When you give birth to a child at the hospital, there are a lot of little ‘token keepsakes’ that go along with the experience. Things like the warming hat, the first t-shirt, and the heirloom birth certificate often accompany mom and baby when they leave the hospital.

However, if you’re making an adoption plan for your baby, you may have a decision to make regarding these items. Ideally, hospitals should be more adoption friendly when it comes to creating and distributing heirloom items like the ones mentioned above, nevertheless it might pay to discuss these issues early on. Communicate your desire to have the hospital staff create duplicate items, so that in addition to the set that you are able to keep, you can also send a set with the adoptive family. They may want them for the child when he or she is older.

Something else that can easily be overlooked is access to newborn pictures taken at the hospital. Often, hospitals will contract with a photography service who comes in and takes newborn photos of the child while he or she is still in the nursery. Problems can arise later when the pictures are ready for purchase, but have been flagged ‘adoption’. This will often limit your access to these photos, requiring you to work through the adoption professional involved in the adoption to gain access. If you think you might be interested in having the ability to order newborn photos, make sure you communicate this clearly with the professional you’re working with. It will be important that they know you wish to have access and it will be equally important that they be willing to provide that access after placement.


Remember that the time in the hospital is your time. If you’re not able to obtain duplicate items, you are the one who gets to decide how the items will be distributed. There is nothing wrong with wanting to retain a piece of the experience for yourself, so if that is something you want to do, make sure you communicate that to everyone involved.

Opening up the lines of communication with the hospital staff, your caseworker, and even the potential adoptive family will ensure that you get to keep whatever items you wish to keep from the birthing experience.