The day your son or daughter arrives is both joyful and stressful. As the adoptive parent, there is a lot of anxious waiting and wanting to see your new baby. Emotions are heightened, which can come out as frustration when things don’t happen the second you’d like them to. Then, just as easily, these can flip to fear if even the tiniest detail of the pre-discussed adoption plan changes. This is all natural.
However, at the same time, it’s important to keep positive, and remain as patient and flexible as you can. The hospital visit involves many moving pieces in a very short amount of time. Here are some important things you need to know to prepare for the hospital visit as adoptive parents.
For starters, make sure that you have packed the essentials and made all the required travel plans in advance. How far will you be going? Can you reach it by car, or will it require a plane? What will the weather be like during your stay? How long will you be staying? Have you reserved a room at a nearby hotel, or will you be sleeping in the hospital? Have you purchased your gift for the birth mother?
All these details and more need to be determined, and contingent plans made just in case, months before your baby’s due date. If there is anything you are unsure of, contact your agency or adoption caseworker to iron them out. Especially regarding a hotel room versus a room in the hospital. Never assume. Always confirm or reconfirm, depending. It’s never a bad idea to ask your caseworker how to prepare for the hospital visit, and to see if there are any details you may have missed.
Prepare for the Unexpected
This may seem like an oxymoron, but it’s a very true part of the hospital visit. Even if things have been discussed and planned in the months leading up to the baby’s due date, plans can change. Circumstances outside your control can happen. So, when thinking about how to prepare for the hospital visit, keep this in your mind. Expecting the unexpected, no matter how small the change, can help you know how to react appropriately.
Be Flexible and Patient
Know that at the hospital, it might feel like you’re put on the back burner. That you’re not as important. But please be as flexible and patient as you can be. The hospital visit is all about the birth mother and the baby. The birth mother has control of how things go. Who can be in the delivery room, how much time she gets with the baby, and so forth. You will get your turn. Maybe not as fast as you’d like, but you’ll have the child’s lifetime to spend with them. Your child’s birth mother won’t. The hospital visit is her time to say hello and goodbye.
Again, even if it seemed ironclad before, plans can change. The birth mother can choose to have alone time with the baby before she lets you in, or she might not want to see you or the baby at all. During this period of time, she has full control over what happens, as the baby is still 100% hers until relinquishment. So, try not to take anything personally. Her emotions are just as heightened as yours. Support and respect whatever decisions she makes during the hospital visit.
Hospital Visits are Emotional
Perhaps the most important way to prepare for the hospital visit as adoptive parents is by doing so emotionally and mentally. You can research plans over and over, and think that you’ve got everything down to a “T.” You’ve read all the books and online articles you were able to get your hands on, and have talked with friends and family. All in all, you think you’re feeling pretty mentally strong.
But nothing can truly anticipate the flood of emotions you’ll both feel and witness at the hospital. Think about it this way. While for you and your partner, it’s the best day of your lives, be mindful that it’s the worst day of the birth mother’s life. Placing a child was difficult in of itself for her. Actually seeing her baby and holding them in her arms is something else entirely. Things will be very emotional for you, her and everyone else involved.
How to Prepare for the Hospital Visit
Never hesitate to ask questions or address any concerns you may have when preparing for the hospital visit. Do your best to remain calm, and be supportive to the birth mother. Until she signs the relinquishment papers, the baby still legally belongs to her. Give her as much space as she wants, and know that you will have the rest of your son or daughter’s life to hold and care for them.
Adoption Choices of Colorado
For more information on adoption please contact Adoption Choices of Colorado. We can be reached via our website or phone 303-670-4401.
Support Adoption Choices
Adoption Choices, Inc. is partnering with Crowdrise, a fundraising website for nonprofits, to help our adoptive parents and birth parents with much needed financial assistance. We understand that expenses keep clients from fulfilling their dreams. Both with birth parents making a plan for adoption, and with adoptive parents growing their family. It is our mission to provide financial assistance through grants and scholarships, awarded annually in November, in honor of National Adoption Month. Funds assist adoptive parents with matching and placements, adoption finalization and helping birth mothers improve their lives through higher education — and much more.
However, we can’t do it alone. Please read up on our programs and donate money where you are able. Your donation will make a huge impact.
About the Author
Rachel Robertson is a published journalist, book editor, certified Publishing Specialist, and aspiring novelist. She graduated from Central Washington University (CWU) in March 2011, having found her writing voice within the Creative Nonfiction genre and grew to work as a freelance book editor for small presses all across the United States.
In June 2018, she embarked on an internship with Virginia Frank and came on board with Adoption Choices Inc., Not for Profit 501(c)(3), in December 2018. Between her mutual passion with adoption and surrogacy, and her own personal history with adoption, Rachel is excited to research and share topics each week that will spread awareness and better serve the faithful patrons of Adoption Choices Inc.
When Rachel isn’t haunting her local Starbucks or Barnes and Noble, she’s avidly pouring over her Writer’s Digest subscription or cozying up with a cup of tea and book. She currently resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her beloved wife and Border Collie.
Adoptions, Lifelong. “Infant Adoption: What to Expect at the Hospital.” LifeLong Adoptions, www.lifelongadoptions.com/10-lgbt-adoptive-parents/237-infant-adoption-what-to-expect-at-the-hospital.
“Hospital Expectations for Adoptive Parents.” AdoptHelp, 10 Sept. 2018, www.adopthelp.com/hospital-expectations-adoptive-parents/.