For a birthmother, the time in the hospital is the most integral part of the adoption planning process. Agencies will advise a mother who has chosen adoption to make a plan on what she intends to get out of the hospital, and what she wants before the relinquishment papers are signed. However, this process can be a great way for a woman to figure out what is really most important to her as she plans ahead.
When thinking of the time in the hospital, remember that the time is yours solely. You can even make your own birth plan with ideas on what you do and don't want in terms of birthing interventions, and who you wish to have in the delivery room. Find out ahead of time if your hospital has policies on the number of people in the room, as this can make a decision about who will help you during your labor much easier. Often with adoption plans, the birthing experience is completely forgotten. Do you want an epidural? Do you want to birth in water? Is that possible in your facility? Do you want to cut the cord yourself? What about skin to skin bonding, or breastfeeding? Taking these things into consideration can make the birthing process a much easier one for those who are walking into labor with a lot of unknowns.
Some women choose to have the adoptive parents in the room, but this is not a necessity, and since the birth should be strictly about you and the child, it can be argued that it may be a distraction. Make the best choice based on your comfort level. Again, the birth should be about having support there for the mother.
In terms of an adoption plan while in the hospital, you can decide things like if you want a private room, do you want visitors, and who specifically? You may also be able to decide how long you wish to have with the baby before you sign any relinquishment papers. Ask these sorts of questions before going into the hospital, as many will be accommodated based on the situation. There is no rush to hand the baby over to the adoptive family, as this is your time to bond and get to know the infant that you have already formed a relationship with. You can be as open with your time in the hospital or as closed off as you wish to be- it's really up to you.
Get your needs written down on paper and give them to any important players in the hospital stay. Think about the kinds of needs you may have after your birth- is there someone you want to stay with you to help if there is no nursery available for your baby to go to? Make these arrangements and be prepared in advance.
Most importantly though, this is not a contract, and should you change your mind during the hospital visit, at any time, you are more than welcome to. It helps to be prepared, but when the events transpire, your feelings and needs may change drastically. Make sure that those who have your adoption plan are aware of the need for flexibility and that you are in control of the situation. There is absolutely nothing wrong with changing your mind if you feel that you should.
The idea behind a hospital plan is so that you have some sense of how you would like things to go, and it's also integral to note that not everything will go as you planned. Like it was stated before, be flexible with this, and do your best to reform the days that you have in the hospital as the best possible time you can have with your child before relinquishment.
Credits: Danielle Barnsley-Cervo
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Note: Our authors are dedicated to honest, engaged, informed, intelligent, and open conversation about adoption. The opinions expressed here may not reflect the views of Adoption.com.