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What To Register For When You’re Adopting


What To Register For When You're Adopting

Did you know November is National Adoption Awareness Month?? It is! So today I partnered with Pampers to share a “registry” post that is a bit different than a lot of registries you might see, because adoption takes you on a bit of a different journey to parenthood.

I’ve noticed from being in this community that there are a few different mentalities when future parents begin the adoption process. There are the people who start down the road of adoption and simultaneously begin prepping their home for a child. They buy all the things, decorate the nursery and baby proof every inch. That is amazing.

And then there are people like me. I fell into the group that couldn’t bear to look at a nursery or a high chair at the table knowing that, sure, it could be tomorrow that our baby arrives, but it could also be a year (or more). The waiting process can be brutal and I didn’t want a physical reminder around every corner I turned. Even once we were matched I thought, “Well, there’s no guarantees and if something doesn’t go as planned, I don’t want to come home to a nursery to stare at.” I wanted to buy the absolute bare minimum of items that we needed so that we could power through those first few weeks with a baby, but also shove everything into a closet and out of our minds until there was a baby there to use it. And I definitely wasn’t alone in that feeling.

This post is for those people like me.

Today I wanted to share a “registry” of sorts that consists of those items that you’ll need once your tiny babe comes into your life. This is a great thing to send to friends and family who are excitedly ready to buy you a gift when you tell them you’re adopting. It’s bare bones necessities and it helped us tremendously when we ran into that situation, and when we had just five weeks to prepare-but-not-prepare for Arlo.

Now, every adoption situation is different and this is definitely geared towards those adopting a newborn. And because it’s National Adoption Month, we are excited to be helping out some fellow adoptive families on their journey. You can read more about that at the bottom of this post!

What To Register For When You're Adopting

Side note, look at that tiny baby below and now this big giant teenager baby I have!? *cue all tears*

What To Register For When You're Adopting

Car Seat + Stroller: A car seat is the only thing we were required to purchase during our home study. They had to see it, in the box, in our home for us to be approved. One that has a stroller base is ideal. We went with a cheap version since we had to have it ASAP and then upgraded later on once we had more time to do research. We actually kept the cheaper one we had purchased for travel since it’s lighter and more portable.

Pampers Swaddlers: Literally not saying this because Pampers is sponsoring this post, every mom we asked told us they used Pampers Swaddlers. And the hospital gave us Pampers Swaddlers. So we took that recommendation and now I am, in turn, recommending them to you! If you have any indication on the size of the baby than you can use that to decide whether they’ll fit into Newborn size (we we’re pretty positive Arlo was going to be small, so we went with that) otherwise be safe and go with a size 1! You’ll be glad you have a box of these to come home to.

Wipes: Same here, everyone recommended Pampers wipes. We use the sensitive ones. Snag a package or two to have on hand.

Bottles: We have six bottles for Arlo and like it because we can wash and prep a bunch all at once. Some people like to have fewer bottles as it forces you to clean them and not let them pile up. Whatever you chose, be sure to have some.

Formula: If you’re planning to formula feed, do your research, decide which formula is best for your family and purchase at least one container to start with. They will give you some at the hospital but you’ll be happy to have your formula of choice on hand once you get home so you’re not running out to the store. That said, don’t buy too much because they might not tolerate it well (We went through about four different ones with Arlo) and you don’t want to waste it!

Water Filter/Pitcher: We have a water pitcher that sits on the counter with filtered room-temp water for Arlo so it’s ready to go at all times, super helpful with a screaming baby who needs a bottle ASAP. (Note: You’ll need to discuss with your pediatrician whether you’ll need to boil your water or not!)

Bottle Brush: This is crucial for getting in all the little nooks and crannies a bottle has as getting those things SUPER clean is really important.

Steam Clean Bags: These were really helpful to ensure the bottles were sterilized. You can pop a few bottles in at a time (after cleaning with soap and water) and it sterilizes them in the microwave.

Burp Cloths: Babies are puke-y, gotta have some. Enough said. Haha!

Somewhere for Baby To Sleep: If you were like us and didn’t want to set up a full nursery until a baby was in your arms, you just need some place for them to sleep. A bassinet is great for this as it is relatively portable and can go right next to your bed.

Swaddle Sack: These things are so much easier to use than doing the whole swaddle blanket wrap!

Swaddle Blankets: Despite having the above, it’s nice to have a couple blankets too. We used one over him in the car to keep warm, on the floor when we wanted to set him down and over the stroller when we had to take him to his first doctor’s appointment.

Baby Wrap/Carrier: If you have to fly on a plane with your babe to get home, this is ESSENTIAL. And even if you don’t, this was the only way we could get Arlo to sleep sometimes while still having our hands free. Plus, especially with adoption, the more close cuddle/bonding/skin-to-skin time you can have the better, so it’s great for that!

Play Gym: This definitely isn’t an “essential” but it is nice to have a place to set baby down and let them hang during their minimal awake time. This one isn’t super cute but Arlo LOVED it from when he was just a few weeks old until about 6 months of age.

Long Sleeve White Onesies: We picked up a couple of these and it’s what Arlo almost exclusively lived in for the first couple weeks. He slept in them inside his swaddle and hung out in them during the day too. Cute clothes are great, but they grow out of newborn stuff SO fast and these get the job done!

Adoption Fund: If you’re reading this, you likely already know how pricey adoption can be, so a great option for friends and family looking to help is for them to contribute, crowdfunding style, to an adoption fund. AdoptTogether is one that I love and it’s a wonderful way for your loved ones to really help.

Arlo Adoption Story

Sorry, had to include this pic. LOOK HOW SMALL HE WAS!
(Photo by One Eleven Photography)

And those are our must haves! I actually loved that we had very minimal things because we were able to learn a little more about Arlo before spending a ton of money on items we didn’t think he would need or like!

As a part of this partnership we wanted to find a way to keep spreading the awareness and love during National Adoption Month. We’re SO excited to be donating $1,000 to AdoptTogether to help support their efforts in aiding adoptive families. As I mentioned, they are an amazing adoption-focused crowdfunding organization. They help bridge the gap between families who want to adopt and children who are in need of an adoptive family. Our donation will go towards their efforts and help adoptive families with their fundraising grants. You can learn more about their organization right here.

If anyone reading has been through the adoption process, I’m curious… were you like me and didn’t want to “prepare” until you had a baby or did you start shopping, decorating and prepping as soon as you started the process!?








  • catherinejacobse

    Magnificent website. A lot of helpful info here. I’m sending it to several buddies ans additionally sharing in delicious. And certainly, thanks to your effort!

  • Jessica

    We’ve been waiting for a year and 9 months and we have our baby registry wish list saved on our Amazon account for the moment we do get matched. Other than that, our future baby room is empty! Like you, it’s too hard for us to prepare for a baby and see physical baby items when we don’t know when our baby will come.

    • Kelly

      Yes, exactly! Not knowing how long it would be, it was way to hard to look at everything. I will be thinking of you and sending good vibes your way!!

  • DriverB

    I gave birth to my babe and I didn’t want to prepare! I didn’t *really* think anything was going to go wrong, but something was holding me back all the same. Maybe it’s just that bringing home your little bundle is such an emotional experience, no matter how it happens. We did have some complications (for me, he was fine the whole time) and will be considering adoption if we have a second child. Thank you so much for this post and for continuing to share your journey! I love seeing how Arlo is growing up (he was born within a week of my son!).

    • Kelly

      That’s a good point, actually! I wouldn’t be surprised if I felt the same way should I ever have a biological child.

      If you do decide to move forward with adoption, please always feel free to reach out with any questions!!

  • Kristina

    I was definitely like you and didn’t want to prepare too much! We had a crib (that my nieces and nephews used when they were staying over) and a stroller but that’s about it! When we got matched this summer we had only 5 days to prepare! I was even hesitant to buy things then because with adoption it could all fall apart at any time! We literally stopped to buy formula and a bottle on the way to pick him up 😂.

    • Kelly

      5 days, oh my gosh! We had five weeks and it felt crazy fast!! Totally agree on all points, we waited and waited to get/ask for the items as long as possible too!

  • Megan

    We have been waiting about 3 months (adoption prep/research for 7 months prior to that) and have purchased ZERO. I am like you! We will most likely have to travel when our match happens so my plan is to do any shopping in the city we are in but have a rough list ready so we can hit the ground running when we arrive. Your list is very helpful and something I will keep bookmarked. Watching you guys with Arlo is my light right now. Thank you for sharing your joy with us waiting mamas (and dads).

  • Katie

    This list is exactly what’s on my mind currently! Our home study was approved in August so now we wait! My husband and I pulled up the floor and tiled the room that will be the nursery but I am holding back on setting anything else up. I have a secret registry to keep track of things we might want, but unless something goes on a mega sale I think it will all be purchased after baby comes home. So hard for family to understand (they want to buy me things) – but it possibly could sit in our house for more than a year so I don’t want that!!! I’ve caved and let my mom buy a few cute gender neutral things but she has been instructed that they have to stay at her house for now: haha!

  • Amber

    We will (hopefully) have our home study approved this coming week and although I have a “secret” Pinterest board, we haven’t bought anything yet. We are open to adopting older children so we have no idea what we will need when the time comes. This is such a great go-to list and I’ll be referring back to your recommendations if we are matched with an infant! Thanks for sharing – social media really helps us feel like we are not alone in the adoption process, esp when all of our friends have biological kiddos. ❤️

  • Liz

    Thanks so much for this post! We were matched about 3 weeks ago, and our baby is due in May. We’ve got time to prepare but I’m like you, I don’t want to have physical reminders in the house! It’s nice it’s final till it’s final and the wait already feels long. We did start looking at nannies/daycare because the waiting lists are so long in our city. But otherwise, our plan is to borrow the essentials from the oh so many parents we know when we get the call …and then emergency shopping spree! This list is super helpful and I’ll be referring back to it.

  • alexharness7

    I comment when I especially enjoy a post on a website or I have something to contribute to the discussion. Usually it’s triggered by the passion communicated in the post I read. And on this post What To Register For When You’re Adopting. I was actually moved enough to post a comment 😉 I actually do have a few questions for you if it’s allright. Could it be simply me or does it look as if like a few of these responses come across like they are left by brain dead visitors? 😛 And, if you are writing on other online sites, I would like to follow anything new you have to post. Would you list every one of your communal pages like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

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  • stephanybyerly

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  • Anna

    My husband and I were just approved from our home study last month and some sweet friends are throwing us a shower – we likely won’t have much notice when our baby will be coming so we figure this is a good idea. I have looked EVERYWHERE for a registry for those of us adopting. THANK YOU!!! And your baby is adorable – Congratulations to you all!

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