Archive for July, 2017

Adopting a Newborn from the Hospital? What to Expect & How to Prepare for Your First Hospital Adoption Experience

The adoption process is a highly-anticipated and hopeful journey for waiting parents – if you are here, you have come a long way. You have made the decision to grow your family through adoption, you have gone through the home study process, you have been matched (and maybe have gotten to know) an expectant mother, and now, the time is here. Her due date is just around the corner, and you are getting prepared to bring your baby back to his or her forever home.

The trip to the hospital is perhaps the most anticipated event in a waiting family’s adoption journey. And once you are there, you will also find it to be one of the most intense and emotional experiences yet. As the prospective parent(s), you will be overwhelmed with joy and excitement, but also may face some underlying anxieties as you await your baby. You may worry about how you will be treated by the hospital staff, or about how the birth mother might feel after giving birth.

If you are adopting a newborn from the hospital, it can be very helpful to discuss a hospital plan with the expectant parents and an adoption professional prior to the delivery day. Together, you can discuss your wishes as well as hear and understand those of the expectant mother. From who will hold the baby first, to who will be in the delivery room, the details will be outlined in an adoption hospital plan. Ultimately, this is the expectant mother’s birthing plan – but by establishing an open and trusting relationship with her from the beginning, you may find yourself intimately involved with the pregnancy, labor, and birth.

Having this discussion before the baby’s birth can help ease any anxieties you may be experiencing, as well as better prepare you (mentally, emotionally, and physically) for this day. By planning ahead, you can also put more time and energy into what is most important: welcoming your baby into this world.

To help you navigate the hospital experience, Adoptions With Love has put together some tips for hopeful families adopting a newborn from the hospital. These are designed to help you prepare for the trip the hospital, the labor and delivery day, as well as this stage of the adoption process. Most notably, they will help you make the most of your time in the hospital with your baby’s birth mother.

Before the Birth:

  • Do not make set-in-place travel plans. Pregnancy is often unpredictable – only five percent of women actually give birth on their expected due dates. For this reason, we recommend that adoptive parents wait to make travel plans. As soon as the expectant mother goes into labor, she or the adoption agency will notify you that it is time to arrange for travel.
  • Pack some items to accommodate the baby. Bring some basic items to accommodate the baby after he or she is born: one or two receiving blankets, a set of bottles and pacifiers, as well as some onesies and a baby outfit for going home. These are easy, packable items that will be good to have following the birth of your baby. Having a car seat is also very important. Items such as a pack and play, diapers, and formula are can be purchased once you leave the hospital and the adoption papers have been signed.
  • Bring a gift for the birth mother and/or birth father. Bringing something special for the birth mother will show that you are thinking about her during this time. You may choose to bring some flowers or food. A lovely gift that they will have over time is very appropriate. Check with your adoption agency social worker to ensure gifts (and which gifts) are acceptable in the state.

At the Hospital:

  • Understand the hospital’s adoption policies, as well as the birth mother’s wishes. The expectant/birth mother has likely already made a hospital plan, detailing who she wants in the delivery room, how she will give birth, and where she will be staying after the baby is born. She may also have some plan for your stay, too. She may want to meet you in person, or have you be a part of the labor and delivery process. She may want you to spend time with the baby in her room. She may even want the baby to sleep in your room during your hospital stay.
    • The hospital may also have additional policies for your stay – if you will have your own hospital room, if you may have access to the baby’s medical information, and if you can move freely throughout the maternity ward and nursery. Be sure to understand these policies and fill out any paperwork as needed upon arrival, to ensure you make the most out of your hospital stay.
  • Be sensitive to the birth mother’s needs. As overjoyed as you are to enter parenthood, it is important to remember that the hospital experience is primarily about the baby and his or her birth mom. While in the hospital, be sure to check in on her and ensure she is comfortable. Ask how things are going, but also leave her space and time alone with the baby if she requests. Many birth mothers regret not having enough time alone with their baby before the adoption and carry that grief with them. Remember that you will have plenty of time with the baby when you get home.
  • Remain flexible and keep an open mind. Remember to stay flexible throughout this whole process, as a hospital plan (and the expectant mother’s wishes) may change at any time. For example, an expectant mother may first feel she does not want adoptive parents in the delivery room, but upon getting to know you, decide it is in everyone’s best interest. In the beginning, she may not want to see or hold her baby, but upon giving birth, desire some alone time with the baby in the hospital. Always be open to change, as this process is truly unpredictable.

Leaving the Hospital:

  • Understand the legal papers. Every state has different laws stating when an expectant mother can consent to adoption. In every state, no papers can be signed until after the baby is born. In most states, written consent can be granted between 12 and 72 hours after birth.
  • Be prepared for an emotional experience. Adoption is full of mixed emotions. As much joy and excitement it involves, there is also grief and goodbyes. Making an adoption plan is one of the most difficult decisions a woman can make for her child – be sensitive to her emotions and offer her a safe place to share those feelings with you or an adoption counselor. At the same time, remember that this grief is normal and you should never feel guilty for your own joy. Your happiness will ease her pain – she wants this for you and the child.
    • Before you leave, be sure to talk to the birth mother about your plans for the next few months. It will be assuring for her to know that she will hear from you after the adoption, and through letters and pictures, see how happy and well the baby is.
  • Be prepared to stick around. If you are adopting a newborn from another state, you will be required to stay in that state for some time after the baby’s birth. Typically, the ICPC clearance is around 7-10 business days. After that, you will be ready to bring your baby home.

If you would like to learn more about adopting a newborn from the hospital, or if you would like to start your own adoption journey in Massachusetts, please do not hesitate to call Adoptions With Love at 1-800-722-7731.

Yankees’ Rookie & MLB All-Star Aaron Judge is Adopted

aaron judge adoption storyThe new face of baseball. Record-setting rookie. HomeRun Derby king. These are just some of the many titles MLB fans and players have given the Yankees’ new All-Star player, Aaron Judge. At just 25-years-old, Aaron Judge has already become a household name in the sports arena. If you follow major league baseball, you have undoubtedly heard of Aaron Judge before.

Not only did he win his first-ever MLB Home Run Derby earlier this month, but Judge has also won the hearts of many baseball fans nationwide. Even some Massachusetts fans were excited to see what Aaron Judge could bring to the table in this past weekend’s games against the Boston Red Sox.

Talent and strength may be a driving force behind Judge’s swing, but passion, humility, respect, and a team-first attitude are at the heart of this player’s performance. That is why so many people love him. Despite his fast-coming fame, Aaron Judge is not one to brag about his success. “I’m just trying to be the best Judge I can be, every day,” he explained to the New York Post. “I’ve always been about the team aspect of baseball, pass the baton and keep it rolling.”

Talented and respectful, the Yankees’ VP of scouting calls Judge the “super package.” And Aaron Judge truly is, giving most of the credit to his parents, Wayne and Patty Judge, two retired physical education teachers from California. While they did not exactly give him his 6-foot-7, 275-lb stature, they did teach Aaron how to be a devoted, hardworking, respectful man from day one.

Judge professed to the New York Post, “My parents are amazing, they’ve taught me so many lessons. I honestly can’t thank them enough for what they’ve done for me.” Of his bond with his mom and dad, he proudly stated, “I’m blessed.”

Aaron’s mother Patty says that it is actually her and her husband who are truly blessed, having adopted two wonderful sons and having been able to watch them grow into such successful individuals.

You may have heard of Aaron Judge before, but did you know that he was also adopted? Patty and Wayne Judge adopted Aaron as a newborn, on the second day of his life in April 1992. Judge’s parents call that day a miracle, and this baseball star agrees. He told The Post, “I feel they kind of picked me… that God was the one that matched us together.”

Aaron Judge has a closed adoption, meaning he does not (and never has) had any contact with his biological parents. He claims that he has never wanted to, either. In a Newsday interview, Judge simply stated, “I have one set of parents, the ones that raised me. That’s how it is.”

His feelings towards his adoption have always been to this degree—he did not feel the need to learn all the details about his family history or search for his birth parents. He had some questions about his adoption when he was around ten years old, explaining that the conversation went something like this:

“I don’t look like you, Mom. I don’t look like you, Dad. Like, what’s going on here?” Judge explained to, “They just kind of told me I was adopted. I was like, ‘OK, that’s fine with me.’ You’re still my mom, the only mom I know. You’re still my dad, the only dad I know.”

Of course, not all children who were adopted feel this way about their adoption story. In order to develop a sense of identity, find meaning in their lives, or fill in some missing pieces, many adoptees seek out information regarding their biology. This is completely normal. If you are an adoptive parent, welcome your child to ask questions. Give them the answers you can, in an age-appropriate fashion. Be open and flexible to your child’s needs as he or she grows. Remember that, in the end, you are his or her parents. Your child knows this, and will always love you for it.

Aaron Judge put it perfectly when he told Newsday, “Some kids grow in their mom’s stomach; I grew in my mom’s heart… She’s always showed me love and compassion ever since I was a little baby.” For this reason, he explains, “I’ve never needed to think differently or wonder about anything.”

Still, Aaron Judge feels for the thousands of adoptees out there who may feel alone or incomplete; those who have lingering, unanswered questions; those who are afraid to offend their adoptive parents. For them, he advises, “Be open, talk to their [adoptive] parents about the situation, [learn] what happened, maybe get some answers about it.”

As an open adoption agency, Adoptions With Love could not agree more. Even if the adoption is closed, talking about adoption is an extremely important step for a child. Not only does it help the child’s sense of identity, it also makes way for an open, trusting relationship between the child and their parents. Having adoption conversions can also help a child accept and grow proud of his or her adoption story, which is very central for a positive adoption experience.

Whether you are an adoptive parent, birth parent, or an adoptee, know that you are not alone. Millions of people have been touched by adoption in some way – including famous athletes like Aaron Judge. If you would ever like to talk about adoption in a safe and confidential space, or simply learn more about the positive act of adoption, you can always call Adoptions With Love toll-free at 1-800-722-7731 or text us at 617-777-0072.

You can also learn more about the experience of adopted persons by downloading our free eBook here.

Making an Adoption Hospital Plan for Pregnancy & Delivery

The adoption journey can be very emotional; especially as your due date approaches and you begin to prepare for the birth of your baby. As excited as you are to welcome your son or daughter into this world, you may also be feeling some sadness or grief in anticipation of the day. All the while, you may be feeling scared or nervous about how labor, delivery, and your overall hospital stay will go.

Many expectant mothers worry about how they will feel, how they will be treated, and how they will cope during their hospital time. Some women wonder if they will have time alone with their baby after birth, if they can feed or bond with their baby in the hospital, and whether they want the adoptive parents there in the delivery room.

While it is common to worry about the hospital experience, you do not have to; an Adoptions With Love social worker can help you create an “adoption hospital plan” to ensure you are comfortable at every point of your hospital stay – in labor, during delivery, and after giving birth to your baby. By making a hospital plan, you can rest assured all your needs will be met during your hospital stay.

What is an Adoption Hospital Plan?

For those who may not know, an adoption hospital plan is a document that details exactly what you, the expectant mother, wants to happen (and not to happen) during your hospital stay. This plan is typically created before going into labor, to help give you peace of mind and prepare mentally for the delivery and adoption process. As you approach your due date, it can help to have a birthing plan in writing.

Your hospital plan can be thought of as your letter to the hospital staff, to the adoptive family, and to your adoption agency. It will detail exactly what you want your hospital stay to look like, including who will be there, how you will give birth, how much time you want with your baby, and which mementos (if any) you would like to bring home. By planning ahead, you can make your wishes known and ensure they are met prior to birth. You can also devote more thought and energy to your time with the baby.

Adoptions With Love can help you create an adoption hospital plan that meets all of your hopes and needs. If you have not already, we can also help you find and choose the right hospital to give birth – a facility with reputable, compassionate staff who understand your emotional and physical needs. Adoptions With Love is here to ensure you feel confident and comfortable at each and every phase of your adoption plan – during your pregnancy, in the hospital, and long after you have given birth.

Things to Consider When Making a Hospital Plan

Before making a hospital plan for pregnancy and delivery, there are several questions you must ask yourself. Try to be open and honest with your answers – the hospital experience will be emotional, but sharing your wants and needs with others now can give you greater control in all that lies ahead.

Your Labor & Delivery:

  • Who would you like to be your labor coach?
  • Who do you want to be allowed in the labor and delivery room? Who is not allowed to be in there with you?
  • Do you want the adoptive family at the hospital with you, in the delivery room or in the waiting area? If you have an open relationship with the prospective adoptive family, you might consider having them in the birthing room. This can help them bond with your child from the beginning, but is completely your choice.
  • At birth, who do you want to hold the baby first? (It can be you.)
  • Who (if allowed) do you want to cut the baby’s cord?

Your Baby:

  • Do you want to see or hold your baby?
  • Do you want to feed and/or change your baby?
  • How much time do you want to spend with your baby? Do you want alone time?
  • Do you want your baby to be in the room with you following birth? Do you want your baby to sleep in your room, or in the hospital nursery?
  • Will you name your baby, leave this to the adoptive family, or choose a name together?
  • Which, if any, mementos do you want to bring home from the hospital (baby bracelet, nursery card, copy of birth certificate and footprints, blanket, etc.)? Which would you like to pass onto the adoptive family?
  • Do you wish to take pictures of your baby? Is it okay if others take photos?

Your Hospital Stay:

  • Do you wish to be a “no information” patient? This means you will remain anonymous during your hospital stay, and only the direct care team will have access to your personal information.
  • After birth, do you wish to stay on the maternity ward, or another floor of the hospital?
  • Do you wish to see and meet the adoptive parents? Would you like to see them together with your baby in your room?
  • Who do you want to visit you in the hospital? Is there anyone (e.g. family, friends, the biological father) you wish to see or hold the baby?
  • Is there anyone you do not want allowed to visit you?
  • How do you wish to leave the hospital—before or after the adoptive family?
  • Who do you wish to carry your baby out of the hospital?

Remember, you are in the driver’s seat of your adoption plan as well as your hospital plan. You should never feel pressured to please anyone (including the adoptive parents) or obligated to make a certain decision. This is your plan and your choice. We are here to help you navigate the process.

Call Adoptions With Love toll-free at 1-800-722-7731 for help creating your adoption hospital plan. You can also text us confidentially at 617-777-0072, at any time of day and any day of week.

If you are pregnant and making an adoption plan, be sure to check out our “Preparing for Adoption: A Month-to-Month Guide” for more information on the process and making a hospital plan. If you are a clinical professional working with an expectant mother, please download our “Clinician’s Guide to Adoption” for more information on creating a good hospital experience.