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Which scenario best describes your experience at the hospital surrounding your child’s birth?
I was able to witness my child’s birth and was with the birthmother in the delivery room! 33
I was in the hospital waiting room for my child’s birth, and saw him/her soon after he/she was born. 27
I wasn’t able to be there when my child was born, but I was able to bring him/her home directly from the hospital. 31
I was matched with my child after the birthmother had already left the hospital, so being there wasn’t an option. 8
I was matched with the birthmother before my child was born, but I wasn’t able to go the hospital for his/her birth. 7
Total Votes: 106
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Domestic Newborn Adoption Poll
Posted: 12 May 2010 04:31 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  47

For an upcoming issue of Adoptive Families, we want to hear from domestic adoptive families about their experiences at the hospital.

Posted: 12 May 2010 05:51 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  1

We had two very different experiences because of the different hospitals where our daughters were born.

Our first experience was the best we could have experienced ... our daughters birth mother invited us to be at the hospital and invited me to be in the delivery room during her C-Section.  A minor complication meant I could not be in the delivery room but the nurses asked me to wait nearby.  As soon as the baby was born they brought her out to me and had taken pictures of the delivery for both the birth mom and us smile
During the post-partum stay our daughter’s birth mother was treated with respect and supported without any judgement and all of us were included in discussions.  We were so pleased to have been so welcomed by the hospital staff.

Our second experience was a mixed bag because of the hospital .... our daughter’s birth mother invited us to be at the hospital and wanted us to hold the baby first ... although the nurses in delivery were kind and understanding and supportive and we waited in the waiting room for the baby to be born, the post partum staff lived in the 50s and kept the baby from her birth mother even though there was a hospital plan from her to keep the baby in room ... when we finally found a charge nurse we found them to tell us they didn’t want her to bond with her baby since they knew an adoption was taking place!  We all made the best of the situation making sure that that misunderstanding was cleared up immediately.

For each birth the babies and their birth mothers were released from the hospital at the same time ... our first daughter was born out of state and we returned to our hotel with the baby and her birth mom where she stayed with us off and on during the remainder of our stay.

For our second daughter who was born locally, we all left the hospital together and had lunch together and spent the next couple of weeks seeing each as often as possible with the baby staying with her birth mom a few days here and a few days there.

In both cases we were so happy and feel so blessed to have been invited to be at the hospital by each girl’s birth mother and at their wish to meet each of our girls right after their birth!

Posted: 12 May 2010 06:25 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  9

We have experienced 7 domestic newborn adoptions, 4 of which worked out.

In 2005 our DD was born via C-Section and we flew out the minute she was born.
In 2006 we flew out for induction only to return home for 2 weeks and fly out again AFTER DD2 was born.
In 2007 I flew out when birthmom was in labor and was en-route when she was born
In 2008 We were expecting 2 babies in 2 days, I flew out when birthmom 1 was in labor and arrived after the birth of DD4 but before the birth of DD5 (both birthmoms decided before the 3 day termination that they would keep their babies)
In 2008 We flew for induction and were in the room when DS was born
In 2009 I flew once DD6 was born. Unfortunately a birthfather showed up 2.5 months later but before terminations and she had to be returned.

Posted: 18 May 2010 04:13 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  1

We have had 2 successful domestic adoptions(2006, 2010), 1 disruption (2006) and 2 matches (2006 & 2009) that fell through before we met the babies or birth families in person.

For our first experience we were matched with the expectant mother a little over a month before the due date. The day of the birth we got updates from the agency. When it got close we drove to be near the hospital (an hour or so from our house). Once the birthmom and baby were settled in the room we got to meet the baby. We spent time at the hospital that night and then returned to the hospital for most of the next day. The day the baby was discharged we went in ahead of time to spend time with the birth family. It was a very emotional time but the hospital staff were very supportive of all involved.The baby came home with us. In the end the birth mom changed her mind after being away from the baby for two nights. (10/2006)

When our son was born we were matched with him two days after his birth. The hospital was kind enough to board him until the day the papers were being signed so we got to pick him up at the hospital (2 more days). The staff were amazing. You could tell they had really enjoyed having our son there. The nurses went over his schedule and care with us. This was local for us so we went straight home. (12/2006)

We were matched with our daughter the day after she was born and she was out of state. She was discharged from the hospital to an incredible foster mom, who had her for 2 nights before we were told to be there. We met her at the attorney’s office and then brought her to a hotel. We went back and took hospital pictures after the fact. The hospital seemed to have a 50’s approach to the adoption and were not very supportive of the birthmom ( we found this out way after the fact when they tried to bill us for something that wasn’t our bill, long story). (2/2010)

Posted: 18 May 2010 04:20 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  1

Our son was born a bit early since his birth mom didn’t know exactly when he was due.  She didn’t have many prenatal doctor visits.  On the day that he was born we received a phone call at 6:00 a.m. that he was coming and to get down to the hospital.  My husband was in shock, I think, because he couldn’t remember where the hospital was (4 miles away from our house). 

Upon arriving at the hospital we waited in the room w/ our birth mom, the director of adoption for the agency, and our birth mom’s teenaged son.  It was decided that I would go to the delivery room for the birth.  We weren’t sure what the baby would be and were delighted when our son arrived.  The nurses were wonderful and encouraged me to snap as many pictures as possible.  After cleaning him up and checking on him, he was placed in my arms to carry down the hall to show everyone waiting in the room.  More pictures were taken and then we walked all the way down to the nursery.  Even the nurses in the nursery were great.  They knew we were the adoptive parents and were very accommodating. 

We had the opportunity to stay in the hospital w/ him in our room but opted to go home each night to sleep becuse we figured that sleep would be a rare thing once we were home w/ the baby.  Our son spent time both in the nursery & in his birth mom’s room until it was time to go home 3 days after his birth.  I never cried until I was in the car ready to leave w/ him.  I think that was when it finally hit me.  We were all concerned about our birth mom.  She never cried or at least not in front of anyone.

That was 2 yrs. ago and remember the experience fondly.  I wish everyone’s domestic adoption birth experience would go as smoothly as ours did.

Posted: 18 May 2010 05:16 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  1

We arrived at the hospital the morning that our son’s birthmother was scheduled for a C-section.  The original plan was for me to be in the room with her while she had the surgery.  Unfortunately, she has a severe needle phobia and got so stressed when they attempted an epidural that they had to anesthetize her.  This hospital’s policy was that if the mother is anesthetized, no one else can be in the room with her.  So I missed the birth, but they took me and my husband to the nursery to see him as soon as he was taken there.  Yes, it would have been nice to see him born and to cut his umbilical cord, but we still pretty much were his parents from the minute he was wheeled from the surgery room.  So I can’t complain.

Posted: 18 May 2010 05:21 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  1

With both of our adoptions, we were in the delivery room.  With our daughter, we helped our birthmother with the delivery-I helped her sit up and my husband held one of her legs.  When our daughter was born, my husband cut the umbilical cord, at her birthmother’s request.  With our son, we didn’t “help” but I was the first to hold my son and was the one who cut the cord.  How many moms, adoptive or otherwise can say they cut their child’s cord?  Both experiences were a dream come true and although there is a definite awkwardness to open adoption in the beginning, I wouldn’t go back and change a thing.

Posted: 18 May 2010 05:57 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  1

i have two very different experiences with my two adopted children.

my daughter born in 2003-i was involved from prenatal thru birth…she had csec…experience very bittersweet…on one had i was overjoyed at being present at my daughter’s birth and on the other hand, i had great anxiety and fear.  it was difficult to be present with her and see the pain she was in on my behalf… feel great joy and yet…see a tear fall down her check as she is laying there during the csec…’s a paradox… i wiped away her tears….and looked in to her eyes…no words were needed…there are no words.  saying thank you seemed so trite and yet, when she said thank you to me…it was sacred.

i stayed in the hospital room with her and emily for 48hrs, just like i delivered her myself.  the hospital was great… it was like a little incubator of sorts….and yet…i was a ball of nerves, as her mom and sister came to visit.  where do i fit in?  i gave them space, when every instinct was to stay in the room and make sure they didn’t try and talk her out of her adoption plan. 

every minute there was a thousand decisions to make and situations to interpret and feelings to manage…i was in awe of what was happening and yet exhausted from the emotional and spiritual presence i needed to have.  i had to be true and have faith. 

she and i have talked so many times…i had to ask the hard questions and brace to hear the answers…are you sure this is what you want?  Is it hard knowing it is a girl?  I am sorry your mom is not supporting your decision, what can i do to help?  when she said, “maybe i should take her home a few days and make sure this is what i want?  i wanted to scream and shake her and run out of the room with emily, but instead i swallowed it all and said, “will that be helpful to you?” and waited fearfully waited to hear her say, “no.” 

when she was discharged from the hospital, we went to the hospital chapel, just her, me and baby emily….our private family…i promised my life to her child and she said goodbye….i left the chapel and she had a minutes alone with her baby before she became my baby…she then signed the papers. 

a year later my son was born, i found out about him a month before he was born, in pa.  his birthparents young and trying to keep this from family.  we had emailed a couple times and she had one prenatal appt two days before he was born.  up until the day he was born, i had no idea if they would call when she went into labor, my friend in pa, who had put us together…got a call on a sunday morning, whe was in labor and was told to call me, so i can come to pa to “pick up my baby”.

i waited to go until the next day….as i flew in and drove to the hospital, i didn’t know what to expect…i still wasn’t sure what was going to happen.  as i parked my car, i realized i didn’t know the birth mother’s last name, to find her in hospital.  i had to call my pa attorney to get that info as i was in the hospital lobby.

my friend couldn’t be there until later, so as i rode up in the elevator…i tried to think of what to say when i met them…a totally different experience from my first child.  both birthparents were there and little jacob in his crib.  it was ackward and scary…i wanted to run right over and scoop him up, but that didn’t seem right, but yet it did.  i just started out by saying this is so ackward and scary, i don’t know what to say or do….and that sort of let me and them breathe some.

when i finally got to hold him…he was so little and pure.  we all talked and took pictures.  the social worker came.  i left a couple hrs later still not really knowing how this was going to work out…them seemed sure in there decision, but they were in that little “incubator” room with him and anything can happen. 

we left the hospital the next day. they didn’t want to go to the chapel, they said goodbye in the hosptial room and that was it.  in pa, birth
i called her later that day to see how she was feeling and to let her and him know i was in town for another week, we set up a date to have lunch.

we had lunch two days before we left pa to go home.  we had a long talk on making sure this was their decision, i didn’t want to get home and have emily meet her little brother, and then take him away,because they changed their mind.  it was so odd to almost be talking them into keeping the baby, to be sure about their decision and yet so afraid they would. 

we left the resturant and went to a couple shops…they bought him a little hat and shirt, which i still have for him.  we hugged and off they drove.  i called them when i got home and sent a couple emails and nothing since.

both my child’s birth parents have gone off to have their own lives and have had no contact, but my door is always open to it.

adoption is not for the faint of heart… takes great resilence and faith.  not faith in the sense of religion, but faith that your child is on his or her way to find you.

Posted: 18 May 2010 06:03 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  1

[size=1][size=3]We were very lucky to witness the births of both of our children in the hospital.  I was in the delivery room during both c-sections.  We also stayed at the hospital after the births and were able to do all the things biological parents do after the births.  Our children were born at the same hospital and actually to the same birthmother.  The hospital was extremely accomodating and offered us a separate room to hang out and sleep in; however, we spent most of the time in the room with the birthmother.  She even wanted me to stay with her overnight in her room, which allowed me to take care of the babies during the night.  We cannot thank her enough for the incredible gifts she gave us in our children as well as the beautiful experience in the hospital.  It was special to be able to be there for the births and to be with our children from the very moment of their births.[/size][/size]

Posted: 18 May 2010 06:17 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  5

we have had 1 successful adoption and 1 disrupted adoption.  2 very different experiences at the hospital.

for our son, we got the call 2 weeks before his due date (at 5am) that he was coming and they were at the hospital.  we were out the door in 30 min, prepared for a 2 day stay (in state birth.)  we got the call at 6:30am that he had been born 45 min after they got to the hospital (and no, he hasn’t slowed down since then!)  we got there when he was 4 hrs old.  the hospital staff at this very, VERY small community hospital, while supportive of all 4 of us, were quite shocked that we all sat around in the hall and chatted as they prepped him for a move to a bigger hospital with a NICU.  his BM told me - i hope we’ve changed the face of adoption for them.

when he arrived at the NICU, the s/w said “we’re pro-adoption.”  but they weren’t.  she asked our son’s BM several times if she was “sure” she wanted to go through with this - which was insulting to both her and our social worker.  the hospital’s NICU policy for adoptive parents is different from the policy for parents who give birth.  the worst part was when the hospital lawyer came in and told us that they would not honor, at all, the power of attorney signed by the BM.  she then turned, folded the POA and put it in her pocket, obviously meant for the trash can.  our son’s great BM then told the hospital (over the phone) that since they did that, if they called her, she would tell them to do whatever we said to do. smile

we also had to add, to the TPR paperwork, the statement that the hospital would allow us to walk out the front door with him. 

that all being said, the hospital staff itself (dr’s and nurses) were very kind and very good to us. 

with our disrupted adoption, we got the call at 1:30am that she was in labor.  i caught the first plane to that state (which isn’t easy being a low population state.)  they gave her pitocin at my 2nd layover and he was born approximately at my last stop 1 hr before landing in state.  the staff there was VERY good to me, giving me a room down the hall to stay with him in the hospital.  i couldn’t have asked for a better hospital experience from the staff and hospital there.

Posted: 18 May 2010 09:18 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  1

We were called about our son the day after his birth.  We were presented with the situation and told the Birth Mother wanted the agency to pick a family for her.  When we accepted the placement, we had a 12 hour drive.  When we got to the hospital, the social worker was very nice to us, and the Birth Mother didn’t want to meet us so we gave the social worker the card and gift for the Birth Mom, and she took the Birth Mother home before we went up to see our son.  We waited in a room off the nursery, and they brought him in to meet us, and we were overwhelmed.  We got to hold him and feed him and then we went over a lot of paperwork from the hospital and adoption agency.  They were very nice to us and treated us just like I was the one to give birth.

After all the paperwork was filled out, we were able to leave the hospital with our son and stayed for 10 days in a hotel before we traveled back.  Overall, it was a great experience and couldn’t have went any smoother.

Amy Weaver

Posted: 18 May 2010 11:13 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  7

You might want to talk with Rebecca Vahle, who founded an open adoption training program at Parker Adventist Hospital near Denver.


In the Family to Family program, all hospital personnel—doctors, social workers, nurses and others who have contact with those involved in an adoption plan—are provided this training. The goal is to help staff understand the viewpoints of both the birth family and the adopting family, and to make sure no hospital-induced snags arise.

Rebecca’s contact information is in the article.

Lori Holden
Blog: (
Book: The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole (

Posted: 19 May 2010 05:23 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  3

We have three boys, all of whom we adopted in open adoption arrangements. The hospital experiences had strong similarities and significant differences.

For our oldest son, now 6, birthmom asked me to be with her for the delivery. We took a lamaze refresher course together (she has two older children) and husband and I were with her in the delivery room. When an emergency c-section became necessary, we all agreed that birthgrandma should go with her into surgery. Husband and I were in the hallway and heard our son’s first cry. During the two days he remained in the hosptial, we were given a room (a sitting room, not a patient room) down the hall from birthmom. Our son stayed with us most of the time and the nursing staff deferred to us in his care. When birthmom had family or friends come visit, we took the baby to her room and left for a while so they could visit. The hospital was in our town, so we went home at night and the baby slept in birthmom’s room. I think that was important time for both of them to be together without interruption.

We were in the hallway outside the delivery room for the birth of our middle son, now 4. We stayed with the birthfamily for the afternoon and went to a hotel to sleep. When we came back the next day, birthmom was clearly distressed by our presence. When the social worker came to the hospital, she talked with birthmom and found out that birthmom was surprised by how sad she felt about the adoption and seeing us with baby made her angry. We left the hospital and had a tense month waiting to find out if the birthparents would choose to parent or to place him with us. We now have a very happy and rewarding relationship with the birthfamily and everyone is confident in the outcome.

When our youngest son, now 3, was born at the hospital near our home, I was out of town and my husband was not home to get the phone call. He was born the day before mother’s day, and I spent that mother’s day in the car with my two older boys, driving 350 miles to get home and go to the hospital to meet our son. He was several weeks early so we spent the night preparing for his homecoming and brought him home the next day. Leaving the hospital was obviously painful for his birthmom, but she never wavered in her decision.

We enjoy open, warm relationships with all our children’s birthfamilies. Those days in the hospital were intensely emotional, painful & joyful & confusing for all of us.

Posted: 19 May 2010 08:46 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  1

Our hospital experiences were also very different.  When we got “the call” about my daughter we were told that her Birthmom was 10 days overdue and was at the hospital.  Our little girl was born the next morning and we were able to go meet her Birthparents 4 hours after the delivery.  Brianna was not in the room when we arrived and we were given time to get to know these 2 amazing people that were choosing us to parent their little girl.  Finally her Birthdad went to get her and when he returned he went to hand the baby to his girlfriend and she said, “No, give her to her mom”  It was an amazing experience.  We instantly clicked with this couple and couldn’t believe how similar we were to one another.  They said, “We knew you were the ones because you are who we want to be when we grow up”  Amazing.  The next 24 hours were wonderful, but hard.  I didn’t expect to fall in love with them so fast and thus feel their loss so intensely.  The staff in the nursery was wonderful!  Taught us to parent and seemed genuinely excited for us!

Our second child came home at 3 1/2 months, so we did not have a hospital experience with him.

BUT a year later, I met with a high school senior who had just found out she was pregnant and was considering adoption.  She was 7 weeks along and after explaining how she could work with an agency and pick a family she said, “Well, could it just be you guys?”  I was thrilled!  We spent the following months together taking childbirth classes, going to appts, ultrasounds, and baby showers- all of the things I had never gotten to do as an expectant Mom. (Seemed she was pregnant forever!)  But then we went to the delivery…We got to the hospital and they didn’t know what to do with us…the staff was cold, uncomfortable with the situation and we had little to no time with our son during those early days.  It certainly defined an obvious need in the world of adoption——a need for training in hospitals around this concept of openness, loss, grief, joy, transition, etc!

Sadly, after bragging about my daughter’s hospital experience for 10 years, I talked to her BirthDad and found out that they had been harassed during their entire stay.  He said, “Whenever we were by ourselves the nurses tried to get us to keep her.  They said she was special and we shouldn’t do it.”  I asked him what he did and he said, “We just got mad and knew we had to get out of there.  We called the agency to get them to back off but it didn’t help”  My heart broke for this young couple!  To know that they had come into this situation struggling, but sure of their decision and were harassed by the very people who are supposed to care for their needs broke my heart!  I found this out 3 years after I started the Family to Family Adoption Support Program at Parker Adventist Hospital in Parker, CO.  We are the only hospital in the state, if not the nation, that has a hospital-based adoption support program that includes training with all BirthPlace staff, work with adoptive families, birthfamilies, and networking and supporting adoption agencies.  Our hope and prayer for the future would be that all hospitals would educate and empower their staff to come alongside families during this emotional and difficult time!  What a difference their attitude can make in an infant adoption placement..for all parties involved!

Posted: 22 May 2010 06:30 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  1

We are very blessed to have adopted two children, at birth, locally, from the same birthmother.  Though it was the same birthmother and the same hospital, we had two very different experiences.  Our daughter was born almost 5 years ago.  I can’t explain the emotions I felt when her birthmother asked me to be in the delivery room.  The c-section was scheduled for June 24th.  At around 6 am June 23rd we got a call that she was in labor.  The excitement was unreal!!!  We threw some things together, rearranged all our schedules (we even had family staying with us…they got to experience the excitement with us:)  and rushed off to the hospital.  After a few hours they decided to send her home and go with the scheduled c-section the next day.  We were to be at the hospital at 8 am on the 24th.  At 6am on the 24th we got another call to come up early…she really was in labor so they moved up her c-section. I always say it happened that way so I could experience part of the excitement of labor:)  By that time we had developed a relationship with our birthmother and at the moment of birth it felt like I was there for HER as much as to see our child being born.  It was something I’d never felt or experienced before…overwhelming and exciting to say the least.  I felt torn between holding her hand and running to the bassinet to see our daughter!  Before going to see the baby I made sure she was OK and comfortable with me leaving her.  The rest of the time at the hospital was challenging.  One issue was that it was a trans-racial adoption.  We were at an inner-city hospital and some of the nurses clearly didn’t approve of our birthmother’s choice.  Even 5 years ago this wasn’t as common as it is now.  We also weren’t allowed to stay, so we hung out with her during the day and went home at night…it was so hard to leave each night!  As happy as I was to be there, if I’m being totally honest I would have to say it was hard to share that time.  I had a hard time acting like her mother in front of our birthmother.  I didn’t feel like I had the right yet.  My husband didn’t feel the same way and referred to himself as Daddy the whole time.  I was hyper-aware of our birthmother’s feelings…while still trying to show her I will love and care for our baby as if I had given birth to her.  It was a fine line.  The day we left the hospital with our daughter was the happiest and saddest day of my life.  When it was time for our birthmother to say good-bye to the baby she broke down.  I had to leave the room…I was in the hallway sobbing.  No one really prepared us for that moment.  My husband had to take our daughter from her and to this day he says it was the hardest thing he’s ever done.  To be so happy and so sad at the same time is such an unreal feeling.  Looking back I wish our agency had done a better job with that part of the process.  We continued an open relationship with our daughter’s birthmother after leaving the hospital. 

A few years later when our birthmother found herself pregnant again, she ended up deciding on adoption.  We were THRILLED that she chose to have us adopt this baby too.  This time she asked me to STAY at the hospital the whole time.  Our relationship was much more comfortable by then.  The birth was the same…I felt like I was there for her as much as for our son.  I slept on a couch in the same room.  This time I was very involved and had no trouble acting like our son’s mom.  He was born at the same hospital, but our experience with the staff was MUCH better.  Everyone was so nice, welcoming and excited for all of us.  They were very good about talking to all of us (not just our birthmother or just me) about the baby and adoption was talked about openly and positively.  When it came time to go home it was a far better experience than the first time.  The room was filled with people excited about the adoption…the birthmother and birthfather, our caseworkers, nurses, the hospital social worker and the foster mother who would have our son for one day until we could go to court.  It was a joyous feeling all around.  There were no tears…only big hugs and thank you’s all around the room. 

The only thing I would change about both experiences is I would have wanted friends and family to come to the hospital.  But both agencies we worked with and the hospital social worker suggested we not do that.  It can be overwhelming to the birthmother/birthfather.  So we chose not to have visitors.  I was careful to make sure our birthmother knew they WANTED to be there so she wouldn’t doubt that our babies would be welcomed with open arms. 

We now have a beautiful 4 year old girl and a 1 year old boy and I wouldn’t change anything for the world.  We continue an open relationship with our childrens’ birthmother.  As challenging as open adoption may be at times, I wouldn’t have it any other way.