So… I just finished watching Oxygen’s “I’m having their baby.” It’s a new TV show that follows two expecting women/couples in their adoption plan and journey, delivery and placement. It was amazing to see the journey from start to second start and a little peek into “life after placement.”
The time of re-deciding in the hospital for many moms can be very difficult. No matter what you made up in your mind, you were still thinking about the future and now, the future is here! This baby is in the room, or down the hall in the nursery, and you have to decide what in the world you’re going to do. The reasons you gave yourself pre-delivery are still there but now there’s a cloud called “discharge day” hanging over your head and you have to make a decision within a day or two. Now, for some women and couples, their feelings don’t change much at all during this time b/c the circumstances of life right now make it impossible to bring a baby home. For others, the time to think and feel the love and emotions still allows for you to maintain your decision to place your child.
As an adoption counselor, I help women and couples make sure they are not being rushed, not being forced or coerced, and thinking clearly and realistically about the decision made, no matter what the end result. Not every birth mother has had that. Some spend time in the hospital alone, some have family angry at them the entire time, and some are even pressured by hospital staff or made to feel like they are doing something wrong by any and everybody who knows. Support from family, friends, your counselor or even simply the hospital social worker is vital at this time.
Even in the cases of open adoptions, many people involved take a big sigh of relief after the delivery is over and the revocation period has ended and move along trying to make sense of the rest of their lives as if “whew…well now that’s over!” I see birth parents back away from me and from the support we offer after a few months into their adoption journey, which… is understandable. We have to readjust. If you’ve just spent 9 or maybe just 3 months (if you found out late!) thinking, wondering, worrying, praying, hoping, all about this baby and the adoption plan, after delivery it’s, “Now what?” Now it’s time for the second “beginning” not the end. It's time to readjust your life to either life without the baby or figuring out how you're going to make this work. For those birth parents who chose to place, this is really just the start.
Placemcementent day of your child with the adoptive family is the first day of the rest of all of your lives.
- Remember your reasons for considering this plan in the first place, and consider what life will be like after placement.
- Request an interim care provider if you have even a smidgen of undecided feelings. Even private adoptions can figure out a way for you to have temporary care before the child is placed with the adoptive family.
- Talk to family and friends before you leave the hospital. Family and friends sometimes help you step back and see things in a different light. They may even provide support you never knew was available.
- Remember that you have rights in the hospital and don't be afraid to take advantage of them.
- Meet with your counselor the week after you deliver (and more if you can). So many birth parents back away at this time but your counselor is there to help.
What are some things you wish you knew or want to know about hospital and those first weeks after placement?