster kids? The mom will have to not work because she'll be running these kids from court dates to parent visits to doctors appointments and more. They'll likely need helpers too.

I do think they have a good heart. If they understand the goal is always to re-unite these foster children with their parents. They are in for heartache if they think this is adoption time.

As for furnishing their new space that's very expensive for sure. I see where they're coming from as far as their shower requests. They are asking for help in that area. Maybe you can contribute a little towards a furniture fund then get a couple of things specifically for the future kids.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I think your brother and his wife are kind of clueless going into fostering. They are living the fantasy in their heads and will have a rude awakening when the reality hits. No one is going to place multiple children with brand new foster parents.

That being said I would throw the list aside and go with gifts for the children. Books, toys, board games, balls for outside, scooters, etc.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Binghamton on

I'm usually put off by those types of things but it seems different in this case. Becoming foster parents is a huge gift to the kids and it sounds like they're going all out and spending a ton of their own money already. How incredibly generous of them! It'd be different if they were having their own children and asking people to help furnish their house. But these sound like household necessities to make the house well set up and welcomkng for foster children. In this case I would be happy to give them household things that also apply to the kids. A nice espresso machine? No. Towels for all these new kids to use? Pots to cook all the extra food that will be needed. Sure! And I never even had a baby registry and refused a shower. I made the decision to bring a child into this world. I'll pay for everything. But these aren't their children... maybe someday! But not now. Unless they didn't fund the house construction themselves, I'm surprised people begrudge them this stuff. Maybe they're running out of money!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

kitchen stuff for a suddenlly bigger family is necessary, additional towels will be helpful when they get additional bathers in the house, and if they want each child to have their own room and bed and dresser, then i get why they want that kind of stuff, but a agree with other posters, its odd, lil bit tacky and i would of declined to attend.
since you plan to attend... do a soccer ball, and other sportsy stuff that kids of many ages can enjoy, hold onto the clothing till they get a child that will actually wear it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

I personally like your way of thinking...but maybe get them some practical towels (or whatever) for the shower and then when their foster children arrive give them each their own gift to open...such as a book and a game, or a book and a soccer ball, or a book and a lego set. Then they can open something just for them!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

Give him a $100 gift card to target (or where he is registered) and be happy for him. He may not even get a foster child. This is a big moment for your brother. Be happy and helpful to him.

Hopefully he won't get to many hand me downs on this day. Most of those items are easy to get free at charity type places (people love to give their old sh..stuff and feel good about giving to others and posting it on Facebook).

You can give him used clothes and toys on a different day. Maybe when he has a child in the home and you can hand the used toy/clothing to the child yourself.

Edit: Having your own shower is already not a shower under the proper etiquette. He is asking for NEED items not WANT items. He is being practical and not proper.

edit: After reading some people comments about group homes and making a profit, I am rethinking my answer. You know him best. If his intentions are good, I stand by my advice.



answers from New York on

You have a great heart and "spirit" here. But remember, the foster children are "just passing through". It sounds like your brother and his wife simply want to give the children the most deluxe accomodations possible during the (possibly short) time they are together. It would be really nice to give the children gifts too, but, probably best to wait til you meet them to decide what to give them.



answers from Indianapolis on

I adopted my daughter and had 2 showers, one at work and one with family, but I have never heard of a foster shower. With foster kids you don't know what age or sex you are getting. I don't know how you can plan for that other than filling a bedroom. I would give them a gift card and your daughters clothes.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions