5 Things Every New Adoptive Mom Needs To Do

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5 Things Every New Adoptive Mom Needs To Do (And Not Do)

Most times adoptions take years… and then all of a sudden you find out you are going to be welcoming your much anticipated baby into your life. For us, we had less than 30 days from deciding to adopt to when the little one was born.

It was crazy and awesome and a whole mess of other emotions.

When I was pregnant with my two older daughters I was never able to set up a nursery or do much shopping or planning because I was either in the hospital or on strict bedrest… and it was right when online shopping started, plus we had the dreaded dial up so shopping for anything took days! So when I found out I was going to welcome a new baby I wanted to shop like I’ve never shopped before… I so enjoyed those days, but I also learned a few lessons that I’m sharing today.

Welcoming a baby born to you or via adoption is pretty much the same once they are in your arms, but there are a few things that we adoptive moms (and dads) need to do.

1. Do. Explain that hospital visits might not be possible to friends and family. Everyone wants to come to the hospital to meet the new baby. For most situations, even if it’s an open adoption, the baby is still legally the birth mother’s. It’s her time. Her time to be a mom. The baby and their mom need this time and it’s not the adoptive parents’ time to show off their new baby. Plus it’s the right thing to do. Respecting the birth mother and her time with her baby sets up a healthy relationship between you all for a lifetime. 

2. Do. Plan a “meet the baby” party for after the baby’s birth. You will be antsy and restless and you will need something to take your mind off everything. Don’t send out invites, but plan it all out so that once the time is here you can just follow the steps you planned. Trust me, once your baby is here you won’t have the time or energy to plan it then. 

3. Don’t. go overboard on baby stuff. It doesn’t matter how you are welcoming a new child to your family, adopted or biological, remember babies don’t need much. Wait till your baby is in your home till you buy beyond the basics. You’ll be surprised at how different each baby is and their needs.

4. Do. Enjoy every moment and take tons of pictures. The early days are some of the most special ones. Whether you are welcoming your new child at age 10 or right when they are born, these are your first days as a family and they are thrilling and challenging at the same time. Take more pictures than you can imagine is necessary. Each picture tells a story and you will cherish these. 

5. Do. Consider getting a whooping cough vaccine. Pertussis aka whooping cough is a highly communicable disease that infects the lungs resulting in uncontrollable, violent coughing which often makes it hard to breathe. People with pertussis often need to take deep breaths which result in a “whooping” sound. When you are pregnant you are advised to get the whooping cough vaccine in the 3rd trimester of each pregnancy to pass the protection to the baby. Pregnant moms may know about the importance of protecting your new baby from Pertussis, but adoptive parents don’t get the same pre-baby counselling. When we learned that the little one was on her way, making sure that we were all vaccinated to protect our new baby was at the top of our list. It made sense for our family to do this after speaking with our own doctors and the girls’ (and new baby’s soon to be) pediatrician. I remember during this time there was a shortage of vaccines and I called Walgreens, and they had just a few left. I explained the situation and they held them for us. For the first few years of the little one’s life the Pharmacist that gave us those vaccines was still at the same location and we stopped in all the time to see her just to show her how much her kindness means to us and our healthy daughter!

Grandparents and others that will be around your new baby should also consider getting vaccinated.

The focus on protecting infants from pertussis is because infants are at greatest risk of serious complications from whooping cough- even death, especially within the first 6 months of life. Most babies get infected by those around them including grandparents and about half of babies under age of 1 who have whooping cough must be hospitalized.

If getting a pertussis vaccine is the right decision for your family, Walgreens is a great place to get it. Walgreens offers whooping cough vaccines whenever the pharmacy is open with no appointment necessary.

Walgreens has partnered with the United Nation’s Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign to launch “Get a Shot. Give a Shot”*. When you get a whooping cough (or any other immunization (besides flu) at Walgreens, Walgreens will donate a life-saving vaccine to a child in need. (

What is your best new baby tip?

*Donation currently valid for non-flu vaccinations. Aggregate donation of up to $1 million. Vaccines subject to availability. State-, age- and health-related restrictions may apply.


Heather Reese
the authorHeather Reese
Heather Delaney Reese is the storyteller and photographer behind the lifestyle and family travel blog, It's a Lovely Life®! For the past decade, she has vacationed over 150 days a year with her family. She is a vegan, and loves being by the water, spending time with her children, husband, 2 Shih Tzus and Cat.


  • These are so great to know. I have actually never known anyone IRL who adopted.

  • I only had 3 days to get ready. It was the most overwhelming moment in my life on what to decided to get. I went into to babies r us, spent hours there and walked out with wash clothes. My advice it get to get a friend, mom, aunt to help you think about what to buy.

  • Great tips! Making sure the people around your little one are up-to-date on shots is so important! Babies can pick things up so easily!

  • As an adoptive mom I can totally relate. We had a few months though. We had them involved from the minute we could. They love her now and have for the last 9 years. Thank goodness.

  • These are all great tips for any new parents to consider! My biggest tip would be to just take it slow and easy. It is such a happy, emotional, stressful, upheaval full of excitment and anxiety, it’s best to slow down and just enjoy it…every little piece. 🙂

  • What great tips for all new mothers! I too agree with the importance of making sure they are around others who have been vaccinated!

  • great tips! i know a few couple looking to adopt and I will pass this on to them. Good luck to your little one! you are one blessed couple!

  • I think on the plus side, when you are adopting, you don’t have to deal with feeling horribly while your body returns back to normal AND take care of a baby. Your family is beautiful and your daughters all of them are so lucky to have such a caring mom.

  • These are great tips. My daughter is looking into adoption, so I’ll be passing on this post to her. Whooping cough is scary, I would definitely get vaccinated to protect the baby!

  • My oldest daughter will be turning eleven this summer and I believe that is the age where boosters are needed. You can never be too careful with a new little one around!

  • LOVE Adoption! It is so important to protect yourself and new ones from germs. It’s amazing how fast they can spread.
    I would also suggest hiring a photographer to come in and capture your family in your home in the first week of bringing a new child in. It is a special time for everyone.

  • These are a great list of do’s and dont’s. Getting vaccinated is definitely important for everyone.

  • These are really great tips. I wouldn’t have even thought about some of these but they make perfect sense. Thank you for this!

  • I have never been through a baby adoption, but my husband adopted my daughter when she was nine. Her real dad was…well, let’s just say worthless. I was surprised at how quickly the process worked!

  • It’s a great idea to make a list of what to do and not to do. As an adopted child myself, I think each family needs to do what works best for them. Of course, while taking tons of photos! 😀

  • This has to be an experience in a half to get little one like this. These are such wonderful and considerate tips to keep in mind. Thanks for sharing.

  • This is an excellent post of tips for familiesconsidering adoption. I am thankful that there are families like yours who want more children but can’t for whatever reason . I remember seeing the commercials for the pertussis vaccine shortly after my youngest was born.

  • What an important post! I never thought about maybe not having too many people at the hospital at first because the birth mom may still need time. That is good to know!

  • What a great post! I think that this is just a great post for any mom in general. Adoption is a great route <3 Loved your post and all your tips too!

  • These are some wonderful tips for new adoptive moms. I think it’s wonderful you’re sharing tips after going through it yourself!

  • I never considered the point about Number 1 that people would even consider going to the hospital for a meet and greet with an adopted baby. Great tips

  • These are some awesome tips for adoptive parents indeed. It is so important for every one who is around the new baby to be vaccinated for the pertussis. I didn’t know when I was a new mother that I could give this to my child which is such a scary thought. Thanks for sharing and Congrats to your whole family. I totally love the picture of all the girls together.

  • Wonderful tips. These are definitely helpful to parents who are wanting to adopt a child.

  • I remember when my best friend adopted her little girl now 4 years ago yesterday! It was such a joyous day for everyone! It’s definitely a rollercoaster and this list is an awesome way to help a new mom!

  • Wonderful post. My husband and I considered adoption. We are still thinking about it since my baby making days are over.

  • What a fantastic resource for new adoptive moms. I think this post will help a lot of people.

  • Great tips! It definitely can be overwhelming picking out what to get for a new baby when you have short amount of time. A few people in my moms neighborhood have adopted kids and we made them a basket with some essentials. They were overjoyed as it was many items they forgot to pick up.

  • I would love to adopt one day but sadly it’s such an expensive thing here in Ireland. I think giving the birth mother time to say goodbye to their baby is so important and such a private time to be respected by everyone.

  • I absolutely agree with the “don’t invite all the family to the hospital”. My sister gave her baby up for adoption (open, we all still get to see him twice a year) and she really just wanted her family around her at the time. Then she wanted to be alone with her son on the last day as sort of a closure. Having a ton of strangers around would have been more stress added on to an already stressful situation.

  • I love the idea of a meet the baby party. It is a great way to get everyone together. I agree once the baby is in your arms it is just the same as if you gave birth to them. The love is the same.

  • My children are biological. However, it has always been my dream to adopt since there are so many children out there without parents, and it breaks my heart!

  • My brother-in-law and his wife had a weekend with one child (a girl) and then a boy. They were older kids. It turned out they were brother and sister, so they adopted them both. What a wonderful addition to our family! Thanks for providing these excellent hints regarding adoption and the importance of immunizations.

  • This is really good advice for families that are adopting. It’s something that we’ve thought about but we aren’t financially able to do.

  • Those are great reminders. Although I haven’t adopted a child, I like to be informed of the proper etiquette. I probably would have been one of those people rushing the hospital, trying to get snuggles in with the new baby.

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