Guest Author - Karen Ledbetter
Some agencies require prospective adoptive parents to take infant care classes and/or infant CPR classes. Even if not required by your agency, I highly recommend both. The Child Birth Educator at a local hospital was delighted to give us a private class (instead of with a group of pregnant parents) at no cost. We received the same bag full of baby "stuff" that other new parents receive, as well as tons of valuable information.
If you´re adopting from another state, don´t let the fear of being away from home for a prolonged period intimidate you. This can be a wonderful time for you and your baby to bond in privacy. Familiarize yourself with that state´s adoption laws and Interstate Compact requirements. Collect the names and phone numbers of people in your state´s Interstate Compact office and adoption agency, and don´t forget to pack the list. Research accommodations in or near your adoption agency´s city. I recommend a suite-type hotel, such as Residence Inn instead. A reasonably priced studio apartment contains a furnished kitchen, which is convenient for warming bottles and cooking meals.
Plan a travel itinerary. Touring with a newborn in tow isn´t easy, but it can be done in small increments of time. We have photos of our newborn in her dad´s arms, drinking a bottle on the beach!
Make sure your driver´s license, safety inspection sticker, and car license plate are all up-to-date. Have prescriptions refilled and take at least a two-week supply with you. Ask your doctor to write new prescriptions if necessary. This includes contact lenses. Pack over-the-counter medications, such as Tylenol, Dramamine, and Imodium, also.
Once Baby´s clothes are washed, pack his/her suitcase. If you´re driving and have room, consider packing a portable crib, in addition to the suitcase full of tiny clothes, blankets, baby towels, bottles, pacifiers, diapers, and wipes. Don´t forget the carseat! Take a portable CD player and lullabies, too.
Take your pre-addressed birth/adoption announcements to complete and mail to friends and family to share your good news before returning home! Keep in touch with family and special friends back home with a phone card. Don´t forget the list of phone numbers, mailing addresses, and e-mail addresses that you may need while away from home!
Baby-proof your home by covering electrical outlets, blocking stairwells with baby gates, and installing safety latches on cabinet doors and drawers so you´ll be ready when Baby becomes mobile.
Write a letter to your baby´s birth mother (and birth father if he´s involved the adoption process), to be left at the agency for her.
Most of all, enjoy preparing for Baby´s arrival, and get lots of sleep!