I admit that I am old-fashioned and feel very strongly when I see what appears to be lines in the sand that are crossed in adoption. The way this article was written turned me off so you may want to zip right on by. To start off, this article linked is written to prospective adoptive parents, people who are supposed to have already been schooled on the intricacies of adoption, specifically the fact that until the papers are signed you are not in control, you have no rights and if you are invited to the hospital, you are a guest.
I’m hearing a sense of entitlement in the article for the adopting parents to control the experience which is very troubling to me…I hope I am wrong. How Should New Parents Navigate the Hospital Experience?
“It helps to discuss the hospital adoption experience with the birth parents and an adoption professional ahead of time, giving both families the opportunity to weigh in. Decide on as many details as possible, such as who will hold the baby first in the delivery room and what name the birth mother will put on the birth certificate form, and record them in a written hospital plan.” (bolding mine)
I don’t believe it is any business of the prospective parents what the expectant mother wants in her hospital plan, unless she specifically wants them to do something and they need to agree or decline. Other than that, I don’t think they have any right to weigh in on her hospital plan for her, and her baby. Nor do they have any right to weigh in on what name goes on the original birth certificate, which seems to be inferred, to me.
In reality they have no rights, because it is not their baby yet, and may never be.
I want to stop here for a minute and note that I’m sure there are adoption professionals who believe this empowers the expectant mother and helps her, it may also be fact. There may also be adoption professionals skilled in ensuring the mother feels like she has no voice, and will follow the plan, regardless if she wants to change her mind. I think it is the duty of everyone involved to make sure that the expectant mother is protected, and given the space to make that choice all over again, after her baby is born.
There are other points in the article that shouldn’t need to be pointed out at all. And if they must be pointed out then it’s probably better to be extremely blunt so they get it, things like the expectant mother must be in control and the prospective parents are guests.
“[…] It helps if you can view this as her hospital experience. Check in with her and ask how things are going. At the same time, offer her time alone with the baby while you take a break (go back to the hotel and take a nap, or shop for baby items). Some birth mothers have complained that the adopting couple was always in the room, and they never had any time alone with the baby. You will have plenty of time with the baby when you get home!” (bolding mine)
This IS her hospital experience, she’s the one pregnant, giving birth, and most importantly, she’s THE mom until those papers are signed. If you don’t already understand that basic premise, sigh, then it might also seem to be mighty generous to offer her time alone with HER baby. A mother stating that the adopting couple was always in the room speaks to how entitled some feel to a baby that is not yet, and may never be, theirs.
This whole article bothered me, triggered me…I think the pendulum has swung too far and needs to swing back to where an expectant mother is the only one in control. I feel very strongly about this, enough to weigh in, adopting parents need to think of the long-term – how will their child react if they feel their mother by birth felt pushed to go along with the plan, rather than making that choice on her own, without any pressure, especially by the prospective parents. It mattered to me that my parents didn’t play any role in what my mother decided to do in regards to me. I hope any prospective parent reading this understands the difference it can make to a relationship with your child that needs to be strong enough to last a lifetime…
Now getting back to what originally triggered me to start writing was to ask my friends and readers reading this to weigh in on the naming part of this post, specifically, who should be part of the naming on the babies original birth certificate (the OBC) NOT the amended birth certificate. I’ve created the short survey below based on I have read that is currently happening, I’ve tried to word two different statements as either/or so while there are four statements in total only pick the two statements that best matches your view. In the other box, please be so kind as to note what role you play in adoption, if any.