Birth parents have a lot on their minds. Whether they choose adoption in the hospital or had made the decision prior, the uncertainty of the hospital portion of the adoption process can be daunting.
Placing a baby for adoption in a hospital typically consists of 5 basic steps:
- Make the decision. Carefully weigh your options and make sure that adoption is the right choice for you and your baby.
- Reach out to an adoption professional. Contact an adoption professional who will help them create a hospital adoption plan. The adoption plan will include things like the openness of the adoption, deciding what you’re looking for in an adoptive family, what kind of financial support you will need, etc.
- Choose the adoptive family. The adoption professional will send you profiles of prospective adoptive families, and you will be able to choose the perfect adoptive family for your baby. You also have the opportunity to get to know them, if you’d like.
- Finalize the adoption. When your baby is born, the adoptive family will travel to you as soon as possible. While not mandatory, you will have the option to interact with the adoptive parents during your hospital stay. Your adoption specialist and attorney will help you complete the adoption when you’re ready by signing the appropriate documents after the baby is born.
- Post placement. Once the placement is finalized, you will be able to maintain some degree of contact with your child and the adoptive family depending on the openness you want to have in your adoption. Post-placement contact can look like pictures, letters, phone calls, and in-person visits.
If you decide during your labor that you want to pursue a hospital adoption, you can still complete this process as quickly as you are comfortable with. When you contact an adoption agency, you can rest assured that the adoption agency and hospital staff will take care of everything.
No matter when you choose adoption — at any point during your pregnancy or once you arrive at the hospital — your adoption professional will coordinate everything for you as well as work with the hospital staff to make them aware of the adoption plan and any further arrangements.
WHAT CAN ADOPTIVE PARENTS EXPECT FROM ADOPTION at the HOSPITAL?
For prospective adoptive parents who are new to the adoption process, the hospital portion can be a bit overwhelming. While these emotions are valid, the hospital and agency staff will be there to assist.
When working with an adoption agency, the adoptive family will be able to get in touch with them 24/7 during the hospital stay if they have any questions or concerns. The adoption professional will make the appropriate hospital staff aware of the adoption, and will coordinate everything for the adoptive family.
Once the adoptive family has received the call that the baby is on the way, it’s important that they travel to the prospective birth mother’s hospital quickly, usually within 24 hours, to show the birth parent that they want to be there for the baby. To help prepare for this, it is helpful for the adoptive family to know what airports they will be utilizing, or what route they will take. Depending on the birth parent’s hospital adoption plan, you may be able to meet and interact with them during the hospital stay.
The adoptive parents will want to be sure that they are aware of any discharge instructions that the hospital provides them with. The adoptive parents will not need to worry about the birth certificate at this time. The birth parent will complete the birth certificate at the hospital. When the adoption is ready to be finalized, an amended birth certificate will be provided to the adoptive parents.
HOSPITAL ADOPTION FAQ
Where does baby stay during the hospital adoption process?
That is up to the prospective birth mother. If you are considering adoption for your baby, you can talk over this decision with your specialist and include it in your hospital plan. You may decide that you’d like the baby to stay with you in your hospital room, in the nursery or, sometimes, with the adoptive family (if the hospital is able to give them their own room). Once you’ve signed the adoption paperwork, the hospital will typically discharge the baby to the adoptive parents.
What to do if you encounter anti-adoption hospital staff?
If a birthparent finds themselves working with anti-adoption hospital staff, they should notify their adoption professional immediately. The adoption professional will then go through the appropriate channels and report the issue to the hospital and have the medical staff member removed from your case, if possible. You can also reach out to a hospital social worker as well who can work with them to resolve the issue.
As a birth parent, you always has control over the adoption process, and it is not the place of the hospital staff to prevent you from making the choice that you feel is best for you and your baby. It is highly unprofessional and adds additional stress to an already difficult situation. You deserve to feel supported at all times.
What paperwork is needed for a hospital adoption?
Before the baby can be discharged to the adoptive parents, the birth parent must complete a birth certificate application. The adoptive family will be provided with an amended version of the birth certificate when the adoption is finalized. When they are ready, the birth parent will be required to fill out adoption paperwork to legally place the baby with the adoptive family.
When you want to “give your baby up” for adoption, what do you tell the hospital?
Once a prospective birth parent has decided adoption is what is best for them and their baby, they will want to reach out to an adoption professional. The adoption professional will notify the hospital staff of the adoption, and will facilitate most of the adoption-related communications.
If you decide you want to pursue adoption after you are admitted to the hospital, you can tell the hospital, “I want to place this baby for adoption.” You can provide ask them to contact the adoption agency of your choice, or they may be able to refer you to local adoption services.
When placing a baby for adoption, do you have to give them a name before leaving the hospital?
The birth mother will not be required to name the baby at the hospital, but you can choose to name your baby if you wish. You will need to fill out the original birth certificate, where you can choose whether or not to list a name for your baby.
While you are encouraged to pick a name that is meaningful to you if you’d like, it is important to bear in mind that the adoptive family may change it later on. Some birth mothers discuss the name with the adoptive parents ahead of time and choose to list the adoptive parents’ chosen name on the birth certificate.
Your adoption professional can speak with the adoptive parents to figure out what their plans are for the baby’s name.
Can you change your mind about “giving your baby up” for adoption at the hospital?
As a prospective birth parent, you are allowed to change your mind about adoption at any time in the adoption process up until the placement is completed. Birth parents are legally entitled to their parental rights until they sign the adoption paperwork. Birth parents have complete control over their adoption process and can change their mind at the hospital.
The adoptive parents should be aware of this as well. Placing a child for adoption is an extremely selfless, but also difficult choice to make and can be accompanied by many complicated emotions, and you are completely valid in changing your mind.
If you give your baby up for adoption, how soon can you leave the hospital?
The hospital stay for the birth parent is dependent on a few factors. Most insurance plans cover a two-day hospital stay for vaginal delivery, and a four-day stay for a C-section.
The birth parent will also need to complete a birth certificate and complete the appropriate paperwork for the adoption. Once all of this has been completed, the birth parent can leave as soon as they want, providing their doctor is happy with how they are healing.
When placing a baby for adoption, do you take them home from the hospital?
In most cases, if the birth parent is placing their baby for adoption at the hospital, they will not be taking the baby home. After the appropriate documents have been signed, the baby will be discharged to the adoptive parents. If the adoptive parents cannot be at the hospital right away, the baby can stay at the hospital until the adoptive family is able to take them home.
What should you pack?
- Birth plan
- Hair ties
- Identification and insurance information
What adoptive parents should bring for the baby:
- 2-3 onesies
- Infant carrier/car seat
For the adoptive parents:
- A change of clothes
- Comfortable shoes
- Travel, adoption, and identification documentation
If you’re considering adoption at the hospital, reach out to an adoption professional now to get in touch with an adoption professional who can help you create a hospital adoption plan.