As the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. continues to rise, some adoptive families have come to us with questions and concerns about how the outbreak could impact their adoptions. To help you understand the coronavirus and how it might impact you, we have provided answers to some of the most commonly asked questions below.
We will do our best to update adoptive families as new information is available. In the meantime, if you have any questions that are not addressed here, please contact your adoptive family specialist for assistance.
Please note that we are not medical professionals, and nothing in this article should be considered medical advice. Please consult your doctor with specific medical concerns, and continue to monitor the coronavirus situation at the World Health Organization.
How could the coronavirus impact my ability to travel domestically for an adoption placement?
Currently, there are no restrictions on travel within the United States. However, due to heightened concerns surrounding the coronavirus, be aware that it may be more difficult to obtain medical clearance from a doctor allowing you to fly home with your newborn. Because of this, families may need to be prepared to drive home with their baby following placement.
Again, we are not medical professionals, so you should consult with your doctor and coordinate directly with the airline to determine what their policies are regarding flight with a newborn infant during the coronavirus outbreak, as well as their policies on flight cancellations and refunds, if necessary.
If travel restrictions are imposed in your area or the area where your baby is born, or if you are unable to travel due to quarantine or medical fragility, please let your adoption specialist know as soon as possible.
How could the coronavirus impact me if I need to travel internationally for an adoption placement?
Due to the recently announced travel restrictions from Europe, COVID-19 may impact travel for adoptive families who are stationed (or recently traveled) overseas. Because it may be difficult for families in certain countries to travel to a prospective birth mother’s state within the 24 hours required by American Adoptions, these families may need to be placed temporarily inactive until the travel restrictions are lifted. This may vary on a case-by-case basis, so please reach out to your adoption specialist for details about how you may be affected in your personal circumstances.
If travel restrictions are imposed in your area or you are unable to travel due to quarantine or medical fragility, please let your adoption specialist know as soon as possible.
How could the coronavirus impact our hospital experience?
So far, this pandemic has not impacted the hospital stay for most adoptive families and prospective birth mothers. However, this is a rapidly developing situation, and hospital policies could change and will likely vary greatly from one hospital to the next. As the situation progresses, it is likely that hospitals will begin imposing restrictions on hospital visitors, whether that’s a limitation on the number of visitors allowed, reduced visiting times or restrictions on visitors in certain parts of the hospital. American Adoptions will not be aware of these policies until families are faced with them in each hospital.
American Adoptions staff will continue to work closely with hospitals and communicate any changes to a prospective birth mother’s delivery plan to the adoptive family.
How could coronavirus impact ICPC or court processes?
Adoptive families who are awaiting ICPC clearance or court proceedings may experience delays in these processes, as some government offices may be impacted. Contact the adoption professional (your agency or attorney) who filed ICPC and/or your finalizing attorney for the most accurate updated time estimates.
What if I am sick or have symptoms of the coronavirus?
Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, tiredness and a dry cough. According to the World Health Organization, some people also experience aches, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging people who have symptoms of a respiratory illness to stay home to prevent the potential spread of the illness. If you are experiencing these symptoms, you should contact your healthcare provider immediately to determine next steps for receiving care.
If you are sick with COVID-19 or suspect you may be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, please let your adoption specialist know as soon as possible. You may need to take additional precautions while traveling (wearing a mask, for example) or, if you are quarantined, your family may need to be placed temporarily inactive until a doctor determines you are no longer sick and you can safely travel without spreading the illness.
What if the expectant mother we’re working with is sick or has symptoms of the coronavirus?
While there are no published scientific reports on this subject, the CDC states that pregnant women may be more susceptible to viral respiratory infections, including COVID-19. American Adoptions staff encourages any prospective birth parent experiencing coronavirus symptoms to seek immediate medical care to ensure they and the unborn baby are healthy.
Whether a pregnant woman can transmit the coronavirus to her baby is still unclear, according to the CDC. However, experts have said there appears to be no evidence that the virus is passed on during pregnancy. We encourage adoptive parents to speak with their healthcare providers to determine any risks that may be posed to the baby if the prospective birth mother contracts COVID-19.
If a prospective birth mother notifies her adoption specialist that she has contracted coronavirus, the adoptive family she has chosen will be notified as soon as American Adoptions is made aware. As with any condition outside a family’s APQ, each family will be able to determine whether they are comfortable moving forward with the adoption opportunity.
What else should we know about coronavirus?
Ultimately, adoptive families should continue to follow CDC guidelines and protocol to protect themselves and reduce the spread of the virus, and communicate with their adoption specialist about any developments in their own health or in their adoption process.
We understand the anxiety this outbreak has caused for many adoptive parents, and we are committed to doing everything we can to prepare families for any impact it may have on their adoption. We appreciate your patience and understanding as things continue to develop, and we are always available to answer any additional questions you may have.