Open Adoption

Open Adoption Hospital Packing List


You’re expecting, just maybe not in the traditional way.

If you are hoping to adopt a baby, especially with a domestic (US) open adoption, you need to be prepared.

We got THE CALL from the hospital with our first daughter and arrived with nothing with us, not even a camera! Thankfully, our social worker helped us out and captured those first few moments.

We had to go shopping at midnight for a car seat and other necessities. It was crazy!

Don’t make the same mistake we did. Be ready for that call!

Here are 20 must-haves for when that big day comes…

For Baby:

Car seat (check reviews and be careful about using a used car seat, they expire!) The hospital will not let you leave without one.

*Car seat cover (have both lightweight and heavy since you don’t know what season your baby will be born)

Large Diaper bag

*Two newborn outfits For our second adoption, I had two of each gender packed for coming home outfits. Lesson learned from our first daughter…we bought and washed everything the night before she was to come home, but she spit up all over her outfit! Thankfully, the nurses gave us a beautiful crocheted outfit for her to wear.

*Baby blanket


*Sleep sack

*Burp cloth

*wash everything in Dreft or other baby laundry detergent and place in a zip lock bag to keep it fresh

Me holding our daughter, Keelie for the first time. I thought my heart would explode!

For You and Your Spouse:

Travel Toiletries: toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, body wash, shave kit, hairbrush, etc…)

Makeup bag

Flip flops to wear in the hospital shower

Pajamas or something to sleep in

Clean Undies

* A bathrobe (this one is really important!) A nurse asked if I’d brought a robe so I could do skin to skin contact with my second daughter right after she was born without being too exposed. I did not. 😟 I offered to take off my sweater, but they couldn’t allow me to do that in the nursery and a private room was not ready for us yet. I offered to go buy a robe, but they wanted it to be washed before using it, so my daughter was placed under bili lights. I still regret not having my robe with me.

Phone charger

Clothes can be packed the day the call comes (tough to plan ahead without knowing the season)

Your pediatrician’s phone number. I was not prepared for this one at the hospital with our first child. I called a friend and asked her for her pediatrician’s number. I lucked out that they were taking new patients and would take our child’s Medicaid insurance. Not sure what we would’ve done if they wouldn’t take us. (Your child doesn’t go on your insurance until he adoption is finalized until then they typically have Medicaid)

Gum or mints

Camera you may want your good camera, not just your phone.

Money for vending machine snacks

That’s it. The hospital will have diapers, wipes, and bottles for you there. Use them!

It’s good to know which brand of formula, bottles, diapers, and wipes you will be buying. It can be quite overwhelming trying to decide this in the grocery store with your new baby. Better yet, have these ready to go at home, so you don’t have to stop at the store at midnight like we did or on your way home with your brand new baby.

Wade holding our first baby, Keelie. ❤️


It’s better to be prepared and ready to go rather than having to rush to the nearest store for necessities like we did with our first daughter. We were much better prepared with our second, except that whole bathrobe thing.

This is us with our second daughter ❤️



(I added links to some of the items for your convenience, but as of right now, I don’t get anything for that.)


2 thoughts on “Open Adoption Hospital Packing List”

  1. Why do you not mention either of your children’s mothers, at all?
    The way you describe it, it’s like a stork dropped off these babies at the hospital and your simply picking them up. This hurts my heart so much. Their real families erased. Like they never existed.


    1. Sophia, when packing for the hospital (in an open adoption situation) Hopeful adoptive parents need to be very careful that nothing could be seen as coercion. As far as bringing something specifically for the birth mothers, you need to treat them the same way you would any friend that you’d visit in the hospital. We brought a bouquet of flowers. Trust me, we did not erase them. They are our family.


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