When an expectant mother goes into labor and is admitted into the hospital the hopeful adoptive parent(s) are, most often, notified to make their way to the hospital. Emotions are running high for everyone involved. The expectant mother is giving birth to a baby she’s made an adoption plan for and the hopeful adoptive parent(s) are eagerly awaiting the birth of a baby they have prepared to bring home.
At each step of an adoption plan, it is so important for the hopeful adoptive parent(s) to honor the expectant mother. But what does that look like in the hospital setting? To be honest, it means you as the adoptive family will be on the side lines unless asked to be otherwise.
Can we be in the delivery room? It’s the expectant mother’s choice if she wants an adoptive family in the delivery room at any point. She may be okay with you in the room while she is in the beginning stages of labor, but then may ask you to leave when it’s time to push. It’s important to remember that giving birth is an incredibly vulnerable and sacred experience. If she allows you to experience any step of this with her, cherish it as a gift and not as an expectation.
Will we get a room at the hospital? This depends on the hospital where the baby is being delivered because each hospital handles adoption differently. Some hospitals do have designated rooms for adoptive families while other hospitals do not. If they do not, then you’ll be expected to wait in the waiting room unless the expectant mother invites you into her room.
If you are from out-of-state, then you will need to secure a hotel or home of family/friends to stay at overnight.
Will we be able to hold the baby soon after birth? It’s possible! However, it’s up to the expectant mother at what point the hopeful adoptive parent(s) will be able to. She may invite you into her room so you all can experience this sweet baby together or she may choose to have you hold the baby in the nursery/your room (depending on hospital accommodations).
What happens if we don’t want the baby to get vaccinated? In a typical match, the hopeful adoptive parent(s) and expectant mother have had some contact either through the phone or face-to-face over the last months of pregnancy which is when you can discuss your opinion with her. However, the expectant mother makes all of the decisions with her baby until she signs the paperwork. This means that if she sees it best to have the baby vaccinated after birth then that is her choice.
Can we name the baby? This is another conversation that should happen beforehand, if possible. If you have a name that you’ve always loved or is a family name, then you can absolutely let her know that in a respectful way. However, as with vaccinations after birth, naming the baby is ultimately her decision.
When will we be able to bring the baby home? You will be able to bring the baby home (or to the hotel to wait out ICPC if doing an out-of-state adoption) IF paperwork is signed by the mother and the baby is well enough to be discharged.