Buying for Baby: Should We Stock up Now or Later?

by | Feb 23, 2022 | Adoptive Families Blog

Still life of cute products adoptive parents get when buying for babyAdoptive parents-in-waiting often ask, “Should we have a nursery or room ready before we adopt?” The answer to this will vary from parent to parent—some families prefer to wait so that an empty room or unused gear isn’t sitting unused, while others like knowing they are ready and stocked for when their child arrives.
Whatever you decide to do in your adoption path, it IS wise to plan ahead for some things, even if it’s just to create a registry or have a list of items you know you’ll want or need when it’s time for your adoption.

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Visit Websites or Stores to Begin Buying for Baby

Today’s adoptive parents tell us their favorite tips for preparing for their future child involve visiting stores or websites to become aware of products they’ll want for their future child. Then, after browsing, you can create online registries or shopping lists to keep track of those items for later.

Whether you’re adopting an older child or an infant, many websites and shops will allow you to create a registry that can easily be accessed and updated when you know more about the child you will adopt.

For example, if you are open to adopting a child ranging in age from newborn up to three years old, you may hesitate to assemble a crib and changing table in a room that could ultimately house a toddler. With registries today, many online and local stores allow adoptive parents-to-be to build a list of items they may possibly need. Then, once they know the age and needs of the actual child they’ll adopt, they can easily update this list.

“This is sort of the best of both worlds,” an adoptive mom-to-be explains. “I can learn about things I’ll need for our baby, and the organizer in me can sort them out and have them ready for when we need them, but still not have these things sitting around the house collecting dust or reminding me we’re still waiting.”

Baby Registries

A new adoptive mom shares, “I found out what a blessing that online registry was for us while we were traveling to meet our baby. I could order a few items I knew I’d need immediately and have them shipped to the hotel where we’d be staying. Plus, I didn’t want gender-neutral colors on everything, so we had our boy items and girl items all in our registry so that we could get what we wanted when the time came.”

She continues, “These lists online also helped my family and friends plan a shower for us when we returned home. It was a relief not to have to juggle a registry on top of welcoming home our new baby.”

Amazon’s wish lists and online baby registry have been among the most popular for future adoptive parents, as well as adoption-specific registries through retail chains like Buy Buy Baby. Even Wal-Mart’s app and website offer a “list” function, where you can create category-specific lists and add items as you browse online.

It’s normal for anyone hoping to adopt to dream about and plan for the child they will welcome into their family soon enough. Online lists and registries have changed the way adoptive parents handle the uncertainties surrounding their future child’s needs and the timing of their adoption.

Do’s and Don’ts of Creating a Baby Registry

Registries are so convenient for adoptive parents to list what they want and need for their new arrival. But, with all the convenience, there are some dos and don’t you should know.


    An adoptive mother assembling her future baby's nursery

  • Get help from the registry consultants that many stores offer their customers. These individuals are knowledgeable and can guide you to items you may not have thought about or were unsure of.
  • Check out the “welcome boxes” offered by many retailers just for signing up. These boxes include samples and coupons, which will come in handy once your baby arrives. You may need to pick up some items in the bags, but others will arrive by mail.
  • Pay attention to baby-registry checklists. These are excellent reminders of the essential things you’ll need. Most online registries provide checklists as part of the registry feature.


  • Don’t count on getting car seats or cribs as hand-me-downs. These aren’t safe to reuse, anyway. So, register for new gear that’s up to date on safety standards.
  • Don’t avoid using a registry just because you’re adopting your second child. You’ll find that you’ll need to replace many of the things you used for your first child. Children grow differently and grow in different shapes. Sometimes the clothes that worked for one won’t fit the next child. Plus, the seasons may be different. Shorts won’t work in the winter, and heavy sleep sacks won’t work for a summer baby.
  • Don’t assume everyone knows what you need or want for your adopted baby. A registry will help them get exactly what you hoped for and will allow them a way to welcome your new little addition.

What not to put on your baby registry:

  • Stuffed animals: People usually buy these for your baby and include them in baby shower or sip and see gifts.
  • Baby shoes: If you’re adopting a newborn, they won’t be walking for a while. These usually aren’t practical.
  • Baby toys: For the same reason you don’t want to register for stuffed animals. People will include these with their baby gifts.
  • Bottle warmers: These take up room in your kitchen and aren’t necessary. You can heat the water in a cup in the microwave, then set the bottle in it for a few minutes to warm it up.
  • Gender-specific gear: Register for both genders or for unisex items (unless, of course, you’re only open to adopting one gender!)
  • Nursery decorations: If you register for specific nursery décor, you’ll feel you can never redecorate. Plus, you may get inundated with décor but need more practical items like diapers and wipes.
  • High chair: This is controversial since many people use their high chairs, but many people tell us they regretted putting this on their registry since they never used it. Many parents used a booster seat that was attached to the table. They take up little space and are easy to keep clean.

I invite you to stay tuned to part two of this topic. Next week, I’ll share shopping checklists for adoptive parents-to-be!

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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on August 26, 2016, and has since been updated. 

Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P.

Written by Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P.

Founder of Lifetime Adoption, adoptive mom, adoption expert, and Certified Open Adoption Practitioner (C.O.A.P).

Since 1986, adoption expert Mardie Caldwell has been dedicated to bringing couples and birth parents together in order to fulfill their dreams.

“Many years ago, I was also searching for a child to adopt. We didn’t know where or how to get started. Through research, determination, and a prayer, our dream of a family became reality. I started with a plan, a notebook, assistance from a caring adoption consultant and a lot of hard work; this was my family I was building. We had a few heartaches along the way, but the pain of not having children was worse!

Within weeks we had three different birth mothers choose us. We were overwhelmed and delighted. Many unsettling events would take place before our adoption would be finalized, many months later. Little did I know that God was training and aligning me for the adoption work I now do today. It is my goal to share with our families the methods and plans which succeed and do not succeed. I believe adoption should be affordable and can be a wonderful “pregnancy” for the adoptive couple.

I have also been on both sides of infertility with the loss of seven pregnancies and then conceiving by new technology, giving birth to a healthy daughter. I have experienced first-hand the emotional pain of infertility and believe my experience allows me to serve your needs better.

It is my hope that for you, the prospective parents, your desire for a child will be fulfilled soon.”

Read More About Mardie Caldwell

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