“Can you give your baby up for adoption at the hospital?” Is a question we often are asked. If you decide that adoption is right for you, before going into labour or after giving birth, you may be wondering about adoption options at the hospital. First, please know you aren’t “giving up” your baby. Instead, you are choosing a life you dream of for your baby. You are giving them the best life you can. That being said, yes, it is 100% legal to place your child for adoption/choose adoption at the hospital.
It’s more common than you might think. Adoption agencies and even some hospitals have procedures in place to make the process as easy and clear as possible. Friends in Adoption is familiar with this process, and can provide caring, non-judgemental guidance during a difficult time. If you are considering adoption, FIA can help you select the right hospital to give birth in to ensure a supportive environment.
There are two main pathways to choosing adoption at the hospital. One involves planning before the birth and creating an adoption plan. The second involves making this brave choice while at the hospital. We will go through each option, step-by-step. Any questions or concerns, Friends in Adoption is proud to assist strong birth parents like you.
Option #1: Choosing Adoption Ahead of Time
If you choose adoption ahead of going to the hospital, you can follow the steps below. Know that choosing a life you dream of for your child is admirable. Friends in Adoption is always here to talk and here to support you as you make these choices.
The steps below detail the important steps of creating an adoption plan and steps afterwards.
1. Choose an adoption agency.
This is a very important step that cannot be overlooked. By choosing the right agency, you are choosing a partner to accompany you on your journey and ensure your needs are met each step of the way. Important things to consider when selecting an adoption agency are:
- What are your best interests? Your child’s best interests? Will the agency work to meet them?
- Will the agency work for you/work to represent you?
- Will they screen families? Are families available with this agency?
- Are they licensed and qualified as an adoption agency?
- What services do they offer before, during, and after adoption?
Friends in Adoption will be your partner, working to find the right fit for you and your baby.
2. Contact the adoption agency.
After weighing the different options available to you, you can select the agency that makes you feel comfortable. Friends in Adoption offers text, phone calls, emails, and more as communication options. Inform the agency that you would like to place your child with an adoptive family, or that you are a potential birth parent looking into adoption.
After your first communication with the agency, you will be paired with an adoption professional or adoption specialist. They will connect with you, making sure you are a good fit for each other.
The adoption specialist will then need to collect some information. This will include considering and answering the following:
- Health and family backgrounds, situation information (only what you are comfortable sharing)
- Do you want to choose the adoptive family, or would you prefer the adoption specialist choose?
- Traits or information you would like from the adoptive family, like…
- A large family with children already, or a small family with no children?
- Living in the city, suburbs, or the countryside?
3. Discuss hospital stay plans and wishes for openness of contact.
While you are deciding on a waiting adoptive family or your adoption specialist is looking for the right match, you can form a hospital stay plan. Creating a hospital stay plan means you can focus on a healthy birth and remove a level of stress and uncertainty. This way, you know your needs are being met while keeping yourself comfortable.
The hospital stay plan connects to a significant step to consider- level of contact. At this time, you can think about what level of communication or contact with the adoptive family and your baby before, during, and after the birth. Do you want to meet the family before you give birth? Do you want to have them in the delivery room? What level of contact are you comfortable with after the adoption- full communication, letters or photo updates, or none? This is entirely up to you. There are no wrong choices here. Your adoption specialist can help guide you and figure out what is best for you.
Elements to include in your hospital stay plan include:
- If you want the adoptive family in the hospital while you give birth
- Who you want in the hospital with you
- If you want to spend time alone with your baby prior to the adoptive family meeting them
- If you want to take pictures with the adoptive family or baby
- What forms of giving birth you are comfortable with (C-section, etc)
4. Choose your adoptive family.
If you and your adoption specialist determine you will choose the adoptive family, this is the point where you take time to choose between options the agency offers (based on your desired traits). Take as much time as you need to find the right fit for your baby. Read through adoption profiles, look at photos, and more.
If your specialist is choosing the adoptive family, they can alert you when they find a family that they think is a good fit. You can choose to learn more about the family or to have limited information.
Once a family is selected, the agency will alert them. The adoptive family will then either come to you immediately, or wait until after the baby is born (depending on your hospital stay plan).
5. Giving birth
After finding the perfect adoptive family, you can take a moment to breathe. When the time comes to give birth, you can alert the hospital that you have an adoption plan. You or someone you trust can contact your adoption specialist. They will either alert the family or come to the hospital (if that’s what you determined in your hospital stay plan). You may also choose to have loved ones and/or an adoption attorney present.
In the days or weeks after you’ve given birth, depending on your state’s laws, you will have some technical paperwork to complete. Your adoption attorney can help you complete this correctly. This will include “same day adoption” paperwork to declare the adoptive family and waiving parental rights.
This is the part where your baby will meet their adoptive parents. Your wishes for desired contact will be followed as agreed between you and the adoptive parents. Your child will be able to live the life you dreamed possible for them, all while surrounded by loved ones.
After you have placed your baby with a loving adoptive family, Friends in Adoption will continue to be here for you. Counseling services are available at no cost to you, face-to-face or virtual, working with you to process this time of your life. Our caring and supportive staff is here to support you or your family anytime you need them.
Option #2: Deciding on Adoption at the Hospital
You can also choose adoption at the hospital, during, or after the birth of your baby. These steps are slightly different. We have detailed them below for you, to provide a comprehensive guide for what to expect.
1. Ask to speak to a social worker or nurse.
Many hospitals employ social workers that can help with adoption decisions after giving birth. You simply inform them that you wish to place your baby with an adoptive family. If you’ve already chosen an agency, you can inform them of which agency to contact. If you haven’t decided, you can ask them to contact Friends in Adoption. We are happy to work with you to choose the perfect adoptive family anytime.
At this time, you will also determine if you want to choose the adoptive family. If not, please tell your assigned adoption specialist you would like them to choose. Social workers will also talk with you to confirm that adoption is the best option for you and your loved ones. This is simply to make sure you do not feel pressured or rushed in your decision.
2. Share information.
At this point, you will need to share some more information with your social worker or the adoption agency selected. You’ll need to provide some medical history for yourself and the circumstances of your birth/baby.
They will also ask for information about:
- Determine who is selecting the adoptive family
- Approve the adoption agency choice
- Desired traits or characteristics of the adoptive family
3. Contact the adoption agency.
At this point, your social worker will contact the adoption agency to let them know that you wish to have your child adopted. They will work together and with you to find either a selection of adoptive family options or to choose a family for you.
4. Choose your adoptive family.
This is the point where your social worker will show you a few different adoptive families that fit your desired traits. You can choose the family for your baby, or they can inform you that they have selected a family.
This is also where you will have a discussion about what level of contact you are comfortable with. Consider if you want an open, semi-open, or closed adoption. Your social worker can provide information about the pros and cons of all your options. You can also read for yourself at our blog here.
After an adoptive family is selected, the adoption agency or social worker will alert them. They will come to the hospital as soon as possible. While waiting for them to arrive, there are some technical forms to fill out. Your adoption attorney will assist you with this process. These forms include “same day adoption” papers and a waiver of parental rights. When the family arrives, your baby will meet their adoptive parents.
After you have placed your baby with a loving adoptive family, Friends in Adoption is here for you. Counseling services are available at no cost to you, face-to-face, working with you to process this time of your life. Our caring and supportive staff is here to support you or your family anytime you need them.
Whichever path to adoption you choose, you will have support and love from Friends in Adoption. With comprehensive steps, you can be reassured that you have any information needed. Your strength and compassion as a birth parent is breathtaking, and we at Friends in Adoption honor your courage.
Pregnant and considering hospital adoption? Other forms of adoption? Friends in Adoption is here as a resource. Contact us now to learn more about options for you and your baby.