To be Worth the Wait

As many of you remember, just about a month ago, our son became our forever Martell Gabriel Walder.  What a joy it has been to be freed of the weight of unknown and to know beyond the shadow of a doubt that this little man is ours for the keeping.  Since so many of our friends and family have walked through this journey with us, we thought it would be a sweet cherry on top if we celebrated Martell’s adoption with the people who have stood with us through the whole journey.

So we did.

As I prepared for the party, I looked through Pinterest for adoption party ideas and I found two things:

  1. DOG adoption ideas—look on Pinterest, I dare you. (Same thing with adoption t-shirts. VERY few human adoption t-shirts, mostly dog adoption t-shirts.)
  2. One very cute adoption party idea (for humans): O-fish-ally adopted!  This theme is adorable and has been done so well with so many fun ideas.

I thought it would be a good idea to try to come up with another adoption party theme for us adoptive parents to choose from, if you choose to use a theme for your adoption party, of course.

So the theme I came up with is: (drumroll, please…)

Worth the Wait!

Since adoption typically moves very slowly, the party is themed around slow animals:  sloths, turtles, inchworms and snails.  I also know that for many people who adopt outside of the foster system, especially, adoption can be so expensive.  This party was inexpensive, simple and sweet.  It was really important for me to be reminded just how much the party is about celebrating our family, and not about the cuteness factor.  Although, the party did turn out extremely cute, which was a bonus.

Much of the theme was centered around food, so I teamed with one of the cutest desert bloggers around, Beth Baumgartner from  If you haven’t already, you should really check out her blog.  Ohmygoodness, it’s IN-credible.  I can’t believe I’m friends with this amazing of a person sometimes.  You know what else is awesome about her?  Her desserts are beautiful and so creative, her photos are stunning, she has a killer website, and here’s the kicker:  she’s a totally normal and suuuuuuper sweet human being.  For example, I’m really clumsy, and while photographing the food table, my camera strap got in her perfectly frosted little cupcakes, and she was like, “That’s okay, friend–accidents happen!”  Sweetest.

Here are some pictures from the party.  I will explain all the nitty gritty above each picture, so you know how everything was prepared.

AND at the end there are printables for the banner as well as the snail, turtle, sloth, and inchworm cutouts.

Here’s the man of the hour!


Our family in our matching shirts made as a gift by a close friend.


Check out the backs! All FOUR Walders 🙂


I printed the banner out on many different colors.  I included a couple of the animals on the banner as well for a little added detail.  As you can see on either end of the picture, I hung streamers at different lengths and spacing from the windows as a simple, inexpensive touch.


Here are the most adorable cupcakes you’ve ever seen done by Beth at!  Here is the cupcake tutorial.

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Next are these cute little “Sloth-Allows”.  They are actually fairly easy to make.  They took a few tries to get right, and there were a couple I threw out because they were ugly, but after getting into a swing of it, they weren’t so bad to make!

Ingredients: marshmallows, melting chocolate, crushed up graham crackers, little edible eyes, a wooden skewer and sticks.

I put the marshmallows on sticks first.  Next, I crushed graham crackers so they would be ready for the dunked marshmallows.  The white faces are marshmallows too!  I simply cut the large marshmallow with scissors to get little round disks.  I then used a pointed wooden skewer and dunked that in chocolate and “painted” on the little nose and eye mask.  I was then able to “stick” the candy eyes onto the wet chocolate. Once I had all of the little faces made, I was able to dunk the marshmallows in chocolate.  Next, I rolled the chocolate-coated marshmallows in the graham crackers while the chocolate was still wet.    So, after rolling the marshmallows in graham cracker, I stuck the already-completed sloth faces on for the finished little “sloth-allow”, as I’ve coined it!

They were both cute and delicious!
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The next two treats are made to look like little inchworms.  (Heart-eyes).  I was so thankful to have my mother-in-law and sister-in-law help with these little guys.

The first two pictures are photos of little tomato, mozzarella inchworms laying on a bed of basil.  The eyes are small candy eyes put on with edible adhesive.  Apparently, the adhesive, however, was extremely hard to use.  Not sure what a better solution would be–perhaps cream cheese?  I also think that both the tomatoes and the grapes would be easier to adhere to if they were room temperature.  That way you eliminate the condensation issue.

The third photo is of little grape inchworms–made the same way except with grapes, of course.  Instead of adhesive, I wonder if vanilla frosting would work better or even melted chocolate.

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Next, to pull the turtle into the food theme, we carved a watermelon!  I simply used a little cookie dough ball utensil to scoop out the watermelon into little balls.  Then, we used a knife to notch out a pattern of connected hexagons.  I used toothpicks to keep the shell from sliding off.

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The next two photos are treats that took NO work.  Gummy worms–“slow worms,” rather than glow worms.  And pretzel rods entitled, “tree trunks” because sloths hang from trees.  I put these treats in little berry cartons that I got years ago from Hobby Lobby for a different party.

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The final treat are these cute little peanut butter, apple, celery snails.  What I did to make these, is simply slice apples and coat them in a little bit of lemon juice.  I cut the celery into small slices and spread a layer of peanut butter onto them.  Next, I topped the celery with the apple, and pressed it down into the crevice.  The peanut butter kind of squirts out a little bit at the front, which is perfect for the snail’s head, which I’ll get to in a moment.  After attaching the apple, I put peanut butter in a plastic sandwich bag and cut a tiny hole in the corner for a piping bag.  I tried to pipe little peanut butter swirls on the apples.  This was a little bit tricky because the peanut butter didn’t want to stay on since they were a little bit wet with lemon juice.  So, I just did my best, and decided that perfection is definitely NOT the goal here.  Once I piped on the swirls, I attached eyes to the head, which are just edible candy eyes, and I broke some pretzels for little antennas.  There you have it–snail treats!

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I found this cute little chalk board in the Target dollar bin, and wrote “finally ours” on it and attached a picture of the kids on Martell’s “gotcha day.”  I got some cute paper straws and there you have a cute little drink station!


Here are just some little touches I included as decorations around the house as well.  I had balloons, but somehow didn’t get a photo of those.  The decor really consisted of very basic paper-cut animals, confetti I ran down the center of the food table.  I cut the confetti with a hole punch and the extra paper from cutting out the little animals.  I used a plastic table cloth as a table runner down my table as well.  I picked some flowers from the yard to set out and about.  And finally, I used good old fashioned streamers around the mantle, door frames, etc.

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Finally, here’s a close up of our awesome t-shirts.


Friends, if you made it this far–whew–you’re awesome!  Here are the PDF printables of the banner, signs for the different foods shown in the post, as well as all of the little animal printables.  I hope you find this helpful.

Food Signs     Inchworm     Sloth     Snail Body     Snail Shell      Turtle Body      Turtle Shell      Worth the Wait Banner

With Love,


  • Tabitha Kelley August 15, 2016 at 8:30 am

    Wow! Amazing idea, amazing pictures, amazing mama and papa!!!

  • Lauren August 15, 2016 at 8:50 am

    You are incredible! Your family is so blessed to have you:)

  • Marilyn August 15, 2016 at 8:58 am

    Very cute ideas!! Looks like it wasn’t too difficult but yummy and fun!! Thanks for sharing!
    And I think it is interesting that there are more ideas about adopting dogs than adopting people!!
    Love you!

  • Grandma Blanche August 20, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    I’m so glad we were able to attend this very special event. Loved all of your cute decorations, and the appetizers were cute and good to eat, too! Grandpa and I are so proud of you and Gabe and your sweet family. Love and hugs, Gram