And Now We Decide: The Medical Side of Adopting and Why it's so ImportantDiana Stone
Today we received a call from a MD who specializes in international adoption pediatrics. We had contacted the hospital she works with last week and sent over our waiting child photos and medical information for her to review.
This is a very common part of any international adoption. Legit, concerned agencies who have both the parents and the child’s best interests at heart will urge you to have any medical files you receive looked over by a doctor – preferably someone with knowledge of the countries care and medical system that you’ll be adopting from. This is for several reasons; so you can make an informed decision about adopting a certain child, so you are prepared long before they come home to what needs to be done immediately and long term with their health, and so you can decide if you are the right family for that child.
With me, it’s been hard to be realistic about medical issues in many ways. I want to throw caution to the wind and adopt them all. My dad had a long talk with me the other day as I struggled with these feelings – he explained that this wasn’t a pregnancy. These children were here already, had certain medical issues and deserved the best home and care they could get. Not a mother who jumped in blindly and ended up over stressed and maxed out. No one wins with that. He explained that the agency had guidelines and checklists for a reason. It wasn’t to pick the perfect child, it was to pick the perfect child for us. For our needs and strengths and to give our very best to a little one who had already been through so much.
I listened to the Dr. for an hour today as she explained all of our waiting child’s medical history, took notes for Sam, and wrote questions for our agency to send off to S. Korea in hopes of answers on things that weren’t clear. We’ll make a decision soon based on a few things:
- Are we both able to use our strengths and weaknesses as parents and humans to raise this little boy?
- Am I able to raise him alone for long periods of time with Bella too? If Sam is deployed and we are away from family, will I be able to care for him and his needs adequately long term?
- Are we the right fit for him and his needs?
All of these play back and forth in our minds. There are no guarantees. He could come home and be fine. He could come home and get worse. As could any child, anywhere, biological or adopted. What we want is to say, “Worse case scenario happens medically – can we provide the very best for him still?” With moving? With Sam being gone? With another child in the home? With our personalities? Financially? We would never want to bring a little one home that we ended up not being able to properly care for and it was because we didn’t think this through. That’s so unfair to them.
And yet, we don’t want to pass up because of the what if’s. Those can happen anytime. As we well know.
This isn’t easy. It’s harder than when we chose to get pregnant with Bella or the twins because there are so many other dimensions to this. It’s not black and white – it’s someone’s life. Our choice affects him, Bella, and our family forever.
So think of and pray for us these next few days as we try to figure out what the best path is for everyone.
P.S. This part sucks.
To look at doctors who specialize in international adoption pediatrics, click here.