Domestic Adoption - Navigating The Hospital
The big day is here finally. You have sweated it through your home study, managed to fill out more paperwork and apply to agencies, had your profile done, said yes to at least a few situations or several, and you were matched. The day to go to the hospital is here and as an adoptive family it can be extremely intense.
Reality check you are a guest although your heart feels like it could explode because you can't contain all the emotions. So what do you do with all of that emotions on such an important day?
Here are a few tips to help you survive this crazy time:
1) Remember that some hospitals are really adoption friendly, and others just are not. They have strict protocols that have been written and most of the time anything you say or do will not change that. So be gentle with the hospital staff, but always feel free to ask away. The worst they can say is we can't tell you or no.
2) The adoption worker will do all they can for you within the parameters of the hospital guidelines. If in doubt ask them about it.
3) You are going to have huge feelings on this day. Bring a journal or paper to write them all down. Sometimes as you are struggling in the moment writing it down as a memory to keep for your child's story will be important.
4) People ask me all the time how do I support the birth family. Be flexible! If they said they wanted you in the delivery room, but then change their mind you have to be flexibe. If they wanted you to be there the whole time, but change their mind don't take offense. Keep in mind just because the birth family changes their "hospital plan" doesn't mean they are changing their mind about the adoption. It is common to get to the day and feel nervous for the birth family and for you as the adoptive family.
5) Don't let expectations take away your joy. This is a time to soak in every minute! Enjoy the feedings, the changings, they moments of I can't believe this is our child. It's also an amazing time to bond with the birth family and to really share this experience together.
6) Just a few practical tips on what to bring:
*Camera, batteries, chargers. However if your child is in a "shared" space ask what the policies are on taking pictures.
*Bring the gift for your birth family.
*Bring your picture ID as most hospitals will need a copy of this before they can let you in.
*Bring snacks and a drink or even a sandwhich becuase you may not want to put your child down to go find something to eat for a while.
*Bring that journal and pen in there as well.
*Bring a spare top. Just in case your child is a spitter.
*Don't forget to bring any last minute paperwork you needed for your agency.
From the moment they placed you in my arms you snuggled right into my heart.