Question about transitional care — The Bump

Question about transitional care

Hi everyone,

I have only posted once or twice, but I read the discussions here often. I was wondering if one of you might have some insight on the topic of transitional care in domestic adoptions?

I was browsing the website of the agency that we are interested in today, and it says that when your baby is released from the hospital they go home with a transitional care family until placement day. I have no idea what kind of time frame that is and it is causing me to have second thoughts. I am not sure why, but I had always assumed that you and your spouse take your child home from the hospital.

Why do they do this, and how long does the stay with the transitional family usually last? Is this the way that it works with all agencies, and what are the pros and cons of this arrangement? 

I would really appreciate any thoughts, or info you might have on this topic.

Thanks!! :-) 


Re: Question about transitional care

  • Our agency used transitional care (sometimes called cradle care, too) in some cases.  If a birthmom was having trouble deciding if she was going to place her child for adoption or if she wanted to parent, the agency might recommend the baby go into this type of care temporarily.  (It was a local family who would take care of the baby.  In most cases, you as the adoptive parents could go and visit the baby.)  It could be a few days or it could be a few weeks, depending on how long it took the birthmom to decide or how long it took for TPR (termination of parental rights) to be signed.

    In our case, our dd's birthmom wanted dd to come home from the hospital with us.  It did take a month until our dd's birthmom went to court to sign the TPR - it's up to the court to give a date for that.  In our state, it can be even longer.  During that time dd's birthmom could have decided to parent, even though we were taking care of our daughter. 

    Our agency told us that if the birthmom wants the baby to come home with you, the chance of her signing TPR is about 85% (maybe even a little higher.)  I'm sure it varies with each agency, though. 

    I wouldn't have second thoughts about it if I were you.  Every situation is different with adoption -- in some cases this type of care is needed to help the birthmom make a decision. It may be used in some other cases, too --- maybe other members on this board can offer their experiences with it. 



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  • You already know a little of my story from our PM exchange, but I?ll elaborate a little in case it helps you or anyone else interested in this topic.  For our adoption of DD#1, the birth father was originally onboard.  Although he and BM weren?t together, he helped pick our profile. Then, we it came time to talk to us, he was MIA.  Wouldn?t return calls from the agency, wouldn?t return calls from the BM.  Our agency sent a server to give him the papers to sign.  He took them, said he would sign them, but never did.  Didn?t contact anyone.

    Our agency isn?t comfortable placing a child in the home if there is a legal risk.  Although the chances of birth father showing up to parent were slight, he hadn?t signed so our agency (and we) agreed it would be better to have DD in transitional care until the courts were able to terminate his rights without his signature (30 days in TX).  Although those were 30 tough days (especially since we were in the delivery room and cared for her in the hospital for the first 48 hours),  I couldn?t imagine having her in our home for even one hour and then having to place her back with her biological father.

    At first I was sad, as I had always dreamed of bringing a baby home from the hospital, but her transition care families were great. They really doted on her, took lots of pictures, called us every couple of days to let us know how she was doing.  In fact, we are still in contact after 3 years.  Plus, she came home with an ?instruction manual?.  J

    DD#2 was in transition care for about 36 hours.  Her birth parents chose us when she was 48 hours old and they were leaving the hospital.  They planned to sign the TPR papers the next day.  So, they left the hospital and DD#2 went to transition care.  They signed the next day and we picked her up the following morning.

    So, generally (at least in our agency), transition care is used only when there is a legal risk.  I was told that sometimes, the girls living in the dorm want to have "nursery visits" for the first week.  Generally, even though they still plan to place, they want to "show off" the baby to the other birth moms living in the dorm.  I think this is usually only happens with the teen moms (our birth mothers were in their 20s) and when it does, they place them in transition care and have the transition care parents bring them up to the dorm. 

    But, transition care isn't a given.  I?ve met many families who took their child home straight from the hospital as both birth parents signed the papers. 

    As I mentioned, transition care is not most adoptive parent's dream situation, but the families who care for the babies are WONDERFUL and do it because they love it (at our agency, they aren?t paid).

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  • We adopted in Wisconsin, where TPR is typically about 30 days.  That is the first thing to check---TPR timeline in your state.

    Wisconsin does allow legal risk (taking the baby home from the hospital before TPR is signed).  Our agency does not encourage this, and almost always uses transitional/bridge care.  Their thinking is that it protects the adoptive parents before an adoption is certain, and it allows the birth parents to ensure that they want to continue with the plan.  Birth parents and adoptive parents are allowed to visit while baby is in bridge care.

    I have a friend who did a legal risk and the birth mother changed her mind after 6 weeks and baby was returned.  I also have other friends who had a seamless situation.  Impossible to predict.

    Our son went to bridge care when he was released from the hospital.  Initially, I was stressed and disappointed about not bringing home right away.  But in the end, it turned out wonderfully.  Our son's birthmom had a difficult time emotionally with her decision to place.  I know all birth mothers do, but she has some anxiety, and really needed a longer transition time.  She visited him many times, and we even went together once.  I think seeing me in "mom" role really helped her.

    Our bridge care family was exceptionally loving.  I learned how to bathe the baby and how to tend to his basic needs from Q's bridge care mom.  She called me nightly with an update on him (we lived 4 hours away) and we visited many times over the 3 weeks he was there.  We still keep in touch.

    He came home the day TPR was signed.  We had a beautiful entrustment ceremony at the bridge care family's home.  The day he came home was completely joyous because we knew that he was ours forever.

    I know it is nerve-wrecking, but please do not reconsider domestic adoption just because of transitional care.  We had no issues with bonding AT ALL.  I still felt like I was the mom to a newborn.  There were plenty of sleepless nights when he came home, lol.  

    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker<Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker>
  • Our son went into cradle care for one night.  Honestly, it was no big deal.  You would need to talk to the agency to find out about the length of time, as the time the parents sign their surrender of parental rights documents varies by state.  We were at the hospital when our son was discharged and sent home with the cradle care family.  We met her and she was very nice.  The birth parents signed their documents the next morning, and we met at the agency office right after to pick him up and get our placement documents.  They do this because they don't want a family taking a baby home from the hospital, the birth parents changing their minds, and the adoptive parents to having to give the baby back.  
  • We had a match fall through that was going to require "cradle care".

    It was in Louisiana, and the attorney we were working with had babies go into "cradle care" until TPR was signed.  The attorney had one foster mom that managed the babies he helped place.  She would allow the PAPs into her home to bond with the baby all day, if they chose to do so. 

    When we thought that this was going to be our arrangement, it actually sounded quiet pleasant.  It allowed us to have time with our baby while still waiting out TPR. 

    image Best friends and sisters... 24 months and 16 months
  • Thank you all for that information. I think now that I understand what transitional care is and why they do it, I feel a little better about it. I wouldn't want to take a child home and then have it taken away from us. My biggest concern was that we live 6 hours away from the agency we are interested in and have another child at home, which might make it a bit difficult to be there, if our child were to be in transitional care for 30 days. However, I'm sure we would figure out a way to make it work. I guess its just difficult to imagine your child so far away and with strangers for the first days or even weeks of their life, instead of at home with you and your family. We are still learning about all of the intricacies of adoption which we were totally oblivious to a few months ago. 
    Slaintexas, thanks for your input. I am so glad to know that Gladney has wonderful transition care families and that its not a given that the baby will go into transitional care, but that it is assessed on a case by case basis. It makes me feel much better knowing that there is a chance that we could take the baby home from the hospital if the situation is right, but that if it is not, they have a system in place to do what is best for everyone involved. 
    We actually sent in our initial information sheet and our family photo yesterday, so I guess we will wait and see if we are accepted! We are very excited. 
    Thanks for the info everyone!  :-)
  • I used the same agency (gladney). My son was in transitional care for 3d. He came home with a neat report about their time together. I obviously wanted him home with me but in retrospect, it was nice knowing someone experienced was caring for him.
    33 yo, DH with MFI Iui x4, Dec 2009 to Jan2011 all BFN.... IVF May 2011 BFP, mc June 2011 at 6.5 weeks, FET Oct 2011 BFP! Sweet baby girl born 25 June 2012** started adoption process Feb 2010, approved Oct 2010, failed match in delivery rooms Feb & Aug 2011... Birthmom called back 3d after we returned home. Aug 26 2011, our sweet baby boy comes home for good!!
  • Thanks! 
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