More and more people are adopting children internationally either out of personal choice or as a political and social statement. One of the first things that you will need to keep in mind when adopting a child internationally, however, is the child’s state of health. You will need a pediatrician who has had background work with internationally adopted children. Here’s how you can find one.
- Make a list. Start by listing the pediatricians that are known to have handled cases of internationally adopted children in the past. You can visit hospitals and clinics, search the web, or get referrals and recommendations from family and friends. Referrals from people who have also adopted children internationally are particularly useful, since you will be able to inquire about the service and treatments which the doctor was able to provide. Put all of the names you are able to gather on a list.
- Background. Check the doctor’s background. There are some doctors who have specializations in rare diseases that can be specific to certain regions and countries. If your child is from a country in which the doctor specializes on, then the doctor will be very useful for you. The doctor should also be able to deal with other conditions such as post-institutional behavior, post traumatic stress disorder for children from war ravaged countries, and attachment disorders. These are some of the common behavioral problems that internationally adopted children face.
- Communication lines. Make sure that you have clear and readily available communication lines between you and the doctor, especially as you travel to get your child. Be sure that the doctor is on standby and willing to take calls from you once you arrive at the country where you will adopt the child. Usually, this will entail coordinating with the doctor several weeks or months prior to the adoption, so that the doctor can prepare his schedule as well.
- Prescription. The doctor should also be able to fill in prescriptions for drugs and antibiotics that the child can take during the trip. This is especially useful if the child is known to be sick, or if there are diseases that are particular to the region where you are adopting the child from. These drugs should be purchased before the travel. The pediatrician should also fully inform you on how to administer the drugs, in what doses, and how frequently.
- Testing. Consider the types of tests that the doctor will provide for your adopted child. The tests should be comprehensive enough to give a very thorough description of the child’s health status, and the doctor should be able to follow up on diseases and conditions that are found in the child. Vaccinations and routine tests should also be administered, such as lead and mercury tests that will determine whether the child has ingested these substances from the country where he comes from.
Not all doctors have experience in dealing with internationally adopted children. Finding one can be difficult, but it will ensure your child’s safety and health and will give you the peace of mind that you need.