What OBGYNs Need to Know About Adoption [Supporting Your Patients]
As an OBGYN, you have the opportunity to help women welcome new life into the world. This is one of the biggest days of your patients’ lives, and the care they receive will have a significant impact on their delivery experience.
While many of your patients will leave the hospital with their new baby, there will be some who have no plans to become parents. In this case, they may choose to place their baby for adoption.
So, what role do you play in the adoption process? How you can you make sure your patient is as comfortable as possible? And what other professionals can you contact for help?
You can continue reading below to get the answers to these questions, or reach out to one our adoption specialists online today or call 1-800-ADOPTION and ask to speak with a Birth Parent Specialist.
What American Adoptions Does for their Birth Mothers
When speaking with a patient about adoption and our agency, there are a few key things it’s important to know:
Finding adoption opportunities: With American Adoptions, the expectant mother is in complete control of finding the perfect family for her baby. She will be able to choose the family that she feels will give her baby the life she wants for them. She will be able to view our active waiting families online until she finds the perfect match. While she’s there, our website offers plenty of helpful information about what to look for in an adoptive family.
Financial assistance: There is absolutely no cost to the expectant mother for an adoption. This will be an incredibly difficult decision to make, so cost should not be a factor in her decision. We are able to cover medical expenses, counseling services and legal representation regardless of how late in the pregnancy she contacts us. For a last‐minute adoption, we still offer coverage of medical expenses, 24/7 support, and legal representation at absolutely no charge.
24/7 Counseling: Our adoption specialists offer round-the-clock counseling to help expectant mothers cope with the difficult emotions they’re experiencing. We also provide post-placement support for birth mothers once the adoption process is finished.
Creating the Hospital Adoption Plan
Your role in providing pre-natal care an an OGBYN is invaluable. One aspect of a prospective birth mother's journey where American Adoptions can provide additional support is the hospital plan.
Every prospective birth mother will create a hospital plan during their adoption process. We always encourage prospective birth mothers to plan ahead and discuss her wishes with her doctor. Additionally, our social workers will help create the hospital plan by laying out specific details, such as:
Who gets to hold the baby
Who will be in the delivery room
Whether or not she plans to breast feed
Whether or not you want an epidural
Who her doctor will be
The birth mother will be able to make changes to her hospital adoption plan at any point in time. Because this is such an emotional time for her, it’s common for a prospective birth mother to want to make some last minute adjustments.
One of the most common changes is the initial decision of not wanting to spend time alone with her baby. She might feel like this will be too difficult, but once the baby’s been born, she may change her mind. This is perfectly normal and is more common than you may think. This doesn’t mean she’s going to change her mind about adoption. It just means that wants to have that time to bond with her baby.
And there’s one more important detail about the hospital plan: When a woman chooses adoption for her baby, she is eligible for adoption financial assistance. Her medical expenses for the duration of the pregnancy can be covered.
What if She Questions Her Decision?
It’s perfectly normal for a prospective birth mother to have second thoughts during pre-natal care, or even at the hospital. This is one of the biggest decisions she’ll ever make.
Almost every prospective birth mother will have moments where she questions whether or not she’s making the right decision. Sometimes this even happens after the adoption. She make go back and forth, making sure that’s she’s making the right choice for her and her baby.
Prospective birth mothers have 24/7 access to adoption counseling throughout the adoption process to help them cope with the emotions they may be experiencing. These moments of doubt can be alarming, but they’re completely normal and will likely subside. While there are some women who do change their mind, most know that they’re making the right choice and continue on with their adoption plan.
It should be noted that they have the right to change their mind up until they sign the legal paperwork relinquishing their parental rights — which happens after birth. Most states have a required waiting period between 24-72 hours so that the birth mother can be of sound mind when she signs her consent to adoption.
What You Can Do When Your Patients Do not Want to Parent [3 Ways You Can Help]
Every hospital has their unique hospital adoption policy. While it’s important that you know and follow your hospital’s or clinic’s adoption policy, there are additional ways you can ensure that your patients feel safe and supported during this emotional time.
1. Respect Her Wishes
One of the most important things you can do for prospective birth mothers as an OBGYN is to respect her wishes. The expectant mother will work with us to create an adoption plan which will serve as a blueprint for how she wants her adoption process and hospital stay to go.
Some expectant mothers spend months creating their adoption plan. An American Adoptions adoption specialist will work with her to make sure that all of her bases are covered. The adoption plan not only serves as a roadmap for the expectant mother, but can also help you and the other hospital staff know what to expect on her delivery day.
No matter how you feel about the choices she is making or what your view on adoption is, it is your responsibility to make sure all her needs are met. She is making one of the most difficult choices of her life, and she will need all the support she can get.
2. Be Sensitive
Unplanned pregnancy can be an overwhelmingly emotional time for prospective birth mothers. While she’s making this choice because she feels it’s what’s best for her and her baby, she’s likely experiencing feelings of grief and loss.
It can be hard to know how you can help a patient going through something this emotionally complicated. Every expectant mother processes these emotions differently. You may have specific protocol for helping patients process grief, but the best thing you can do is offer words of encouragement, let them know you’re there for them and encourage them to reach out to their adoption specialist.
You likely have your own thoughts and opinions on adoption. You may even disagree with it. However, we’ve found that the most helpful thing is to always try to remain nonjudgmental.
3. Make Sure Medical Staff are Aware of the Adoption Plan
A prospective birth mother will likely speak with a number of hospital staff from nurses, doctors, social workers, etc. To ensure that your patient is receiving the most thorough care, it’s important to make sure that everyone is adhering to the patient’s hospital plan and aware of her adoption plan.
If your hospital or clinic doesn’t have a system in place to communicate to other staff that an expectant mother is considering adoption, you could consider implementing a system. Or, at the very least, make sure everyone is on the same page.
Here’s an example of how normal protocols can go wrong when there’s an adoption plan: There have been instances when hospital staff greet a new mother with congratulatory words, or asking how her baby is doing. These words are always well-intentioned but can be triggering for women placing their baby for adoption. She may not see this moment as celebratory, or may have wanted to avoid creating any additional emotional connection with a child she does not want to parent.
Having a notification system in place to alert office staff to a woman considering adoption can help everyone practice extra sensitivity when working with the patient.
We know you care about your patients and want to ensure they have a positive experience, from pre-natal care to labor and delivery. If you’re unsure of the best way to support an expectant mother who is considering adoption, our adoption specialists are here to help. To get the guidance you need, contact us here today.
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