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Adopting Premature Babies

Baby Girl Born At 24 Weeks

My husband and I were matched with a Birthmother 2weeks ago. She had told us she was due in early February. Five days after our match we received a call from our agency that her water broke and she was on her way to the hospital. At that time we were a bit nervous but a month early was not so bad. We packed our bags and were ready to leave when we were told to. Later that night we recieved a call from our agency that she was not as far along as we thought, she was only 24 weeks, and was having an emergency c-section. We have been told that the Birthmom was able to get the steroid shots for baby’s lungs and eyes. We are torn apart and have no clue as to what to do. Due to some circumstances with the birthparents we are not able to have medical records and the staff is not permitted to speak with us. Our agency is asking if we are going to go thru with the adoption. Without any info we don’t feel we can make this decision. We are so lost. Can anyone relate, or guide us. Thank you in advance for your feedback.


I can’t imagine an agency expecting you to make a legally binding decision with no information on the health of this baby.  And if they are, I would not be comfortable with it.  We adopted a premature baby 3 years ago and recall that the legal next step for anyone right now is the expectant mom’s and the birth father’s, if applicable, not necessarily yours.  I’m wondering if the agency is asking, “are you prepared to continue”?  Once the expectant mom has signed the paperwork to relinquish her rights, perhaps this will release the hospital staff to speak with you openly, but before then there’s nothing you can really do without EMs permission.  Could that be the barrier?  Once you meet with the doctors, if you aren’t comfortable with what they are saying, you can decline to move further at that time.  There is certainly a lot of emotional investment which would be hard if you decide against it.  There are never any guarantees, but I found the NICU nurses and physicians to be very forthcoming and honest once they have permission to speak with you.  You should always feel fully informed before agreeing to take custody, but it may take a little longer while baby is in the NICU for you to have access to everything you need.

Posted by Stacoid on Jan 14, 2015 at 12:42am

There is a lot that is off about this situation.  I’m perplexed why the agency thought a woman who was 5-6 months pregnant was 8 months pregnant.  An ultrasound could have confirmed the gestational age. 

You can learn more about the survival rates of 24 week old preemies (and likelihood of major complications) here:

My son was born just short of 32 weeks.  He spent 5 weeks in the NICU.  This little girl will likely spend 12 weeks there, if not more.  Our son had developmental delays that had us taking him to physical, occupational and speech therapy for years.  He’s 3 1/2 now and mostly caught up, but it took a lot of work to get him there. 

I strongly suggest you consult with a developmental pediatrician to understand what normal development of a child of that gestational age is.  And then think very carefully about whether you are equipped to deal with that. 

And ditto on everything Stacoid said.

Posted by bkesser on Jan 14, 2015 at 2:01am

24 weeks there will most likely be significant problems. Steroids for lungs help but the baby has major risk for a brain bleed that can cause serious brain damage, among other things. I absolutely would not go through with it without more info. Its one of the most important decisions you will ever make, you dont want to make it uninformed

Posted by rn4kidz on Jan 14, 2015 at 2:27am

A child born at 24 weeks is at risk of significant health problems,  you really need more info about premies in general, and then, this child specifically, before you can make a decision.

Posted by jszmom on Jan 14, 2015 at 4:23pm

We adopted son 5 years ago. He was born at 28 wks. We met him when he was 3 wks old. He spent 66 days in the NICU. His birth mother Initially didn’t tell hospital about her plans of adoption so when we would go visit him we had to pretend that we were just family friends. It was very awkward and hard. Nurses alwYs asked us questions about Bm but we never had answers for them. Anyway they weren’t allowd to give us any medical info on him until she finally told them about the adoption and signed papers to give us temp custody. We had no idea what to expect going into this either. We knew nothing about premature babies. We were very blessed as our son has no issues besides he where’s glasses for an astigmatism. He is very healthy. The NICU doctors and nurses were wonderful. Once u meet the baby and find out how she is doing u can always back out if need be.

Posted by Raera on Jan 14, 2015 at 7:26pm

I know of two children born at 24 weeks. One child was born to a mom who had not known she was pregnant, and not taken much care. That child was blind.

The other baby was born after a vaginal infection in the mom. He weighed one LB. He was immediately flown to be in a hospital in a city with oxygen machine, and in the hospital for quite some time. (months I think)..if I recall correctly. The MD “delivering” told the parents he would most likely have the mental capacity of a “vegetable”. The child actually was totally fine, other than a slight umbilical hernia.The mother had taken extremely good care of herself prior to the birth.If I remember correctly neither lungs nor liver are fully developed yet.

I am wondering what the circumstances with the birth parents are? Will there be complications re who will be parenting the child? Along with medical that will be an extra heavy load if so.

Can you get an attorney involved and see if you can get some info?  ( One listed in American Academy of Adoption Attorneys maybe??) Even then it is totally unknown what the outcome will be as the stories above show.

I’d do research re neonatal development, talk to specialists, do absolutely every thing possible to get info… will another MD be allowed to check the child, talk to the doctors? Can you pass as a friend?  Are you prepared to parent a child with serious special needs if it turns out he has them? Can you see the baby, take photos,  and work with an MD to evaluate? (I know one person who was never allowed to get any medical info on her internationally adopted child and who did that.)

I’d do everything possible to get info, then make a decision based on what you feel in your heart. Praying for the best for you and this child.

Posted by Happy Camper on Jan 15, 2015 at 12:45am

No agency should expect an answer without providing medical records.  That is insane. Tell them if you can’t have medical records reviewed by a pediatrician of your choice then you will have to pass

Posted by singlewannaadopt on Jan 15, 2015 at 1:38am

First I would like to say you and the baby will be in my thoughts and prayers. Secondly I have a Grandson that was born at 29 weeks and he was a feed and grow minor problems. catching up now he is 22 weeks he is developmentally at about 18 months. But being in the NICU for 2 months every case seemed to be different. Hope all goes well.

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Posted by lisaperry on Aug 20, 2015 at 4:02pm

Our daughter was born at 34 weeks and, even at that far along, our agency called us and gave us as much medical information as they could over the phone before asking if we were willing to accept the match.  Especially with one at 24 weeks, they should make sure you are informed before they expect you to make a decision.

Posted by bamabelle1982 on Aug 20, 2015 at 7:23pm

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