The hospital stay is one of the most important moments when placing a child for adoption. But, with COVID-19 taking away many of options for in-person visits, many prospective birth parents are worried about what to expect. If you can’t meet each other at the hospital or in person, how will you know you’ve found the perfect fit?
The first thing you should know while reading this article is that each hospital will have its own policies about who will be allowed in. But just because there are a few obstacles doesn’t mean that you won’t have other options for face-to-face interactions. You just have to be creative.
To help you understand how you can still spend time together if you’re not able to meet at the hospital, we’ve created this comprehensive guide. Check out more information below.
One more thing to consider: We recommend that you stay updated with recent recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Because the situation regarding the pandemic is changing so fast, what you read here might not be applicable in the next few weeks. You can check out the CDC’s website for the most recent updates.
Can I Meet the Adoptive Family at the Hospital?
It really depends. Every hospital will have different policies about who can be in the room with an expectant mother during COVID-19. For adoption, that means it might just be the prospective birth mother and her partner/loved one, but every situation is different.
While the adoptive family will do everything they can to be with you at the hospital, that’s not always a possibility. There are some situations in which an adoptive family cannot come to the hospital at or, or they can only have one family member join you. But like we mentioned earlier, every case is different. Your adoption specialist will keep you updated if anything changes and what to expect before the adoptive family arrives.
We know that this can be frustrating and disappointing. Meeting the adoptive family is one of the biggest moments in an adoption, and not having them there to support you will be challenging. But there are other options available. Reach out to them through phone calls, emails and video chats. If you can, try to meet them ahead of time. And remember, if you need someone to talk to who can help you work through your feelings, your adoption specialist is always there to listen.
Check with your medical provider to stay updated on what their policies might mean for your hospital plan. If you end up not being able to meet the adoptive family in person, below is some in-depth information about your alternatives.
Start with Pre-Placement Contact
Before you can get ready for an in-person visit at the hospital, you’ll usually get to know the adoptive family from a distance.
Normally, your first interaction with one another will be over the phone. Your adoption professional will mediate your first phone call, and then it’s up to you to keep the ball rolling with some of your own questions. On top of that, you also have the option of sending emails to one another and keeping in touch via messaging apps before the hospital stay. While the best way to get to know each other will be through in-person visits, phone calls and emails can be a great alternative until you get to experience that first meeting.
Try to Meet In Person Ahead of Time
Meeting face-to-face is the best way to get to know someone. Even if you can’t meet up at the hospital, the adoptive family will still be headed your way as soon as it is safe to do so. Depending on the adoptive family’s location, they might decide to fly or drive, so keep that distance in mind.
Many adoptive parents choose to come out before the due date, so they can get to know you better, too! Once they arrive, there are plenty of ways that you can have a great time together. You might spend the day at the park and plan a picnic six feet away. You can also head to the drive-in theater and enjoy a movie while chatting from the comfort of your cars. And, if you’re hungry, swing by a drive-thru and tailgate in your car.
Remember that, when possible, the adoptive family will do everything they can to meet you. They are just as excited to meet you as you are to meet them, so even if you can’t meet at the hospital, there are still plenty of ways to get to know each other in person. If you’re looking for more ideas and suggestions on how to spend time together before the hospital stay, reach out to your adoption professional for advice.
Turn to Digital Meetings
With most of us staying inside over the last few months, we’ve all had to get creative about how we stay connected. One option is to have video calls over Zoom, Facetime, and other video platforms, if you’re not able to meet the adoptive family at the hospital. If you’d like, you can even video-call the adoptive family from the delivery room. That way, you can feel like they’re right there with you.
We’ve got a few tips that should make your virtual visit a little easier:
- Prepare a few questions: We all know video calls can be little awkward. There might be some uncomfortable pauses, or you could be unsure of what to say. Before you start your call, it might be helpful to pick out a few icebreakers for your call.
- Make a plan: You might not know for sure how long you’ll be on the phone for, and it’s usually awkward to be the first one to hang up.It might be a good idea to map out a schedule for how you expect your call to go.
- Get creative: There are plenty of ways to have fun even when you’re apart. Plan a dinner party, head to a virtual museum, or make your own movie marathon.
Remember, you can still talk to the adoptive parents before, during and after the hospital visit. Even if you’re separated, there are plenty of ways to stay in touch. Even if they won’t be in the room with you, a digital meeting can be a great way to keep everyone involved.
As tough as this can be, it’s important to be flexible. This is an unprecedented situation for everyone, and your adoption professional will do the best they can to make sure you feel supported and heard during your adoption journey.
Remember that you can always reach out to them if you have any questions about your hospital stay, meeting the adoptive parents or other steps in your adoption process.