Knowing Your Child’s Medical History
An addition to your family via adoption can be an exciting prospect. You can just imagine the joy of holding your adopted child in your arms and being able to call him your very own. However, in the thrill of bringing your child home, it’s easy to overlook important details that relate to your child’s health.
To know how best to care for your child, you need to be armed with the right information – about your child’s medical history, including the health backgrounds of the birth mother and birth father. This is especially true if your child has grown in a less than optimal situation. Having the information will help you address the medical problems your child might have in the present and even in the future.
Medical Histories for Infant Adoptions
If you are looking to adopt an infant, the most common way is to work with an adoption agency, submit a profile and wait for a birthmother to choose you to be the parents of her child. The advantage is that you can have access to the child’s medical histories, especially with an open adoption. Recent discoveries show that the early years of a child’s development sets an important foundation for the later years of his learning. Thus, it becomes very important to identify any adverse risk factors a child may have so that with the help of qualified medical advice, you can already act towards preventing these risks or minimizing their effects.
Getting Your Child’s Medical History
Getting the medical information you need may prove to be a challenge. It is vital to remember that there are some documents or information that may not be available to you. In some instances, there may even be no documentation altogether.
So, what are the things you need to know? If you can, try to obtain the following:
– Health and basic details of the birth parents and any children they may have. This includes the parents’ overall health condition (weight, height, age, existing medical conditions and recorded genetic conditions).
– Medical history of the birthparents, including their own parents’ medical history and existence of any genetic conditions (i.e. heart disease).
– For infants or toddlers, doctor’s records on the pregnancy and birth (i.e. when prenatal care and prenatal vitamins began, any difficulties with the pregnancy, details on the level of prenatal care provided, any significant information about the pregnancy).
– The pediatrician’s records on the newborn/toddler (i.e. Apgar score, initial evaluation, weight, length and gestational age). It is also important to inquire if the baby has undergone newborn screening and if there are positive findings. The newborn screening tests if there are any rare, serious but wholly avoidable conditions that are not immediately visible. The conditions may come in the form of rare allergies to certain substances that can result in serious health impairments. Positive findings alert you to ingredients and substances you need to avoid. Some screenings include a hearing test, screening for heart problems and blood tests.
– Immunization records. This guides you as you have a list of all immunizations that have already been given so that these shots are not repeated.
– The lifestyle of the birth mother during the pregnancy. This includes any habits that may be potentially harmful to the baby such as use and abuse of drugs, alcohol, nicotine or any medication. Getting this information may be difficult – you can turn to the adoption agency to help you ask these questions. This way, you maintain your good relationship with the birth mother. Most birth parents are happy to provide the best information that they have available to them. They want to provide the very best future for their child; including information that will be helpful in their child’s healthy development.
Even as you scrupulously study the birth parents’ medical histories, be reminded that the information you have can only go so far. There may be birth parents that are healthy at the moment but may be susceptible to hereditary conditions later in life. Your efforts towards getting the information should be seen as your efforts towards safeguarding the child’s health more than it being a tool to evaluate the risks of adopting a particular child. With an open adoption, often times birth parents are able to provide future health updates about themselves and their family through the years.
About A Act of Love Adoptions
Working with A Act of Love Adoptions means that prospective adoptive parents can be availed of the following services:
– Help with linking to a birth parent
– Guidance for home studies and post-placements
– Compliance with Interstate Compact regulations
– Choice among open, closed or semi-open adoptions
– Orientation about the adoption process
– Legal and counseling services