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The specialists at American Adoptions have been fielding a lot of questions from adoptive families during this time of heightened uncertainty. In “Questions from Adoptive Families,” we’ll address some of the questions we’ve received, and hopefully preemptively answer questions for future waiting families.
One important question that adoptive families have been asking throughout the COVID-19 pandemic: “Will I be able to go into the hospital to meet my baby?”
The short answer that you don’t want to hear is: We can’t be certain.
We wish we could tell you otherwise. But, here’s what we can tell you:
We’ve Helped Families Successfully Adapt to These Challenges
Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, we’ve continued to help families adopt and have worked with them to navigate the new challenges COVID-19 has created. We’ll do the same for you.
Was the situation what the birth or adoptive families had imagined? No. But they met these new challenges with love and patience. You will, too! It may bring you some comfort to hear their experiences regarding their hospital visits during COVID-19.
Every Hospital’s COVID-19 Policies Will Be Different
There are a number of factors that every individual hospital must consider when allowing visitors right now:
- The number of cases within the area.
- The number of cases within your area. (Hospitals are cautious about admitting adoptive parents who are traveling from a COVID hotspot.)
- The number of at-risk patients within that hospital.
- That hospital’s ability to respond to the potential for COVID exposure.
- And more.
If you’ve already been matched with an expectant mother, she (and her American Adoptions specialist) likely have a hospital plan in place, and they know where she’ll be delivering the baby. American Adoptions specialists will coordinate with that hospital to receive information about their COVID-19 restrictions, and they’ll pass that information on to you.
A specialist will let you know what to expect at that specific hospital. They’ll also remind you to be ready for those policies to potentially change.
What Types of Safety Measures Might You Encounter?
The specific restrictions and safety protocols that a hospital has in place will vary. In addition to wearing masks and washing your hands before entering the building, you may be asked to:
- Have your temperature taken.
- Answer a series of questions to confirm that you haven’t experienced any symptoms.
- Take a COVID rapid test prior to entering the building.
- Stay in a hotel or Airbnb instead of spending the night in the hospital.
- Quarantine before and after your visit.
- And more.
Hospitals with the strictest safety measures may limit the number of people who can visit the expectant mother and/or baby, or the amount of time that visitors can spend in the building.
Again, once you’re matched with an expectant mother, American Adoptions specialists will confirm the COVID-19 protocols with the hospital as soon as that information is known, and will go over those with you.
Plan Accordingly, but Stay Flexible. Policies Can Change at Any Time.
Our advice, as always: Roll with the punches.
Finding out that the visitor policies at the expectant mother’s hospital are especially strict is not what you want to hear, but it’s a possibility that you should be prepared for. When your American Adoptions specialists talk to you about the hospital’s policies, they’ll offer you advice about how you and your spouse can prepare.
However: You should also be prepared for the hospital’s policies to change at any moment — even up to the day of your arrival. It’s entirely possible that you and your spouse show up to the hospital and they have to turn one or both of you away. If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we all have to be ready for anything, one day at a time.
As case numbers continue to rise throughout most areas of the U.S., we’ll see more hospitals tightening their restrictions in an effort to keep their patients and staff safe from COVID-19. Their policies will constantly be changing as the risk factors evolve and change.
We know all this uncertainty is frustrating. But, remember that these restrictions are there for life-or-death reasons. We’ll be here to support and encourage you throughout it all.
If you find out that you can’t meet at the hospital, our guide to this scenario may be helpful.
You’ll Have the Rest of Your Life to Spend with Your Child
Any parent wants to be there for those first few days of their child’s life. But we’re all living with the realities of COVID-19. If your hospital has strict COVID policies, one or both of you may be unable to enter the hospital.
Right now, this can feel devastating. You’ve waited so long to meet this child, and you want to rush to their crib in the hospital — waiting until discharge can feel like an eternity. But never forget: You’ll have the rest of your lives together. “Forever” can wait a few more days.
For the health and safety of everyone in that hospital, it’s imperative that you follow all hospital guidelines and procedures.
Consider finding an alternative way to have that special first moment as a family — maybe for you, that’s by having a casual, socially distanced reception with the birth family where you can sit and talk and let them place your baby into your arms for the first time. Or, if you can’t wait, ask if your child’s birth mother is feeling up to a video call.
We understand how hard all of this can be as a new parent. Remember that your American Adoptions specialist is there to support and guide you. Reach out to them if you have any more questions about the ever-changing COVID-19 hospital policies.
Check back here for more Questions from Adoptive Families!