An increasing number of children are being adopted into loving homes, but it is important for adoptive parents to be aware of any previously unrecognized medical issues, and be prepared to provide appropriate medical care.
In an AAP clinical report, “Comprehensive Health Evaluation of the Newly Adopted Child,” in the January 2012 Pediatrics (published online Dec. 26), the AAP recommends that adopted children undergo a comprehensive medical evaluation immediately after being placed in an adoptive home.
The evaluation should include a review of all medical records and a full physical exam. Regardless if adopted domestically or internationally, many children living in foster care or the public welfare system have had fragmented or limited health care. As a result, these children have an increased incidence of developmental, physical, and mental health issues that often surface after the child is placed in an adoptive family.
With international adoptions, the child’s medical history may be missing or incomplete, so evaluations should be based on nutritional, environmental and infectious disease risks.
Additional recommendations for all adopted children include age-appropriate vision, hearing, dental and behavioral/developmental screenings. Establishing a medical home is the best way to fully identify and address the health and medical needs of all kids, including adopted children.