Preparing for the Hospital
Adopting a newborn is an exciting adventure. There is so much to prepare for with a new baby on the way. Parents must make sure the nursery is fully equipped, they have enough time away from work and that they have completed all of the appropriate new parent readiness courses. Another area that adoptive parents must prepare for is their time at the hospital.
Some birth moms prefer to go through labor and delivery on their own. Many more find the support of the adoptive parents eases their hearts and minds. Whether an adoptive couple spends their time at the hospital in the delivery room or the waiting room, they should be prepared, both physically and mentally.
Preparation begins with communication. Birth moms and adoptive parents should know exactly what each expects from the other. The adoption agreement should outline exactly how the hospital process should proceed, but the families should personally discuss the matter as well. Parents need to ask the birth mom what would help her to be most comfortable, and they should respect her choices. Though she is giving birth to their child, it is very emotionally and physically demanding to give birth to a child. If the birth mom prefers the adoptive parents to give her some space, they should strive to do so.
Adoptive parents should also speak with the hospital staff and caregivers. They may wish to attend a tour of the labor and delivery area, which is common for expecting parents. They should make the situation known to the hospital staff, which is certain to accommodate these special needs. Adoptive parents should also advocate for the birth mom. They should make sure she receives all of the care she deserves before, during and after childbirth.
Being mentally prepared is important, but what about physical preparedness? The adoptive parents must have items ready for the baby. Among the most important are clothing and a safely installed car seat. The parents should also prepare for themselves. While some women labor only a short while before the baby is born, childbirth can take a very long time. Parents should pack “go bags” for themselves that include toiletries, snacks and even a change of clothes.
Many first time parents look for guidance in selecting baby gear, learning about diapering and feeding, preparing for the out-of-state wait or the time period that the birth mother may have to change her mind. Classes are available locally in larger communities that can help with this, however many parents are now looking to online learning resources to help them prepare to be new parents. One program, New Parents Academy*, has created an online course for families who want to ensure they are “baby ready”. This course covers a wide variety of topics and is geared specifically for new adoptive parents and includes a completion certificate that you can use for home study education.
Lastly, adoptive parents should remember to bring a gift for the birth mom. She will be leaving the hospital without the child she has been carrying for the last nine months. It will be a lonely time for her, even though she knows she has made the right choice. A soft robe, a photo album or even some nice magazines can go a long way toward helping her heart to heal. However, adoptive parents should be mindful to check with their adoption agencies or attorneys about the appropriateness of gifts. Some agreements do not allow gifts of any kind, no matter how small. If this is the case, a card with some lovely words of thanks may be in order.
* This link is an affiliate link. This means if you click through and make a purchase, the non-profit, Lifetime Adoption Foundation will get a portion of the proceeds. The foundation supports educational scholarships for birth mothers.
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