For placing parents, planning the hospital adoption experience is important. It’s when it’s most essential to be thinking for two– for you and for your baby. (Not for your boyfriend or babydaddy. Not for the people who hope to adopt. Not for your crazy aunt who insists she should be be the first to hold your baby.)
This is You Time, mama. What happens in the hospital is about you and your baby, first and foremost. Regardless of whomever the baby may eventually leave the hospital with, and no matter who’s gets to be in the delivery room with you, these first few days are yours, so it’s essential for both you and your baby for everyone around you to remember this.
Your Rights in the Hospital Adoption Experience
Whether you have already got an adoption plan in place or if you’re just going to call Abrazo to make placement plans in the hospital, if you’re choosing adoption, you’ve got some important options to consider:
- It’s your right to decide who should get to adopt the baby. All of Abrazo’s waiting couples have documented infertility, are committed to open adoption, and have fully-approved background checks and homestudies done.
- You get to choose who you want to have in Labor & Delivery with you, in accordance with hospital policies. (You can also opt to be “on blackout” at the hospital if you don’t want anyone to be able to call the hospital and find out you’re there.)
- You can spend however much time with your baby as you wish. Our agency encourages placing moms to enjoy quality time with their child and not to have an adopting family “room in” with your child until after legal work is done, for everyone’s protection, but especially because that newborn is truly only responsive to the biological mother in the first days following birth. Your baby recognizes the sound of your voice and the smell of your body, so remember that it’s your presence that offers physiological comfort to your child, whether or not adoption is going to ultimately be the choice you make.
- It’s your right to put whatever name you choose on your baby’s original birth certificate. Regardless of whatever name an adopting family plans to give their child, only the baby’s first mother can pick what name she wants to put on the very first birth record at the hospital and that should include your last name, unless you have a husband or birthfather there at the hospital to sign the birth record as well and you’ve agreed to give the baby his last name on that original birth certificate. (P.S. if you want a copy, be sure you order one or ask the agency to, before the record gets sealed by the courts.)
- You should always be treated with dignity and respect by the hospital staff. Sometimes, you may encounter a medical professional with their own opinions about adoption, but nobody should judge you for your choices. Report any violations to the charge nurse and the hospital administration, including if any hospital staff try to arrange a private adoption– that’s a serious ethical infraction.
Making a Birthplan: How It Helps
Expectant moms who have already been working with ethical adoption adoption professionals usually go into the hospital with a “birth plan” already in place. What that means is that a counselor or caseworker has talked with them about how labor & delivery is usually handled and reviewed options with them about how they want the adoption arrangements to unfold:
Do you want to breastfeed? Do you want circumcision to be done in the hospital, if your baby is a boy? Do you want to be given all the same birth mementoes that any other parent receives? Do you want the baby to room in with you, or be cared for in the nursery? Would you want the adopting parents to visit you in the hospital, or would you prefer that they stay away until after your decision is made? If adoption is the right choice for you, do you want to complete the legal paperwork while you’re still in the hospital, or do it outside the hospital after your discharge? Do you want to consult with an attorney about your legal rights before signing agency adoption papers? Is having the hospital chaplain visit you something that would give you comfort? (The hospital social worker will probably check in on you, too, just to be sure you have all the support you need.)
Right? Wrong? Not Sure? Take Your Time.
If you are confident that adoption is the right choice for your child’s future, Abrazo can help you plan the hospital adoption experience that enables your baby to go straight home from the hospital with the adoptive parents you have chosen through our agency. Our staff will come to whatever Texas hospital you’re at, on your request, to complete your adoption decision when your baby is at least 48 hours old. There’s no “grace period” to reclaim custody in Texas placements involving licensed adoption agencies, though. So you want to be very certain before you make that decision.
(But if you’re not sure about adoption and you need more time, definitely don’t sign any legal papers in the hospital. You could have Abrazo’s licensed cradle care family watch the baby for you while you consider all your options, or you can always take the baby home with you and see if maybe you are ready to parent him or her yourself. Adoption is a permanent solution which isn’t a good fit if you’re only facing a temporary problem.)
Whether you move forward with the hospital adoption experience or not, be sure that you are being true to your own needs and your hopes for your child’s future, and let Abrazo know if we can help in any way, day or night.