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How to Approach Your Adopted Child’s Healthcare

When you’re in the thick of your adoption journey, you’re thrown into a process that encompasses so many decisions, one of which is healthcare. When you adopt, you may not know your child’s full medical history. Some families have more information than others, depending on their relationship to the birth family or how much information has been made available to you. Regardless of what you know, you can still build a strong health history for your child. It just means a more dedicated relationship with your child’s primary care provider. The first place to start? Prepare yourself.



Here are some questions to ask, and things to consider:

During your search for a pediatrician, don’t be afraid to ask about their experience with adopted children. You may find someone with a great deal of experience who can help review records or offer advice before the adoption is finalized. 

Write down any questions you have about your child’s health and bring them to your appointment, along with a notebook and pen or the recording app on your phone, to ensure you’re able to properly digest the answers. 

Clarify which documents they need to best oversee your child’s medical care. You may have birth records, or even a medical background from your child’s birth parents, but what other questions can you ask the birth family or your adoption agency about your child’s health history that could best inform your pediatrician? 

Determine their availability. Do you have 24-hour access to a nurse or even the pediatrician? What happens if there is an emergency after-hours? Get a 360-degree understanding of how to contact your pediatrician at any time, and make sure that any backups you need are noted and in place. Some health care institutions have revolving 24-hour care.

What is their position on medicating and vaccinating young children? You and your doctor must have alignment on these issues. You are the parent and know which path you would like to take, but it’s important to have professional guidance that you trust. 

Finding healthcare providers goes beyond addressing physical health. Do they have any local referrals for individuals associated with the health of adopted children? Whether that’s a therapist, special needs counselor, particular school district, or hospital — any resources your pediatrician can provide are vital. The stronger your child’s wellness community, the better!

Remember, this is your journey. What questions would you add to this list?

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