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Adopting a Newborn: What to Expect at the Hospital

When parents adopt domestically, their first family gathering usually takes place at the hospital. This is the time when they meet their newborn for the first time. The hospital experience is an important part of the family’s adoption story.

What to expect at the hospitalThe day of birth is both joyful and stressful for everyone involved in the adoption process. That’s why it’s good to know what to expect. Here are some tips on how to prepare for everything that could happen.

1. Arrange things with a birthmother before the birth.

Communicate with a birthmother from the beginning of the adoption process. This is the only way to avoid surprises that may come up in the hospital. A birthmother is the one who creates a birth plan. If you want to be in the hospital during the delivery, you should talk to her, and try to arrange something that works for everyone. When it comes to open adoption, birthmothers sometimes let the adoptive parents witness the birth. Also, consider things like who would hold the baby first, or what name the birthmother is going to put on the birth certificate.

2. Prepare to travel for the delivery.

Even if you know the birthmother’s due date, it is still impossible to plan ahead since you won’t travel until she is in labor. Don’t make any travel arrangements based on a birthmother’s due date because you may end up waiting for days until the baby is born. Make sure to plan a drive route or what airport to fly into. There is also a possibility that you will arrive late to the hospital, or even miss the birth. If this happens, don’t panic, because it’s impossible to plan a birth in advance.

3. Be prepared to witness mixed feelings.

An infant adoption is not easy for a birthmother, so will likely feel emotional when you see her at the hospital. You are there to encourage her and talk through her feelings. In the hospital, the child is still the birthmother’s, so let her spend some time with the baby, and make sure she has enough space.

4. Expect the unexpected.

Communicate with a birthmother before and during the hospital stay. Be open and honest about everything because that’s the only way to set good foundations for your relationship. It is impossible that everything goes exactly the way you’ve envisioned in your mind, so go into the experience hoping for the best.

5. Trust the process.

Adoption is a beautiful process that works. Of course you would prefer to go home with your baby immediately after the birth, but this depends on laws which are different for each state. Explore everything in advance, or ask your attorney’s help.