Adopting a baby can be joy-filled experience, but it can also be terrifying and will come with challenges that birth parents don't face. If you and your partner are going to the hospital to meet your new little one for the first time, knowing what to expect can help ease the transition from waiting for a baby to cradling your newborn in your arms.
You might be so excited to meet your baby that you don't consider how you'll feel if you see the birth parents interact with the child that you'll be taking home with you. Not all adoptive parents meet the birth family, but many do, and it can lead to feelings of jealousy. Even if you've formed a relationship with the biological mom, you might feel a twinge of envy when you see her with your newborn. You might be jealous if the birth mother or her family request time alone with the baby to say goodbye. You might also be worried that interaction will cause the birth mother to change her mind about putting the baby up for adoption.
Pressure and Stress
Talk with the biological mother if you can before going to the hospital so you can come up with a plan that suits both of your needs. Plan to bring your camera so you can snap a few photos of your baby with her birth family, especially if you're planning on an open adoption. You'll want pictures of the baby with you and your partner, too, even if you don't meet the biological mother. You'll also need to ask for your newborn's hospital and health records before you take her home, recommends Laura Beauvais-Godwin and Raymond Godwin, authors of "The Complete Adoption Book: Everything You Need to Know to Adopt a Child." Bring an outfit to take your baby home in and prepare for an emotional goodbye between the birth family and the baby, too.
Know your legal rights and obligations before you get to the hospital. Notify the hospital where the birth mother will deliver as soon as you receive that information. The doctors and nurses need to know that the birth mother has relinquished her parental rights to you, according to "Adoptive Families" magazine. Ask the hospital for a copy of their adoption policies, too. When you arrive at the hospital, ask for identification bracelets that match your baby's. This is the law in most hospitals and it helps prevent mix-ups between babies and families. Know the custody agreement regarding who takes the baby out of the hospital ahead of time, as well. Many birth mothers choose not to accompany their baby out of the hospital, so you'll need to take that job or, if required by the law in your state, assign a third party, such as a social worker or attorney, to do it for you.
Ask for your baby's birth certificate before you leave the hospital. The birth mother is almost always required to provide the information that will be on the birth certificate, so check it for accuracy before accepting your copy. Once the adoption is final, you'll receive another copy of the birth certificate that includes the full name you've given your baby. In some states, an adopted baby cannot be discharged into the custody of her adoptive parents. If this is the case in the state where you live, know that temporary legal custody of the newborn will be given to an independent adopter. "Adoptive Families" magazine recommends getting a court order if that's the case, which will make it easier for you to take legal custody once the baby has been discharged from the hospital.