A network of adoptive families, birth families, and adoption professionals which exists to improve the lives of children and others touched by adoption through support and education. UFA is actively engaged in community outreach and advocacy to raise awareness of adoption as a loving option.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Hospital Outreach

Part of our adoption journey involved welcoming a premature baby home. It was our third adoption. We felt we knew what to expect from the adoption process. However, the experience of having a baby in the intensive care unit for an extended period of time was very new to us.
image by SarieHopkins
It was this hospital experience that provided an opportunity to educate the hospital staff about the adoption process. We began sharing our story and, along the way, dispelled myths. It was this adoption that enlightened us as a couple regarding the value of conducting hospital outreach. Here are some ideas for Hospital Outreach.
  • Be willing to share your story. Whether in your hospital experience or after your adoption placement. Talk with the nurses attending the baby, and other staff members.
image by Sarah Parrott
  • After placement, send a baby announcement to the unit. Send correspondence often such as Christmas cards. Thank the staff for the part they played in uniting your family.
  • Speak with the nurse manager. Provide pamphlets on adoption and offer to talk with staff during inservice trainings. 
  • Establish a relationship with the social worker for Labor/Delivery and the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit). Provide pamphlets and information on adoption resources in the community. 
  • Volunteer to meet with other adoptive couples who are experiencing placements in the hospital. The unit social worker recently contacted me to visit with an adoptive mom who was adopting a baby but without an agency and she wanted someone to talk to. I was glad the social worker felt she could contact me. 
  • Provide adoption stats and information to the unit as part of the unit newsletter.
  • Have a care package for birthmoms available for the social work department. Having a basket (for example, from Birthmother Baskets or Blessings in a Basket) ready for use in the social worker's office not only makes a basket available it reminds the social worker of adoption. 
  • Make a donation, or organize a donation drive. There is always a need for cards, scrapbooking supplies, baby items, gift cards for restaurants, or monetary contributions that can be used to support someone who needs it. Our local adoption organization collected baby clothes, scrapbook supplies, and blankets for the NICU. 
We recently were invited to share our NICU experience with the nursing staff as part of their training. Of course we talked about our experience and how service could be improved and what was positive about our experience. However, we also took the opportunity to discuss adoption.

Hospital Outreach is a valuable opportunity to educate the health care community about adoption. This experience might assist a prospective mother in making an adoption plan.
- Christine Anderson

We'd like to hear from you. Have you been involved in educating hospital staff about adoption? What about birth parents?  Is there a need for educating hospital staff on how to be supportive of your adoption plan? What could have been done differently in your experience? 
Comment below, or submit your story for the blog.

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