What is a hospital plan for adoption?
When a birth mother has begun making an adoption plan, she has a variety of decisions to make regarding how much contact she will have with you, the adoptive parents. At some point later in her pregnancy, she will sit down with her options counselor to fill out an adoption hospital plan. This plan will describe what the birth mother wants her hospital stay and delivery look like. She will choose things pertaining to who can be present, who will hold the baby first, how the baby will be fed, and how the hospital discharge will go. As the adoptive parents, it is your job to respect the wishes of the birth mother. While the delivery is an exciting time for you, it will most likely be a heartbreaking time for the birth mother. If she asks for space while she is in the hospital, it is important to give it to her. If she wants you to experience everything with her, be there for her every step of the way. She will have made many specific choices, so it is very important that you sit down with the counselor at your agency and discuss the things your birth mother choose as most important to her.
It is a good idea to know what the hospital’s policies are regarding adoption.
Talk with your agency to hear what they know about the hospital, and to get some advice on what you should be aware of before the delivery. If it is okay with the birth mother, some hospitals have special rooms where you can stay in order to be near the baby. It is important to do as much research as possible in the weeks leading up the delivery so that you can be prepared for (almost) anything. Talk with other adoptive parents about their hospital experience; find out what they recommend doing or not doing. Gather all the information you can, but remember to have an open mind about the hospital plan. As mentioned before, it is ultimately up to the birth mother to decide what the days in the hospital will look like, so be open to anything. If she changes her mind on something, be ready to adapt to the change.
After the 48 hours are up and it is time to sign the papers
How will the signing process go? It is so important to know what the birth mother wants regarding this process. If she doesn’t mind signing the papers while you are present, then you can all sign in one room. However, it is unusual for a birth mother to want to sign the papers in front of the adoptive parents. It is an extremely emotional process for most birth mothers, and it is rare that they want anyone present who doesn’t have to be present. Most often, the birth mother and you (the adoptive parents) will sign your papers in separate rooms to avoid any emotional pressure being put on the birth mother. If there are papers that must be signed by both parties, it is most common for the agency or hospital social worker to be the go-between.
When it is time to take baby home, remember that while you are experiencing joy, the birth mother will be experiencing heartbreaking sadness.
Be sensitive to her feelings, but don’t be afraid to feel the joy you have in taking your baby home. If you have a good relationship with the birth mother, talk with her prior to being discharge about how she wants to leave the hospital. Does she want to carry the baby out? Does she want to leave before you do? Does she want to pick out the clothes the baby will leave in? There might be certain things she will want to do that might make the departure a little easier for her. As mentioned before, be sensitive to any wish she has throughout the entire delivery and hospital stay. You have the blessing of taking baby home and making many memories with him/her, while birth mom has to say goodbye.