We are matched with a birth mother and looking for some advice on what to do at the hospital. The expectant mother says she wants us there but we don’t want it to be uncomfortable. Do you have any suggestions?
So happy to hear that the mother you are matched with wants you at the hospital! That shows that you have a good relationship, which is a solid foundation to an open adoption. Here are my suggestions for that time:
Ask Her Questions
If you don’t know what “Can you be at the hospital?” entails, ask her! It can be as simple as “Of course we will be at the hospital. We are happy to support you in any way we can. What do you have in mind? Where do you want us to be?”
Let her speak to what makes her feel comfortable, knowing that things can change. Keep in mind your husband’s feelings as well. It may be awkward for him to be in the delivery room while a stranger is in labor, and that’s okay. It may be awkward for the birth mother too. Let her share what she wants, and then evaluate on your own what you each are comfortable doing.
Don’t Leave the Hospital
Stay there, don’t run out for coffee or dinner. If you were having a baby, you wouldn’t leave. Your husband might run down the street to pick you something up, and he can do it here too, but stay. When you are both gone, that gives the hospital staff opportunities to say things to the birth mother like “You don’t really have to do adoption,” which has happened in the past. You want to demonstrate that you are devoted parents who are there for the long haul!
Many hospitals will offer you a private room with the baby when they learn of the adoption plan. Don’t be afraid to ask, or see if your attorney can ask for you.
Pack Only What You Need
It sounds like you will have time to prepare things that you will need there, but don’t go overboard. Medication, basic toiletries, phone charger, change of clothes, baby clothes, car seat and diaper bag are the essentials. You can always leave more in the trunk of your car if needed, but don’t make it seem like you are moving in.
If one of you has to run out for supplies you forgot, the other can stay put at the hospital. Remember most towns have a Wal-mart or Target where anything you forgot can be picked up.
Remember Cautious Optimism
Enjoy this time, but remember to always keep a little piece of your heart back. Until she signs the papers, the baby is hers, and she has every right to see, hold, nurse, photograph, and even name the baby. Be happy, be involved, but keep this in mind. If she changes her mind, it is her right to do so, and you need to be prepared just in case. Don’t keep asking her “Are you sure?”, but just show her the sincere care and concern for her that you have.
Prepare as much with your attorneys and home study professionals as possible, so when the day comes you have an idea of what to expect and can join the birth mother at the hospital with a hopeful heart and caring spirit.