Most religions do not have a set ceremony or format to welcome an adopted child. But that hasn't stopped creative parents, pastors, and adoption professionals who in recent years have come up with unique and thoughtful adoption rites. Many include or are based on traditional religious rituals. But each brings a sense of the spiritual to the process of adopting a child.

"We used to just tell parents to take the baby home and pretend the baby was born to you," said Mary Martin Mason, an adoptee, adoptive mother, and author of a book on adoption rituals. "But that didn't work for a number of reasons." Rituals and ceremonies, Mason said, feed a need "to set aside time to acknowledge that this is something special...especially if you have rituals that are repeated -- you can go back yearly and revisit the adoption. It educates, and it helps the child 'grow' the adoption."

Check the links below for Beliefnet's sampler of rituals for adoptive parents to use in making the adoption process sacred and special.

Adoption Rituals
Lutheran Prayer * Christian "Special Delivery" Ceremony * The Entrustment Ceremony * Making Room for Good Messages * Gotcha Day * Jewish Welcoming Ceremony * The Sacrifice Flower * Catholic Rite of Welcome * Unitarian Commitment Ceremony * Coat of Arms

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