Introduction

Your Family: A Success

Our clinical faculty are themselves either adoptive parents or adoptees, so our expertise on this subject is both personal and professional. After years of careful research and more than 20,000 reviewed referrals, we have learned that when families are prepared for the challenges they may encounter, they are able to make better accommodations for their children.

Parents who have realistic expectations report feeling better about their adoption and have an easier time helping their child acclimate to life in their home.

Our goal is to help create successful families. We want to supply you with the knowledge you need to maximize your chances of adopting the child who is right for your parenting style, expectations, and situation. A good fit means less risk of a disrupted adoption, fewer unexpected problems, and a more harmonious experience for both you and your child.

How to use this reference

You are in the beginning stages of your adoption journey. You have selected an agency or independent adoption facilitator and completed a home study. Now, months or years before you will be matched with a child, you’re asked to indicate the medical conditions, diagnoses, and history scenarios you are willing to accept in your adoption referral.

Some agencies will ask you to complete a formal checklist of these conditions. Others will have you consider what risk factors you feel comfortable facing as a family. These first big decisions require both a rich imagination and a leap of faith, the likes of which you’ve probably never made before. This book is here to guide you.

As you already know, you will need to give careful consideration to a spectrum of issues—infectious diseases; prenatal exposures to drugs, smoking and alcohol; congenital issues; and developmental concerns that can arise as a result of abuse or neglect. This book is by no means an exhaustive guide to every possible medical condition that might be listed in a child’s medical history. Instead, we present a brief and understandable explanation of the commonly encountered medical issues seen in adopted children.

Keep in mind that every condition explained here can also be influenced by a child’s age, country of origin, confounding factors found during a physical exam, and a multitude of other issues.

Additionally, the climate of adoption is changing. Child referrals are becoming increasingly complex, and we are identifying many more children with special needs from all countries that participate in intercountry adoption, as well as from the United State.

For these reasons, we recommend you use this book as a reference only. It is important to consult an adoption medicine professional after you’ve received your child referral. A specialist is always the best resource to help you look at the child’s information as a complete package. In fact, the first chapter of this book explains the role of the adoption medicine specialist and how to use his or her services in conjunction with those of your child’s primary care pediatrician. (Yes, you should select a pediatrician before your child even arrives home!)

 

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Book Author

Judith K. Eckerle, M.D. 
Director, Adoption Medicine Clinic
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics