In domestic infant adoption, you’ll likely meet your baby for the first time at the hospital, right after he or she is born. Many adoptive couples feel like they’ve been anxiously waiting for this day for an eternity. Finally, your prayers for the family you have always wanted are being answered!
Do you know how to prepare yourselves for your adoption experience at the hospital? Read on to get Lifetime Adoption’s tips on how hopeful adoptive parents can get ready for this special time!
Setting a Legal Framework for Your Adoption Experience at the Hospital
Your adoption lawyer or agency will go over all of the details with you regarding your role at the hospital. And, your baby’s birth mom will probably have a good idea about how much or how little she wants you involved in the labor and birth process.
This is an instance in which the decisions are almost entirely up to the birth mother. After all, it’s her birth experience. She might want one of you in the room while she is laboring, but not there for delivery. She may prefer that you stay with her throughout the birth, especially if she is on her own. On the other hand, she might want to have that time to herself so she can properly say goodbye. Ideally, you will know what you are legally allowed to do and what she prefers well before she goes into labor.
Advance Planning for Hospital Stays
You may be in the delivery room, or you might be in the waiting room. Either way, you will probably spend a lot of time at the hospital. Be prepared in advance by going for a hospital visit.
Prospective parents are encouraged to tour maternity wards at hospitals. Adoptive parents are not an exception. This tour allows you to speak with the staff, see the hospital and delivery rooms and familiarize yourself with the nursery. You can also talk with the tour guide, who is usually a nurse in the ward, about how to make your role known to the staff on the day of your child’s birth.
Visiting the Birth Mom and Saying Goodbye
Healthy babies can generally leave the hospital within 24 to 48 hours after birth. Make sure you have all legal documents signed before taking your child home. Also, you should consider how you plan to say goodbye to the birth mom. This is a touchy subject, but one that’s best to discuss during her pregnancy.
Ask the birth mom if she would like you to visit her before you leave for home with your new family. She may have chosen to say her goodbyes earlier when it was just her and her baby alone together. She may wish to give her baby one last kiss and cuddle before you leave.
By allowing her to decide how she’d like to say goodbye to her baby, you’re letting her know how valued and respected she is. It may be one of the most meaningful acts you can offer to this woman who has just made your dream of a family become a reality!
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on August 26, 2018, and has since been updated.
Founder of Lifetime Adoption, adoptive mom, adoption expert, and Certified Open Adoption Practitioner (C.O.A.P).
Since 1986, adoption expert Mardie Caldwell has been dedicated to bringing couples and birth parents together in order to fulfill their dreams.
“Many years ago, I was also searching for a child to adopt. We didn’t know where or how to get started. Through research, determination, and a prayer, our dream of a family became reality. I started with a plan, a notebook, assistance from a caring adoption consultant and a lot of hard work; this was my family I was building. We had a few heartaches along the way, but the pain of not having children was worse!
Within weeks we had three different birth mothers choose us. We were overwhelmed and delighted. Many unsettling events would take place before our adoption would be finalized, many months later. Little did I know that God was training and aligning me for the adoption work I now do today. It is my goal to share with our families the methods and plans which succeed and do not succeed. I believe adoption should be affordable and can be a wonderful “pregnancy” for the adoptive couple.
I have also been on both sides of infertility with the loss of seven pregnancies and then conceiving by new technology, giving birth to a healthy daughter. I have experienced first-hand the emotional pain of infertility and believe my experience allows me to serve your needs better.
It is my hope that for you, the prospective parents, your desire for a child will be fulfilled soon.”