For many prospective adoptive parents, an ideal adoption includes being matched with a prospective birth mother early in her pregnancy, having the chance to get to know her and being able to prepare for the upcoming hospital stay and adoption process.
However, this is not always the case. It’s more often than you may think that a prospective birth mother chooses adoption late in her pregnancy or even at the hospital after she has given birth. For her, the adoption process may be expedited to quickly find her baby a safe home — which may lead to a surprise phone call for you if she chooses you as adoptive parents.
If you receive an unexpected phone call telling you you’re about to become parents — and the baby is already born — you may be overwhelmed. You’ll be excited to finally meet your new baby, but your lack of preparation may lead to some stress.
If you’re in a situation like this, don’t worry — your adoption professional will walk you through every step of this process. Here’s what you should do if you’re presented with a pop-up adoption:
1. Don’t stress out.
Pop-up adoptions may not come at the most ideal time, and you may be worried because you’re not practically ready to bring a baby home yet. However, remember that your adoption professional and the hospital will help you out. For example, the hospital can give you extra diapers and baby supplies until you are able to go shopping yourself, and your adoption professional will be there to provide counseling and advice. Instead of freaking out, embrace your excitement — your baby’s birth mother will want to see your confidence when she meets you.
2. Make the proper preparations.
Your adoption professional should have advised you to make preparations even before you went active with your agency, should a pop-up adoption occur during your waiting period. This means notifying your employer of the potential need to leave work suddenly for an unknown amount of time, finding care for any children or pets you have and knowing who you can lean on for support during this exciting process. If you receive a call about a pop-up adoption, make sure these things are taken care of.
3. Learn as much as you can.
When your adoption professional calls you with the adoption opportunity, they will likely give you as much information about the birth mother as possible. Make sure to take notes during this conversation; the more you know about the birth mother in advance, the fewer surprises there will be when you finally meet her. Having this information will also help you feel more prepared in a time where you may be overwhelmed by everything else.
4. Try to get there as fast as you can.
Part of making the proper preparations means finding a way to get to the birth mother in the hospital as soon as possible. In many pop-up adoptions, the baby will be discharged within 36–48 hours after you are contacted, so getting to the hospital quickly gives you more time with the birth mother and her baby. Once you get the call, start driving (or try to find a flight) as soon as you can. Your promptness in arriving will reassure the prospective birth mother that she chose the right family.
5. Be flexible.
Because they are last-minute in nature, pop-up adoptions require flexibility from adoptive parents. The exact discharge date of the baby and birth mother can vary, and you may need to stay in the birth mother’s state for a few weeks if your adoption is subject to ICPC regulations.
While the unknowns of a pop-up adoption can be stressful, it’s important to recognize that your baby’s birth mother will also be going through an emotional time. Therefore, it’s important to remain friendly and confident around her and not reflect any uncertainty you may be feeling. Your adoption professional will work closely with you during this adoption process to make sure you’re aware of what’s going on.
Pop-up adoptions can be stressful, but with the proper foresight and assistance from your adoption professional, they can be manageable situations. Whenever you start the domestic infant adoption process, it’s important to prepare yourself for the possibility of a pop-up adoption ahead of time. While it may be a whirlwind process during, at the end, you will finally have the baby for which you’ve been waiting for so long.