Saying goodbye at the hospital can be considered the most emotional part of the adoption process. While in a closed adoption the birth mother may not get to spend any time with the baby at the hospital, open adoptions are likely to involve the birth mother caring for and spending time with the baby before the final goodbye.
Both birth parents and adoptive parents are going to be feeling strong emotions at this point in the adoption journey, so it is important to have an adoption plan in place to help prepare everyone for the event.
Creating the Adoption Hospital Plan
Creating an adoption plan helps to reassure both birth parents and adoptive parents by setting expectations. The hospital plan is ultimately up to the birth mother, but she can include the adoptive parents and consult them on decisions as much as she would like. Birth mothers can also work with an adoption counselor or adoption agency to help create a hospital plan.
Some things for the birth mother to consider when creating an adoption hospital plan include:
Decide how you want to say “goodbye.” The goodbye typically happens at the hospital, although in some cases the birth mother may get to take the child home for a period of time before finalizing the adoption. Some birth mothers prefer a quiet goodbye, while others may want a video or placement ceremony when she hands over the baby to the adoptive parents. The birth mother can choose to give the baby to the adoptive parents herself, or have a third party do it for her.
Tour and talk to hospitals. The birth mother gets to decide where she wants to deliver the baby. She should try to tour any hospitals she is interested in, and may want to ask how they handle adoption cases, because not all hospitals are going to be sensitive to the situation.
Send your adoption plan to the hospital. This includes your birth plan, as well as any information specific to the adoption, such as whether or not you want the adoptive parents involved or present at that birth.
Tips for at the Hospital During the Adoption Process
The birth of the child, the final goodbye with the birth mother, and all of the events between can be extremely emotional. To help you manage through this part of the adoption process, consider the following tips:
Be flexible. This is the last chance for the birth mother to change her mind, so try to go to the hospital with an open mind.
Remember the “goodbye” is not always a “goodbye forever.” If it is an open adoption, then there may be a lifetime of moments to share with each other.
Work extra hard to ensure good, effective communication. Strong emotions can lead to more misunderstandings.
Give the hospital feedback. Not all hospitals have experience with handling adoption cases in the delivery room. Make sure the staff knows how you think they handled the situation and whether or not there are areas you think they could improve.