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Adoption Discharge Process – Adopted Baby’s Discharge From Hospital

You’re thinking of making an adoption plan, or perhaps you’ve already started the process.  One question most women ask is what happens after birth and what’s the process to discharge baby from the hospital.  This article explains the discharge process.

The process to discharge baby from the hospital

discharge baby hospitalYou can make decisions about discharge before the baby is born.  Some women decide at the last minute at the hospital.  Generally speaking, you have a few options.  These are:

  • Ask the hospital to discharge baby directly to you
  • Allow the hospital to discharge baby to the adoptive parents
  • Request that the hospital discharge the baby to someone else

The hospital must have your permission to discharge baby to someone other than you.  In California, if you want baby discharged to the adoptive parents, there’s a specific form you will sign permitting this.  Other states, and individual hospitals,  have different rules regarding discharge.

You are not required to bring your baby home if baby is discharged to you

Many women are concerned that if hospitals discharge baby directly to them, they must bring baby home.  Their concern is that they will bond with the baby making the adoption plan much more difficult.  Some women have kept the pregnancy private and don’t want to bring a baby home to family and friends.   On the other hand, it might also be a good idea to bring baby home if you are truly uncertain about adoption.  You can still place the baby for adoption if you later discover that adoption is the best choice for you and your baby.

Discharge baby to birth parent’s representative

In some states, the baby may be officially discharged into the care of the birth parent’s representative. This representative may be her attorney or it may be another person, such as the representative of an adoption agency. This organization has official custody of the child until the adoption is finalized.

Cradle Care or Transitional Care

In some states or in some adoption situations, you may need to wait for a number of days or weeks to bring your new family member home. This is because the child needs to move into cradle care or transitional care. The baby is discharged into the care of a social worker and remains in the care of a foster family for a time as the adoption process moves on. This may happen as part of the standard adoption process, as the birth parents terminate their parental rights and the adoptive family becomes the child’s adoptive parents.

baby discharge cradle careSometimes, cradle care occurs when the birth mother needs time to decide about an adoption or when a child is born and moves immediately into care as the family explores the potential of adoption.  Doctors can evaluate baby’s medical conditions, if any, while baby is in cradle care.



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Are you pregnant and thinking about adoption for your baby? I can help. You can send me your questions about adoption or ask me to send you more information. Your communication with me is always confidential, and you’re never under any obligation to do an adoption. I’m here to help, not to pressure you or tell you what to do.


Megan Cohen, Birth Attorney

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