Before The Birth
It is important for the Birth Mother to select a hospital near her where she plans on delivering the baby. Once she has selected a hospital, it is important that your adoption professional contacts the social worker at that particular hospital to inform them of the adoption plan and get them on board. The staff social worker assigned to the labor and delivery department will most likely be your primary contact at the hospital. The hospital staff social worker is the person who informs the nursing staff of the adoption so that your adoption plan with your Birth Mother goes as intended. If you would like to stay at the hospital following the birth, ask the hospital social worker in advance whether something can be arranged.
The hospital adoption procedure can vary from hospital to hospital. Ask your adoption professional to request any written instructions the hospital may have for their particular procedures. Review the hospital’s written policy carefully, so there are no surprises on the big day.
You and the Birth Mother should go into detail (either with each other or through your adoption professional) about what kind of contact you all agree to during the hospital experience. For example, you should discuss who can accompany the Birth Mother into the delivery room, how long does she want to stay in the maternity ward after delivery, and how much contact does she want to have with you and the baby.
Make sure that any necessary forms have been completed by you and the Birth Mother regarding your access to the baby in the nursery and to medical records. These forms can be requested by the your adoption professional.
At The Hospital
When you get to the hospital on the big day, you should receive ID wristbands or badges that grant you access to the baby. This should allow you to have access to the maternity ward, to see the Birth Mother (in accordance to your pre-discussed adoption plan) and to see your baby in the nursery.
Once the baby is born, you should receive all of his/her medical records if the Birth Mother has signed a valid medical release form. Be prepared to provide your insurance information so your baby’s medical bills can be submitted properly.
Depending on which state the baby is born in, the Birth Parents may sign the adoption consent forms and legally relinquish their parental rights at the hospital. Please ensure that your adoption professional coordinates this with the hospital social worker.
Usually, the Birth Parents are asked by the hospital staff to fill out an application form for a birth certificate, entering a first and middle name for the baby either of her choosing or a name previously agreed upon between you and the Birth Parent(s). After the adoption is finalized (which usually occurs 3-12 months after the birth), the original birth certificate will be sealed and a new one will be created to reflect the full name of the baby given by you.
Well before the due date, the baby’s discharge plan should be discussed and understood. Most hospitals will allow to discharge the baby directly to the Adoptive Parents or to an adoption agency involved. Some states require Adopting Parents to obtain temporary legal custody of the baby before taking physical custody. In that case, the Adopting Parents are required to get a court order while the baby is in the hospital, which must be presented to the hospital before discharge.
The adoption hospital experience is unique moment in the Adoptive Parents’ and Birth Parents’ lives. To ensure a smooth and beautiful experience, make sure to plan ahead carefully and allow for flexibility as things may come up.