Many adoptive and birth parents have pursued adoption in the last six months with little to no effect from COVID-19. But, as the virus continues to spread across the U.S., it’s become less of a theoretical threat and more of a hard-hitting reality for many.

So, what happens if a pregnant woman pursuing adoption tests positive for COVID-19?

Every adoption is different, so there’s no single answer to this question. But our staff has a plan in place for this very situation — and we’re dedicated to helping you reach your adoption goals, no matter the challenge along the way.

Here are just a few things we want you to know. Remember: You can always reach out to your adoption specialist with any questions or concerns.

Honesty is Our Policy

Whether you’re a prospective birth parent or adoptive parent, know that American Adoptions will always keep you updated if a positive coronavirus result changes your adoption journey. We know adoption can be a difficult process. That’s why honesty and transparency is our number one priority during this time.

If you’re a prospective birth parent:

American Adoptions will do all we can to support you through your placement process, and COVID-19 won’t stop us from doing so. However, in order for us to provide that support, we need to know about any major life updates — including a positive COVID-19 test.

The best thing you can do is be honest with your adoption specialist. Whether you’ve tested positive for COVID-19 or are quarantining under a suspected exposure, let your adoption specialist know. That way, we can work to provide any extra support you need.

Remember: Even during the ups and downs of pregnancy and this pandemic, make taking care of yourself your first priority. Get plenty of rest and fluids, especially if you have serious symptoms. Follow CDC recommendations during your quarantine, and don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you need it. Our specialists can help locate the resources available to you.

If you’re a waiting adoptive parent:

You always have the right to an adoption opportunity with which you are comfortable. If a prospective birth mother tests positive for the coronavirus after selecting your family, you will be informed. From there, you decide if this diagnosis is within your comfort zone.

While pregnant women are a high-risk group for COVID-19 complications, there have only been a few cases of babies catching the virus in utero or shortly after birth. Most babies seem to recover from the virus with mild symptoms, but there are unknowns due to the novelty of the virus.

You have the right to decide what medical situations you are comfortable with. We will respect that right and work with you to find the right opportunity. If you choose to move forward, we will keep you informed on a prospective birth mother’s medical situation and how her diagnosis may impact your adoption process.

Symptoms & Severity Matters

How much a COVID-19 diagnosis will impact your adoption is hard to predict. One of the biggest factors? The severity of symptoms.

COVID-19 can cause severe complications — or it can present without symptoms at all. A diagnosis could stretch out for weeks, or it could run a shorter course and put your adoption back on track within the typical 14 days of infection.

These unknowns can be frustrating, but use them to maintain hope when a COVID-19 diagnosis interrupts your adoption journey.

Hospital Plans May Change

Today, most women with planned deliveries or cesarean-sections are tested for COVID-19 before their hospital stay. If a prospective birth mother tests positive, her hospital plan may change to meet health and safety guidelines.

Flexibility is key here — for both prospective birth and adoptive parents. The number of people allowed in the delivery room may shrink. The baby may need to be separated from the prospective birth mother after he or she is born. Both parties may need to use video call to “experience” the labor and delivery process together.

It can be incredibly disappointing for this moment to not go as planned. But, because hospital policies vary and can change quickly, staying open-minded will be extremely helpful during this stage.

Consent Signing May Look a Little Different

If a prospective birth mother tests positive for COVID-19 at the time of labor, her consent signing will typically involve some virtual aspects. Her adoption attorney and adoption specialist will explain these steps to her ahead of time, making sure she is comfortable with this adjusted process.

She may sign her consent with her attorney advising her over a video call. A doctor or nurse may need to sign certain documents, if no additional visitors are allowed in her recovery room.

Whatever is required, American Adoptions will put both parties’ health first. Our adoption specialists are pros at video calls, and we will do as much virtually as we can. We’ll work closely with the prospective birth mother’s adoption attorney to confirm all laws and procedures are followed, even in this brave new world.

And, after consent is complete, we will stay in touch with a birth mother to support her through postpartum and COVID-19 recovery. Whether it’s weeks, months or years after placement, a birth mother specialist will always be there to provide counseling and emotional support.

Want to learn more about our agency’s COVID-19 policies? Check out our helpful blogs here or reach out to your adoption specialist for personalized guidance.