The Hospital Experience for Birth Mothers

For birth mothers, the hospital stay is incredibly strenuous both physically and mentally. Because of this, it is important to set up a hospital plan, so that you can be fully prepared for what to expect. In the hospital, the birth mother has options about what she wants to do both before, during, and after birth. In Missouri, there are specific practices that help birth mothers through the hospital stay process. Below is some specific information for birth parents looking to create a hospital plan in the state of Missouri.

Consent for adoption: In Missouri, before the adoption can become official, there is a 48- hour waiting period. After that 48 hours, the birth mother can officially give her consent. The birth father, if present, can give his consent at any point during the 48 hours. After this period, formal consent must be submitted in writing. The birth mother, the birth father (if he established paternity), and the adoptive parents, must all consent to the adoption. In addition, there must be two other witnesses present. After this, there is typically a 3-day waiting period before the adoption can be finalized legally. During these 3 days, the birth mother is able to think about her decision. Even if she initially consented to the adoption, she has the right to change her mind. Once it is formally reviewed and accepted by the court, the adoption is official. During this period, the birth mother also has a right to choose how she wants to spend it with her baby. This is why it is important to come up with an appropriate hospital plan to meet your individual needs.

 Creating a hospital plan: A birth mother has complete control about how she wants her hospital experience to be. In Missouri, a birth mother even has the option to decide if she wants the adoptive parents in the delivery room at the time of the birth. She also can decide who gets to hold the child first. Once the birth occurs, the birth mother can decide how many visitors she can have during the hospital stay and who is able to come to visit you and your new baby. The birth mother also has the right to name her baby, even if the adoptive parents decide to legally change the name after the adoption. During your hospital stay, a birth mother also can decide how much time she spends with the child. While the decision is up to the mother, statistics indicate that spending more time with your child, while difficult, can help the birth mother grieve and give her the closure she needs.

After the birth: Once the baby is born and placed with their adoptive family, the adoption process continues. The adoption plan has been decided on continues. The birth mother will have worked out an appropriate agreement with the adoptive parents about how much contact she will be able to have with the child. The birth mother is also given the appropriate resources to help with the grieving process. It is important to remember that the hospital stay is one of the most emotional parts of the process. Remember that all your feelings about the situation are valid and important. Because of this, it is important to understand your rights and know that even if you made a pre-existing hospital plan, you can change your mind at any point.

Julianna McKenna is a college student at Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana double majoring in English Writing and Psychology. She is passionate about adoption and foster care and is considering a career in adoption law or counseling. In January 2019, Julianna became an intern for Adoption Choices of Kansas, Inc. She is incredibly dedicated to promoting children’s rights and is excited to research and advocate for children.




Adoptions Together. (2018, August 07). Placing a Baby for adoption and your hospital stay. Retrieved from

American Adoptions, Inc. (n.d.). “What does adoption mean to a child?” Retrieved from

How to adopt in Missouri. (n.d.) Retrieved from

In the Hospital and Adoption Placement

One of the rights of the birth mother is to create her birth plan, which will be used to share her wishes and preferences about labor and delivery with the hospital staff. Adoption Choices of Missouri is very supportive in helping a birth mother create her ideal birth plan.

In an open adoption, the adoptive parents might be invited to share their wishes for the birth process as well, such as whether they prefer certain types of pain medication (or no medication) to be used during delivery. Ultimately, however, decisions affecting pregnancy and birth will be made by the birth mother, for it is ultimately her body and birth experience. The birth mother is considered the parent of the child during the birth process and therefore has the right and the responsibility to make all decisions for herself and her child.

The birth mother also has the right to keep all hospital items, such as bracelets worn by herself and the baby, the bassinet announcement card from the nursery, first pictures, etc. She can choose to give these items to the adoptive parents if she desires, but this is not required as part of the adoption process.

The time in the hospital is also one where the birth mother must consider whether she truly wishes to go through with and complete the adoption process or whether she has changed her mind. Again, until she signs the formal papers, regardless of the agreement up to that point with the adoptive parents, she is still the parent and has the right to change her mind. Adoption Choices will support any decision you make and provide the proper counseling and information for all of your choices.


If the birth mother decides that she wants to proceed with the adoption, the next step is saying goodbye to her child. This can be done in many ways depending on the type of adoption and the wishes of those involved. In a closed or semi-open adoption, it is possible that the birth mother will spend no time with the baby in the hospital. However, in an open adoption, she will likely have spent time caring for and being with the baby and therefore, will need to officially say goodbye.

In some cases, the birth mother may say goodbye while still in the hospital or upon discharge, while in other cases, she may actually take the child home for a few days or weeks leading up to formally signing the petition for adoption papers. The latter course can be undertaken as an added period during which she may continue contemplating her decision to adopt while experiencing the reality of taking care of a newborn.

Some birth mothers in an open adoption situation choose to do a placement ceremony where family and friends are invited to witness the handing over of the child to the new adoptive parents and the uniting of the two families. Some birth mothers may videotape their goodbye in order to have a record (for themselves or the adoptive parents) of the special time with the baby. Finally, some birth mothers prefer a quiet goodbye that is spent with the baby alone before a third party removes the baby and gives him/her to the adoptive family. Choice of the manner in which to say goodbye is definitely a personal decision that each birth mother needs to make based on her comfort and wishes regarding the official release of her parental rights and responsibilities.

In open adoptions, a post-adoption contact agreement will be made before the baby is born. This agreement, that the birth mother makes with the adoptive parents, describes the form the relationship between the new adoptive family and birth mother will take, spelling out the varieties of contact that may happen between the birth mother, adoptive parents and the child. In addition to governing the frequency and type of contact, this agreement will typically also address whether any other family members of the birth mother may have contact with the child, such as the biological grandparents or extended family. The post-adoption contact agreement may be modified in the future if both parties agree, or as circumstances change (for example, if the child is told he/she is adopted and then desires more contact with the birth mother or family).

If you would like more information regarding how the birth or placement process works in adoption, please contact one our of adoption specialists at Adoption Choices of Missouri or call us toll free at: 1-877-903-4488

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If you are pregnant and looking to explore adoption options confidentially, please enter your name, number, or email. Let us know if you prefer us to call, text, or email you. It is 100% free, and we are available 24/7.