Could This Get Any More Complicated? Supporting Adoptions and Surrogates in the Birth Place
Article first published online: 14 JUN 2012
© 2012 AWHONN, the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses
Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing
Special Issue: 2012 Convention Proceedings
Volume 41, Issue s1, page S26, June 2012
How to Cite
Weber, D. K. and Vahle, R. (2012), Could This Get Any More Complicated? Supporting Adoptions and Surrogates in the Birth Place. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing, 41: S26. doi: 10.1111/j.1552-6909.2012.01359_33.x
- Issue published online: 14 JUN 2012
- Article first published online: 14 JUN 2012
- hospital based;
- Birth Place
Purpose for the Program
The families in our communities are often told by adoption agencies and surrogate companies that hospitals do not understand their unique situations. They are told to prepare themselves for insensitive comments and challenging attitudes. Sadly, the level of care and understanding offered during these hospital stays is largely reliant upon the staff's education about adoption and surrogate protocol. Because only 12% of adoptions are closed adoptions, the challenge of serving the birth family and the adoptive family within the Parker Adventist Hospital's BirthPlace delivery unit is ever present. In surrogacy, families have a business agreement surrounding the pregnancy and birth, so there are multiple families involved in the hospital stay. Adoption and surrogacy can create unexpected challenges in the hospital setting. As a hospital we owe all families who come through our delivery unit a high level of respect and we must ensure that we care for these families appropriately.
Our hospital has developed a program to support the special needs of our unique families. The Family to Family Adoption Support program began in 2005 at Parker Adventist Hospital and has grown to include mandatory staff education, adoption-sensitive materials, and supportive guidelines for all parties involved in the adoption process. We have found in the past 3 years that this program also serves our surrogate population. There are many similarities in the hospital dynamics for surrogate and adoption placements. Each hospital can take the top five initiatives out of our established program and begin changing the culture in their facility.
Implementation, Outcomes, and Evaluation
In our facility, we identified an area of weakness and developed a support role and curriculum to support staff development. The position of adoption liaison was created to support families and implement this program. The program utilizes the Infant Adoption Initiative Training for all staff in the Birth Place. We also partner with pregnancy centers and clinics throughout the Denver area. This outreach also impacts those considering utilizing a surrogate and thus delivering a child surrounded by a sensitive and educated staff.
Implications for Nursing Practice
The very heart of the program is the transition support in the Birth Place. During a unique delivery situation, the program supports all families involved to encourage healing and empowerment for all parties.