When an expectant mother goes into labor, there is anticipation, excitement, and anxiety for the expectant mother and the prospective adoptive parents. Here are 3 things you can do in advance to make things go as smoothly as possible:
- Develop a relationship with the expectant mother. The more you have communicated with her and developed trust, the easier it will be to support the expectant mother in helpful ways.
- Make a birth plan. We encourage expectant mothers to discuss the birth plan directly with the prospective adoptive family. This provides an opportunity for her to advocate for herself and for the prospective adoptive parents to support her decisions. The birth plan will include items such as:
- Who will be in the delivery room?
- Who will hold the baby first?
- Does the expectant mother want to see the baby?
- Is the expectant mother open to a counselor visiting the hospital to support her?
- Who will drive her home from the hospital?
It’s important to discuss these things early and often so that the expectant mother has agency and plenty of time to think about her decisions.
- Who will name the baby? Discussing the baby’s name is another opportunity to bond with the birth mother. Sometimes the adoptive family picks the first name, and the birth mother picks the middle name. Sometimes the baby’s middle name is the birth mother’s middle name. There are infinite possibilities to honor the birth family in the child’s name. We have even seen the name reflect the city the birth mother lived in when she was pregnant. The important part is the conversation because it will lead to laughter and tears and all the human emotions that can be shared discussing something so meaningful and personal.
Leaving the hospital empty handed after carrying a child for nine months is incredibly difficult. Even birth mothers who are 100% confident in their decision to place the child with the prospective adoptive parents feel significant grief and loss. The Adoption Law Center encourages expectant mothers to accept adoption counseling early and often! It is so helpful to have that support after the birth when a rapport has already been established with a counselor. Social workers can connect the birth mother to resources that will enable her to accomplish her goals.
Hospitals usually do their best to accommodate everyone. If they have an extra room available, it will be offered to the prospective adoptive parents. They are sometimes even able to honor preferences regarding where the room is located. For example, a birth mother may prefer to be on a floor other than labor and delivery.
Birth mothers are often asked to sign forms at the hospital, such as a Power of Attorney, which allows the prospective adoptive parents to care for the baby, make medical decisions, and access medical records. Some hospital will request that the birth mother also sign a release of liability. The Adoption Law Center will contact the hospital social worker prior to the birth to inform them of the situation and obtain any required forms.
At the Adoption Law Center, we’ll walk you through the whole process to make it as stress-free as possible. Contact us today! 615-543-8640 or [email protected]