• Melanie Feldman

Instant Placement-What is expected from adoptive families?

So you have finally made it on the waitlist and are waiting to get that magic phone call about an expectant birth parent who has chosen you ,when all of a sudden you get the call that a baby has been born. ABC staff refers to these situations as an instant placement. Everything a social worker typically does in a 3-4 month time period now gets completed in 24 hours. Sometimes it takes a birth parent until they have delivered to realize they need to make an adoption plan. It is as this time that ABC will get contacted by the hospital social worker informing us of a new birth mom. For families, this is a very emotional and stress driven time period.

If this situation arises, do make every attempt to clear your day and come to the hospital. It is important for the birth parent to meet you and for you to meet your child. There is no expectation that you have a car seat and diapers when you come to the hospital for that first meeting. You will have time to purchase these items prior to discharge. The only item required for discharge is a car seat, as the hospital will provide you with some diapers and formula for the trip home.

While birth mom and baby are in the hospital it is important to be attentive to their needs. Some birth parents will want to provide baby care while others will want you to be at the hospital. This is your time to ask nurses everything from feeding, changing, bathing, to umbilical cord care. This is the perfect opportunity to practice feedings and changing your son or daughter.

When will the lawyer arrive to take the adoptive consent? During an instant placement, ABC will contact a lawyer and make arrangements for them to take the adoptive consent. However, because the lawyer has not been previously advised, we are subject to their availability. Sometimes the consent may be taken in the evening or the following day because the lawyer is in court or attending other matters.

Because everything occurs in such a short duration of time it’s not uncommon to feel that you haven’t really ‘connected’ with your birth parent. This takes time and following discharge it is important to look at building this relationship. There are occasions where a birth parent may not feel comfortable meeting at the hospital and they may choose to do this following the adoptive placement. The social worker from ABC will guide you through this process and let you know how the birth parent is doing and what type of contact would be beneficial.

Emotions run high for adoptive families during an instant placement, one day you’re at work, the next day you are bringing your son or daughter home from the hospital. It is important to access family supports during this time period. Many adoptive families are amazed at their support circle and how everyone rallies behind them (bringing them food, clothing, baby items etc.) For most, everyone is overjoyed with your experience and has been a part of your journey for many years. Instant placements are exciting, hectic and emotional. It is also important to also access support from ABC. We are here to guide you through the process and answer any questions you may have. Laura Swift BSW, RSW Supervisor, Domestic Adoption Program


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