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Of all the steps involved in a domestic infant adoption, the adoption hospital stay can be the most nerve-wracking and emotional.

For a birth mother, there is of course the difficulty of labor but also the emotional loss associated with potentially holding her baby for the last time. For the adopting family, this is the first time they will meet their child. Waiting to hold, kiss and see a baby for the first time is a mix of excitement and nerves that many find hard to adequately describe.

If you are a family considering adoption, what to expect at the hospital can be hard to understand.  You may even be wondering how to adopt a child from the hospital or what the adoption process in a hospital is like.

Every adoption hospital stay will look different depending on your unique situation. However, there are some important things you should know that will help you prepare for adoption in the hospital.

The Adoption Hospital Plan

In the vast majority of domestic infant adoptions, the prospective birth mother is in charge of the adoption hospital plan. She will work together with an adoption professional early on the process to set the guidelines for how this time will go, including things like her contact with the adoptive family and with the baby.

As an adoptive parent, you need to understand how very important it is to be respectful of this plan. Any prospective birth mother can experience a wide range of emotions when it comes time to go to the hospital. Offering her all of the support and encouragement you are able to will make the adoption hospital stay a better experience for everyone.

Adoption Process in Hospital

The specific details of an adoption hospital birth plan will look different in every situation. While it’s impossible to say exactly what will happen at the hospital for your adoption, there are some things you can generally expect to occur.

First off, you will receive a phone call from your adoption professional letting you know that it is time to travel to the hospital. It is recommended that you don’t make any travel arrangements prior to this call (even if you know a prospective birth mother’s due date) because it can be so difficult to know when the birth will actually take place. Before you get to this point, your adoption attorney will have already worked with the hospital to inform them of the adoption.

At the hospital, you will most likely receive wristbands that allow you to move around freely. Depending on the level of openness in the potential birth mother’s adoption hospital plan, you may spend time with her in the birthing suite, or you may wait in another area of the hospital.

The adoption hospital plan will also include guidelines for after delivery, like how soon the adoptive family will be able to see the baby. Any birth mother may, understandably, want a little time alone with her baby to cherish him or her and say goodbye before placement. Even though you will be incredibly eager to hold your baby for the first time, respecting this requested time is important.

After this time has passed, your baby will finally be placed with you. This is an incredible, life-changing experience. It is the beginning of parenthood, and you will never be the same. After placement and discharge, you will leave the hospital with your baby.

Closed Adoptions

The majority of domestic infant adoptions today are at least semi-open, meaning there is some level of facilitated contact pre-placement and post-placement between the adoptive family and prospective birth mother. However, there is a chance you will participate in a closed adoption, where there is no contact. In this case, your adoption hospital stay will look different, as you will not have any interaction with the potential birth mother. Every step of this process will be managed by your adoption professionals, including your attorney and social worker.

Pop-up Adoptions

One other possibility of how to adopt a baby in the hospital is through something called a “pop-up adoption.” This happens when a prospective birth mother chooses adoption late into her pregnancy, and you may contacted about an adoption opportunity when the baby is only days away from being born — or has already been born.

The first step in a pop-up adoption is to take a deep breath. Stay calm, make sure you are in contact with your adoption attorney, and be excited to meet your new baby. Even though the steps of the process will be accelerated, the adoption process in the hospital is similar in a pop-up adoption to that in any other adoption. Stay flexible and respectful, and things will work out.

Help From a Professional

Regardless of which type of adoption you are participating in, or whether or not it is a pop-up adoption, help from an adoption professional can make the adoption hospital stay much smoother. Attorney Ken Nelson and the team at the Nelson Law Firm have worked with hundreds of families who are adopting, and you can contact Ken today to learn more about how he can represent you during the adoption hospital process and the rest of your family-building journey.

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