What to Expect at the Hospital for Adoptive Parents

It’s finally here! The day you’ve been agonizing over, waiting, and praying for. Today, you’ll be going to the hospital to pick up the newest member of your family – your beautiful son or daughter.

While it’s natural to get caught up in the feelings of joy and excitement of your baby’s birth, there are a few important things to keep in mind:

Understand and Adhere to Hospital Policies

First things first – check in! The hospital will already have the birth mother’s plans and expectations recorded, but the hospital social worker will want to go over yours as well. For instance, will you need your own hospital room? Will you be in the delivery room or the waiting room? Is this a closed or open adoption? In addition, the hospital may ask you to verify any insurance information and make sure medical release forms are signed to ensure a smooth transition. Then, they will provide your ID wristbands that give you access to the maternity ward.

Communication at this stage is very key. Having as many details prearranged as possible can minimize the amount of surprises, which will help to eliminate any stress and anxiety. It is also vital to forming a good foundation and relationship with the birth mother.

Understand Legal Papers

Depending on the state, the birth mother may be required to sign an adoption consent form to legally relinquish her parental rights. While every state has different laws dictating when the birth mother can consent to adopt, they all agree that any paperwork must wait to be signed until after the baby is born. Then, once this occurs, written consent can generally be acquired between 12 and 72 hours following the baby’s arrival.

Regarding the birth certificate, hospitals typically request the birth mother fill out an application, stating a first and middle name of her own choosing or one that you and her have agreed on previously. Once the adoption is finalized in 3-12 months following the baby’s birth, this birth certificate is then sealed and a new one is be created with the child’s legal name.

Be Supportive and Prepared for Changes

Always remember to remain flexible, keep an open mind, and expect the unexpected. Even though you’re excited to meet your future son or daughter, remember to be sensitive to the birth mother’s needs, and respect any and all wishes she may have. Infant adoption is never easy for the birth mother, so asking her if she’s sure about her decision wouldn’t be advised. Instead, be there as a source of encouragement. Assure her that she can talk about what she’s experiencing with you or an adoption counselor, and that you are there to listen.

Remember, too, that until she signs the paperwork relinquishing her rights, your future son or daughter is still legally hers. The time in the hospital is about her and the baby, and it can be a very unpredictable and emotional experience. For instance, if she decides that she’d rather you not come into the delivery room, it’s okay. The delivery room is a very vulnerable place for a birth mother, and it’s all about her comfort level. Just be prepared to go with the flow.

Be sure to give her the alone time she needs with the baby following the birth. Many birth mothers regret not having enough time with the baby before signing the paperwork, and they need time to say hello and goodbye. Remember that you will have all the time in the world once everything is said and done and that – again – this time is about her and the baby.

Your happiness, flexibility and understanding will help ease her pain and give her confidence that she is making the right choice.

Bring a Gift

While not required, it is thoughtful and considerate to bring a gift to the birth mother. It will show that you’ve been thinking about her, and make her feel special and important. Whether it’s food, flowers or something else, though, always double-check with the adoption agency social worker to make sure that bringing gifts is acceptable. Some state laws and hospitals may differ on this.

In addition to this, it’s always a good idea to bring items to accommodate the baby. One or two blankets, a set of bottles with pacifiers, and an outfit or two can help out a lot on the return trip home. Diapers, formula and a car seat are also ideal. Many of these items can be purchased as soon as you leave the hospital, if you’re unable to secure them before.

After the Birth

Having flexible travel plans is a must, especially if you are coming from out of state. When you’re able to head home post-delivery varies from state to state; but, typically when adopting a newborn from a state other than your own, you’ll want to be prepared to stay there anywhere from 7 to 10 business days. Definitely brush up on this information beforehand, or discuss it with your adoption agency social worker or attorney to determine the expectations regarding this.

Before leaving the hospital, remember to discuss the next few months with the birth mother. This way you’ll know if she wants pictures to see how the baby is doing.

Your New Baby

When all is said and done, you’ll be able to finally bring home your baby and bring a brand new life with them!

Resources:

Adoptions, Lifelong. “Infant Adoption: What to Expect at the Hospital.” LifeLong Adoptions, 2018, www.lifelongadoptions.com/10-lgbt-adoptive-parents/237-infant-adoption-what-to-expect-at-the-hospital.

“Adopting a Newborn from the Hospital? What to Expect & How to Prepare for Your First Hospital Adoption Experience.” 3 Common Adopted Child Problems | Adoptions With Love, Adoptive Parents, 25 July 2017, www.adoptionswithlove.org/adoptive-parents/adopting-newborn-from-the-hospital.

“Adopting a Newborn: What to Expect at the Hospital.” Angel Adoption, Angel Adoption, Inc., 26 Sept. 2016, www.angeladoptioninc.com/blog/adopting-a-newborn-what-to-expect-at-the-hospital/.

“Adoptive Parents and the Hospital Adoption Experience.” Adoptive Families, 15 July 2016, www.adoptivefamilies.com/openness/hospital-adoption-experience/.

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