Transitioning an adoptive child into your home
Dr. Manisha Thakkar, MD is a pediatrician at Cardon Children’s Medical Center. For more information on this topic, talk with your doctor or call (480) 412-5437 (KIDS).
Question: My spouse and I are preparing for an international adoption. Are there certain things we should do from a health care standpoint to prepare for our child’s arrival and transition into our home?
Answer: Seeking the advice of a pediatrician prior to adoption is an important first step in promoting a healthy environment for your child. A pediatrician, especially one experienced in adoptions, can provide pre-adoption counseling to help you understand what to expect when a child is from another country. Depending on the child’s age and birth country, some specific medical issues can be addressed. For example, older children adopted from foster care may have certain insecurities or emotional issues, and an infant adopted from Russia is at higher risk for fetal alcohol syndrome. The doctor will review any available medical records to prepare you to welcome this newest member of your family.
The pediatrician will also conduct a complete medical evaluation of your child once the adoption has been finalized. During this evaluation, the pediatrician can provide you with a timeline for care, recommend certain screening tests, suggest resources for therapy, and offer guidance on long-term care as appropriate.
This same physician will continue to follow your child’s care well into the future. The doctor will educate your entire family about the physical, nutritional, social and emotional needs of your child. Your adopted child’s immunizations may need to be caught up, or screening tests may need to be redone. Older adopted children may have additional psychological issues that require close monitoring and support. Your physician can also counsel you on the best ways to define and discuss adoption with your child, and serves as a lifelong advocate for your child and family.