International Adoption Medicine: Why Children's

  • The International Adoption Medicine program at Children's Medical Center offers comprehensive medical care and advice to assist internationally adopted children, their parents and the community doctors who care for them.

  • Our services include medical evaluations before adoption, initial health screens and follow-up care for children with special physical, developmental and social-emotional needs.

  • The International Adoption Medicine program at Children's is one of only a few dozen centers in the United States that provides care for internationally adopted children and their families. As part of a comprehensive academic medical center, the program offers access to highly qualified specialists in the field who understand the unique medical and social conditions of children from other countries.

For more information about the International Adoption Medicine program or to schedule a consultation, call Anna Martel at 214-456-6788 or email at iam@childrens.com.

Post-adoption visit

Once the adoption process is complete and the child is home, an initial health screen should be scheduled within one or two weeks after arriving home. During your visit, a physician will conduct a thorough history and physical evaluation that will:

  • Review new medical, developmental or institutional issues
  • Discuss adjustment issues, including sleep, feeding, and attachment
  • Assess current growth parameters
  • Screen vision and hearing, when possible

Developmental screening

Parents who have concerns about their child's development can request a developmental evaluation by a child psychologist with special training in early childhood development.

Immunizations and TB skin testing

We recommend to either start over with a new series of immunizations in accordance with standards recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, or to have specific titers measured that will guide catch-up. Recommendations will be made to your primary pediatrician which allow him or her to administer the needed immunizations along with a TB skin test.

Laboratory work-up

A number of lab tests will be performed during your child's first visit. This is considered the standard of care for internationally adopted children who are generally at greater risk for a variety of medical and infectious diseases. Children from Korea, Guatemala or Taiwan might require fewer initial screening tests. Until you have results of the lab test be cautious about hand washing and hold off on sharing baths to prevent the spread of intestinal parasites.

Blood Work

  • Newborn Screening Panel (young infants only)
  • Complete blood count and iron profile
  • HIV Antibody, Hepatitis B panel, Hepatitis C panel (all on arrival and 6 months later)
  • Serologic testing for syphilis
  • Thyroid function tests
  • Lead level
  • Calcium, phosphorous and alkaline phosphatase levels
  • Hemoglobin electrophoresis (at times )

Stool tests

  • Stool examination for ova and parasites, 3 preserved specimens
  • Stool examination for Giardia antigen and Cryptosporidia antigen, one fresh specimen

Dietary recommendations

Because internationally adopted children often arrive with nutritional deficiencies, we make recommendations regarding the use of infant or toddler formulas and multivitamins based on your child's age and specific background.