The adoption process can feel drawn out, with a rollercoaster of emotions along the way. In the case of newborn adoption, it all culminates that one exciting long-awaited day at the hospital.
Adopting parents often don’t know what to expect, especially if this is their first time adopting a baby. Everyone’s experience will be different, but there are some things that you can count on.
Attempting to Plan
Unless the birthmother is scheduled for a C-section delivery, it is incredibly difficult to plan for a birth. While you probably are very eager to book your plane tickets or solidify your road trip itinerary for the day of the delivery, chances are that you may not be able to get it just right. Many adoptive parents miss the birth altogether. It is totally normal and nothing to feel bad about. The delivery itself can be a tumultuous time for the birthmother. It is stressful on many levels, so it likely won’t be the picture-perfect introduction to your newborn that you had envisioned. Remember that if you are absolutely committed to making it to the birth and travel far ahead of the expected due date, you may end up waiting several days or more for this to happen.
Expecting the Unexpected
In the same way that it is tough to plan, it is also tough to know how it will go. Communicate with the birthmother in advance about this day so that you both have an idea of what everyone wants to happen, but expect potential changes at the last second. These could be related to anything, from timing of the delivery, to actual complications with the birth, to how long your baby needs to stay at the hospital. If you have agreed on details like who will hold the baby first or when you will take your baby home, these could always change at the hospital. Just be flexible, open, and don’t expect the process to go exactly as you imagined.
The Emotional Impact
Just as you should be flexible with your planning and with the events of the day, it is critical that you also be flexible with your feelings. Newborn adoption is an emotional time for everyone involved. Both the birthmother and the adoptive parents are going to experience a very wide range of different feelings at this time and many of them may be surprising. While you may expect nothing but joy, extreme bouts of other feelings including fear can also come into play. The birthmother’s emotions can also change rapidly during this time. Again, expect the unexpected and remember that this is all very normal.
It is notoriously complicated to create a schedule or a plan around an event that has no set time and date. As hard as doctors may try to calculate the anticipated moment of birth, this is a natural process and it is not imperative that you be there for it. Don’t stress yourself out right before you meet your newborn.
Remember that it is essential to have a strong support network throughout the adoption process. Most adoptive parents need this more than ever around the time of the delivery. This is when all your hard work and heartfelt excitement becomes tangible and real. The emotions can be overwhelming at times. Keep in mind that this is all normal and don’t be afraid to seek out support whenever needed.