Ways that COVID-19 is Affecting Adoptions

COVID-19 is affecting the whole world right now, from miniscule details of our daily lives to our future plans. And in those details of our daily lives and future plans, it is having a profound impact on adoptions. Everyone involved in an adoption plan is having to change every aspect of that “plan.” Having a baby is scary enough – even more so when you have to do it alone, without your support team you were planning on having, and even more than that when you have made the decision to place your baby for adoption.

My heart hurts for all the adoptive parents who don’t get to be at the hospital to see their birth mom deliver their baby or even see their baby after he or she is born. Right now, they’re having to wait days to meet that baby. And it is stressful and agonizing for them, to be sitting at home waiting for news that the baby they have been praying for and waiting for is finally here – and they don’t get to be there. In some cases, you’re even sitting in your car in the hospital parking lot just so you can be as close as possible, sending all of the prayers and positivity to your birth mama inside, hoping that she can feel your support all the way to the 4th floor.

And after your new addition is here, then the real agonizing begins…your birth mom will be alone in the hospital for 48 hours with YOUR baby. Will she change her mind? Will she keep in touch? What if she leaves with the baby and we never hear from her again? All of these thoughts are running through your mind, on repeat for the next two days. And it’s difficult to cope with and not think the worst of all the things. No one is there to take those precious hospital newborn photos, or take photos of delivery, we aren’t there right away to do skin to skin and bond with him. What if we don’t get to pick him up from the hospital? What if our birth mom can’t sign her Surrender because the Courts are closed? Will our ICPC packet still be processed, can we still leave the State and take our baby home? So many variables and not nearly as many answers right now.

But you, as adoptive parents, need to take a step back and breathe. Adoptive parents are not the ones suffering during this Pandemic; yes it sucks that you don’t get to be at the hospital for the birth or that you don’t get to take pictures holding your minutes old baby you’ve been waiting and praying for. It’s nerve wracking that you don’t get to be in the hospital at all – no bonding rooms or visitation, no meeting the baby until they are discharged from the hospital. But you still get to meet your baby when they are discharged from the hospital and take them home; it might be a couple days later than you hoped for, but what’s 2 more days when you have been waiting for this moment for 9 months, a year, or several years?

The real MVP in this insanity we are living in right now is your birth mom. She is already making an unbelievably difficult, brave and selfless decision and now, she has to do it alone. She is quite literally the strongest woman you will ever meet. If she is lucky, she will deliver at a hospital that is still allowing one support person – but if not, she will be alone. Sure, there will be a doctor and a couple of nurses in the delivery room and a steady stream of nurses in and out of the hospital room checking on her and the baby the next couple of days. But that isn’t the support or love that she needs right now. She needs her mom, her sister, her boyfriend, her best friend, someone that is on her side and there for her. She needs and deserves everyone to be there for her. She wants her family to be there for her, and to meet her baby and be able to see and spend time together before he or she goes to his adoptive parents.

So while it is sad that you as adoptive parents don’t get to be there from the beginning and might have to wait two more days to meet your baby, the real travesty in this pandemic is the lack of support our birth mom’s receive, especially during delivery and in the hospital. Being alone in the hospital with her thoughts, with a baby she plans on placing is exhausting and emotionally and mentally draining. And it is heart breaking that she doesn’t get to have her whole world there to support her, she deserves it more than anyone. Because at the end of the day, you are still going home with a baby while your birth mom goes home with empty arms to try and navigate her trauma and loss.

Adoptions are considered time sensitive and most babies don’t like to enter this world on a schedule, so adoptions are still happening. Surrenders are still being signed and filed with the Court and ICPC packets are still being processed. Your needs as adoptive parents are still being met, but take a moment and ask yourself amid all of this craziness, are your birth moms?