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Adoption Issues: Your Child's Medical History

Adoption Issues: Your Child's Medical History

Knowledge about your family’s medical history is an important part of addressing your own potential health hazards. A family medical history can serve as a window into the genetic heritage of an individual.

Why is knowledge of your family medical history important?

If your dad had a heart attack before he turned 55 years old or your mom had a heart attack before she turned 65 years old (or both) then you know that you need to take extra care to focus on creating a heart healthy life. It’s the easiest way to determine probable health problems before they occur and early enough to do something about it.

What About Your Adopted Child’s Medical History?

If you are actively seeking information on the family medical history for your adopted child, you’ll find that the search is similar to a jigsaw puzzle. You might not ever find every piece to the puzzle, but you do your best to find as many pieces as possible and respond appropriately.

It’s usually easiest to gather information in the United States about your adopted child’s medical history before the adoption is completed when you’re dealing with an open, infant adoption. The most difficult situation is when dealing with a foster adoption that resulted from severed ties with the birth parents. When dealing with international adoptions, it’s important to consider the fact that some countries involved keep almost nothing on the birth parents, but others maintain very detailed records.

How to Put the Pieces of Your Adopted Child’s Medical History Together:

  • When going through a domestic open adoption, your attorney or adoption agency can collect this kind of information in advance of the adoption as a means of preparing.
  • Monitor the pregnancy carefully: learn about weight gain, ultrasounds, glucose tolerance, drugs, smoking, etc.
  • The child’s environment, both prenatal and postnatal is a critical health indicator.
  • At the time of the adoption, be inquisitive. Ask questions and construct a “family tree” of sorts. Collect as much information as possible. Use the trip to the hospital or court dates to fill in gaps and ask questions. Find out about the birth mother, siblings, grandparents, etc.
  • If it works in your situation, establish a connection with the birth family in order to have the opportunity to seek additional information at a later point in time. It’s easy to be so focused on the immediate concerns of the child that you forget to ask about potential risks in adulthood, i.e. heart disease, diabetes, etc.

The process of mapping out your adopted child’s family medical history won't be an easy task, and some bits and pieces might never be found, but what you do find, could make a big difference in your child’s health.

If you need assistance with the adoption process call the Arizona adoption lawyers at Arizona Family Law Attorneys.


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