You are parents! Entrusted with a brand new life you want to
          celebrate and nurture. Ann Keeler Evans, M.Div., will help you
          design a meaningful blessing that reflects your dreams for your
          baby. She'll work closely with you

      Before your ceremony
          as you clarify your dreams for this child,
      During your ceremony
          as you invite your community's love and support
      After your ceremony
          as you remember your community's promises and
          enjoy their interaction in the life of your child.

Enjoy the planning. Step away from bottles, diapers and exhaustion and succumb to the wonder that washes over you when you hold your baby's sweet perfection. Talk about your dreams for this child and explain why you chose your baby's name. Connect and express your love and respect for your partner and co-parent. If there are other children, explain your pride in your family and how wonderful your children are. From this we will make an amazing ceremony where we'll celebrate your joy in this precious baby and your community will promise to help you as you raise your family.

Create a Family History. By the time we're done, you'll have a compiled a family tree that documents your religious, ethnic and cultural heritage and the wonderful people whom you call family. You'll have a history that details how you met your partner and what the course of your relationship has been. You'll talk about your other children, what their names mean and what their roles are and might be in each other's lives. And then you'll have a ceremony that celebrates all these things.

Feel comfortable and calm before and during your ceremony. No baby blessing ever happened on time. Babies cry and they throw up, but they are perfect just the same. This is not a formal wedding, this is a celebration of kids. When everyone is gathered, we'll say the words we have prepared that welcome and dedicate your lives and the life of this new baby. When kids are involved, there are always surprises -- and that's as it should be!

Revel in this special event. This is the first time in this child's life that you come to his community and ask for love and support. It will not be the last, but it will set the tone for all the times to come. I will ask your community members for their pledges of love and support. I will invoke a blessing of the "All That Is" on the life of this child that is celebrated today and on the family that will rear her. Together we will dedicate your baby to a life well lived. Together we will make a covenant to protect him, and all babies, against the problems in this world and we will promise to enjoy the journey that is the life of this child.

Remember your promises for years to come. Create a blessing of the baby and her name will echo in your mind and heart forever. For years to come you will hear my voice leading you and your community through the covenant you're creating with one another around this child. These words will be a guide as you move through the world as a family.

Rely on my faith in your family. Having a family means carving out time to be together, concentrating on the quality of family life and interaction, encouraging every family member to be the best person and the best family member he or she can be. I work only with families who are working hard to make a life together that focuses on what matters in life. If you're willing to help create a world that is safe for all children and all people in the name of your little beloved, let's celebrate your baby's life, together!

  1998-2003 Ann Keeler Evans. All Rights Reserved.