In the excitement of adopting a newborn, obtaining their medical history might not seem like a top priority. After all, you’re adopting a newborn – how much medical information could there be? More than you think – and mainly the medical histories of the birthparents.
Foreseeing Possible Conditions
Having some sort of medical record from the birthmother or birthfather (or both) will help tremendously in foreseeing possible physiological or developmental issues. Of course we hope there are none – but examining the medical histories of the biological parents can let us know of anything to look out for. Should anything be present in the birthparents’ history that suggests your child needs evaluation or testing, it’s best to do it sooner than later.
It Helps to Spot Symptoms
Once you know what types of conditions (if any) your child is at risk for, you can start educating yourself on what to look for. Allergies are a great example. They can often be genetic, so if your child gets sick after consumption of foods, you will know to take him/her to the doctor instead of waiting it out.
Extended Relative Info is Valuable
In most infant adoptions, the birthparents are young and may not have encountered certain medical conditions that could effect your child. For example, conditions like diabetes, MS, types of cancer, genetic disorders, mental illnesses or heart conditions. These types of ailments may have occurred in the extended family of birthparents, and thus, important knowledge for your child’s health. Obtaining this information is not always easy, but beneficial if available.
It Helps Your Kid’s Kids
We know it’s hard to believe, but one day your child is going to grow up and may want children of their own. Having knowledge of any markers for certain genetic disorders will help determine what could be passed along to their future children.
Now is the time to gather any medical history you can for your child. Waiting can make it more difficult to locate relatives that can help. Ask your adoption social worker to speak with the birthmother about her medical history. Chances are she will also want to contribute to the health of her child!