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Adoption: When a Birth Parent Goes into Labor

This post is part of an editorial series, “The Stork Stories,” brought to you by the Fort Worth Moms Blog and Texas Health. We hope these pieces provide you with helpful information, encouragement, and answers as you prepare for baby’s arrival.

Stork stories

For many women, preparing for labor is an exciting part of the pregnancy. Much time is spent daydreaming and fantasizing about beginning the journey of motherhood. The nursery is complete, baby’s going home outfit has been purchased, and the hospital bag is packed with everything from toiletries to the music playlist. There is a sense of euphoria.

Every woman goes into labor sharing the same dream: to have a healthy child that will thrive in a home full of love and laughter. For women making an adoption plan, it is the quiet thoughts those last few weeks prior to delivery that aren’t the same: Will my child understand the intense love that is surrounding this heartbreaking decision? Will the adopting parents honor the level of openness that we have discussed? How much time should I spend with my baby in the hospital? Should the adopting parents hold her first? Will I be able to go through with the adoption plan once baby is here? Will I be able to cope with the feelings of grief and loss?

When a woman is making an adoption plan, preparing for labor can be an extremely emotional time. During this time, she must painstakingly accept that she will be delivering a child who will leave the hospital with the adopting parents and not her. Her surroundings and interactions in the hospital need to allow her to make the best decision possible for her child. Developing a hospital plan with her agency counselor is helpful in addressing what those 24-48 hours will look like in the hospital. This plan includes, but is not limited to:

  • Who will be spending time with baby?
  • How much time will they spend with baby?
  • Does she want to name the baby?
  • Does she want to see the adopting parents?
  • Who supports the adoption plan in her family and will they be there?
  • What mementos does she want from the hospital?
  • Will the birth father be involved?
  • How will she stay focused on her adoption plan?
  • What will discharge look like?

It should be noted that the hospital plan is strictly a guide for the nurses, hospital social worker, and agency counselor to support a woman through this very difficult decision. Emotions will be heightened after delivery, and it is not uncommon for a birthmother to make changes to her hospital plan. These changes may feel uncomfortable, perhaps unreasonable to the prospective adopting parents; however, it is important for everyone to be respectful of these decisions. Adopting parents will have a lifetime with this child. For a woman making an adoption plan, this is THE ONLY time that she will parent her child.  She may spend every waking hour with baby, she may want adopting parents to spend time with the baby, she may want visits in her room with the baby and the adopting parents, she may not want adopting parents at the hospital until discharge, she may breastfeed, and she might name the baby. Any involvement that the adopting parents have at the hospital will be decided upon by the birthparent.

Tears are likely to flow freely during this time and that’s okay. Making an adoption plan hurts. Letting go of something that you love so much is heartbreaking. Trusting someone with the life of your precious child is indescribably difficult. The precious gift of adoption, however, is priceless.

Hope Cottage Final LogoTo learn more about Hope Cottage, adoption, and all the services the agency provides to the community, visit its website or call 214.526.8721. You can also follow Hope Cottage on TwitterFacebookInstagramYouTube, and its blog.

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