Top 10 Things to Pack for the Hospital for Adoptive Parents

What to Pack for the Hospital

Congratulations! You made it through the background checks, essay questions, blood tests, tightrope walking, and shark cages — you’re approved to adopt!!

With our agency, as soon as you are approved, you could get a call AT. ANY. MOMENT.

And that’s exactly what happened.

I expected a long wait, but after 18 days of being active, I got a phone call. At 3:30pm. On a regular old Tuesday afternoon.

And he was already born!

I’m SO glad that I had over-prepared and packed a hospital bag just in case this happened. And you will be too. So here’s what you’ll need.

1. Car Seat. You can’t bring that beautiful baby home without a safe car seat installed correctly. Remember, newborns are tiny so be sure to have that little insert ready, too.
2. Blankets. More specifically, two swaddle blankets and two receiving blankets (gender neutral colors, of course) and perhaps a carseat cover to protect from colder weather.
3. Diaper Bag. With a few newborn diapers, wipes, pacifiers, and burp cloths inside.
4. Camera. Your smartphone just won’t cut it for this occassion. I’m bringing my big camera and a video camera. And if I could afford it, I would hire a production company to record every single second of the hospital experience.
5. Overnight bag for you and your spouse. With our first adoption, we were fortunate to be able to stay at the hospital for a few days with our son and his birthmom. Comfy clothes are important. But make sure they are presentable (see number 4 above) there will be pictures. lots of them.
6. Special gift for Birthmother.  There is no monetary gift that can accurately portray the gratitude in an adoptive parent’s heart, but I think it is important to show your child’s first mother that she is important to you, and always will be. Be aware, though, that there are laws that limit the amount you spend on a gift for a birthmother so be careful. Think sentimental and long-term. If you are entering an open adoption, a special keepsake box filled with pampering items would be nice, or an adoption bracelet with a letter is also thoughtful.
7. Chargers! Camera chargers, phone chargers, laptop chargers. This is the #1 thing that my husband and I forget. Put all important phone numbers (pediatrician, adoption agency, etc…) and information in your phone and don’t forget the charger.
8. Journal. The hospital adoption experience is an extreme ride of emotional ups and downs. I regret not writing down my thoughts and feelings after the first time I held my son. Someday I want to be able to share with my children about the enormous amount of love that surrounded them during their birth.
9. Newborn outfit. I think it’s smart to have at least one special gender-neutral outfit ready in case things happen quickly. Including those adorable little mittens to protect their face from scratches. Or a boy outfit and girl outfit, lets be honest, it’s fun to shop for those things while you’re waiting.
10. Important paperwork. Think of what you’ll need at the hospital to prove to the hospital social worker that you’re the agency-approved adoptive family. Bring ID’s, approval letter, and anything else necessary. The agency should provide the rest of the paperwork.

I’m operating under the assumption that the hospital will provide enough formula for the baby to make the trip home. Once you get home with your baby, there are five gazillion other things you will need, but hopefully this list will help with your hospital planning.

**If you’re entering an open adoption, check out my next post about a stuffed bear and a blanket.**

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