CHOICES Domestic Adoption Program
Written by Sarah Nolette | CHOICES coordinator
What an exciting day! The baby is on the way!
If all goes as planned, there will be an established Hospital Plan that is completed by the expectant mother. This plan includes the expectant mother’s wishes surrounding who she would like to have at the hospital, what type of contact she would like to have with the baby, the hospital where she plans to deliver, and any special instructions from her. Ideally, the Hospital Plan is shared with the adoptive family prior to the birth of the baby, so they can also be aware of the birth mother’s wishes.
As we all know, babies come when they are ready to come, and not everything goes according to plan all the time. The purpose of the Hospital Plan is for everyone (the adoptive family, the hospital, the agency, and other involved parties) to be “on the same page” regarding the wishes of the birth mother. If you have completed the domestic adoption training, you’ll remember that the time in the hospital during labor and delivery is all about the birth mother. Everyone is so excited about the arrival of the baby! It is also incredibly important that everyone remember to respect and honor the birth mother; she is laboring to deliver a baby, which is hard physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and then add to that, everything involved with making an adoption plan. This is a very sensitive time….it is a very emotional time….for everyone involved.
During the time at the hospital, it is important to follow the lead of the birth mother. If the birth mother is holding the baby and does not offer to the adoptive family to hold him or her, it is important to respect that. If she changes her Hospital Plan, we must honor that. As the birth mother, she has all of her parental rights until she signs the adoption documents; from the date she signs, she has 7 days to revoke her adoption decision. Beyond the legal aspect of the adoption, we want to grant her the time, honor, and respect she needs and wants with her baby.
A few other things to consider as you prepare for the day the baby is born:
Make sure you bring your car seat to the hospital!
If you do not wish to commute to and from home, make arrangements for where you’d like to stay and pack accordingly. Based on availability, some hospitals provide a room for the adoptive family, but this is not a guarantee, so it’s best to have an alternate plan.
If you’re expecting a boy, begin thinking about circumcision (sometimes the adoptive family makes this decision and sometimes the birth mother does).
Some adoptive families choose to bring a gift to the birth mother: something bright and cheery that says we care about you, like flowers, a favorite snack or drink, or a small gift basket.
Try to put yourself “in the shoes” of the birth mother, which helps many people with feelings of flexibility, compassion, patience, understanding, and empathy.
Research and select your pediatrician. Contact the office prior to the birth of the baby to get instructions on what to expect once the baby is born.
Remember to practice self-care – this is another highly emotional time, and even good changes are stressful. Do the things that help your mind, body, and spirit feel strong and healthy.