Trust is a major issue for anybody who is thinking about adoption. For many birth parents, trusting a new couple with their precious baby can feel almost impossible. Additionally, both birth parents and adoptive parents often want to feel a sense of closure with their respective adoption journeys. For these reasons, many families like to celebrate adoption with a special entrustment ceremony.
Many find commemorating their child’s transition from birth family to adoptive family to be a powerful experience. In the past, some adoptive parents would welcome a new child into their home with a “welcome home” party or baby shower. Some would hold a naming ceremony or baptism. But the entrustment ceremony carries special meaning, because it involves both of the child’s families.
Who Participates in an Entrustment Ceremony?
Each entrustment ceremony is different. Some only include the birth parents and adoptive parents, while others are more public. In some cases, grandparents from both families can participate too.
The families might ask people to speak at the ceremony. These people could include pastors, teachers, adoption professionals, and anybody else who is important to the families.
Many families prefer to have a private ceremony. If this is what you choose, think about making a video of the event, so you can share it with others, including siblings, grandparents, and even the child one day. It can be a blessing to have this video to look back on later as your child grows.
Where Do Entrustment Ceremonies Take Place?
Again, your ceremony can look however you want it to. If both families live in the same area, they might hold an entrustment ceremony at a local chapel or park. Some families describe holding the ceremony at a church. If the two families live far apart, the service might take place at the hospital or nearby adoption agency shortly after the baby is born.
What Happens During an Entrustment Ceremony?
Usually, the ceremony begins with the birth parents talking about how they chose the adoptive parents and why they trust them with the care of their child. Then, the adoptive parents talk about the love they will have for the baby. They may also make promises for the future in the form of vows. You can talk about anything you’d like, including your feelings of trust and respect for each other.
Many families also like to add a reading or song to the ceremony. The text is often religious, such as a passage from the Bible. Or, it could even be from a favorite book. These additions can help both the adoptive and birth parents express their hope, happiness, and love in a poetic and meaningful way. Christian families may also pray over the child and for each of the families.
Some families like to create a piece of art during the ceremony. For example, you might want to make plasters of the child’s hands with each of the parent’s hands. You can decorate the plasters and hang them on the wall. The handprint makes a lovely keepsake and creates a precious reminder of this joyous occasion.
Some ceremonies involve lighting candles. If you have seen a wedding ceremony that included the lighting of a unity candle, this is similar. Each parent or set of parents uses a lit candle to light a larger candle together. The ritual is a metaphor for the joining of two families in a unique way.
Should We Have an Entrustment Ceremony?
It’s up to you whether you’ll hold an entrustment ceremony. Of course, there are plenty of benefits to holding this ceremony.
For one, an entrustment ceremony can provide a sense of closure for each parent. For birth parents, the ceremony allows them to have closure to what may have been a very difficult experience. The service provides a positive environment for the event rather than a sad one.
Additionally, the entrustment ceremony allows each person the chance to say their piece. It will enable you to feel like the process is final, and you have said everything you wanted to say. Nobody will end up feeling like they have unfinished business.
The entrustment ceremony provides each set of parents the opportunity to transition more than a child. Together, you are creating a unique relationship that involves trust and love. You are officially in this together.
You can design the entrustment ceremony you want. No matter what kind of ceremony you choose, one fact stays the same: everybody in the room loves the child and wants the best for him or her!
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Heidi Keefer is a Content Creator for Lifetime Adoption and has 15 years of experience in the field of adoption. An author of thousands of blog posts over the years, Heidi enjoys finding new ways to educate and captivate Lifetime’s ever-growing list of subscribers.
Heidi has a keen eye for misplaced apostrophes, comma splices, and well-turned sentences, which she has put to good use as a contributor to Lifetime’s award-winning blogs. She has written and published hundreds of adoption articles which explore the various facets of domestic infant adoption today.