Ask AF: When and How to Find a Pediatrician During the Adoption Process

"We would like to find a pediatrician during the adoption process, so we have someone to help guide our decisions. How to do this?"

Q: My husband and I are working through the domestic adoption process and are trying to educate ourselves as much as possible now that we’ve entered the wait. We would like to find a pediatrician sooner rather than later in our process to have someone to help guide our decisions and inform us on what to expect and how to move forward if we will be adopting a baby who was prenatally exposed to drugs and/or alcohol. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to begin?

Members of respond:

Finding a pediatrician early is a great idea. We asked around a lot—friends, our own PCP, and our adoption group. Most pediatricians are happy to meet with you and answer any questions you might have; they will probably also ask you questions, as well, to ensure a good fit on both sides. We did a couple of these ‘pre-natal’ interviews. Our main questions were if they were pro vaccination, worked with many adopted children, how diverse their client base was (how racially diverse, as well as single parent, same sex, etc.), and, of course, how familiar they were with drug exposure.”

“Just to warn you, the average pediatrician doesn’t know much about adoption. Our first pediatrician worked with DCF, so she knew about drug exposure, and was familiar with foster care, but didn’t have much experience with private newborn adoption. It wasn’t a major issue for me, but just be prepared. With our second adoption, there were some pregnancy complications, and our doctor was able to help me review records.”

“It’s great that you are lining up a pediatrician as you wait. You generally have to take a newborn to see a doctor within a few days of discharge from the hospital, and you never know if you will have an emergency placement. (It’s also a good idea to go ahead and buy the car seat, too!) Consider asking your lawyer or adoption agency if they could recommend any doctors, or could ask former clients for recommendations. Some additional, long-haul advice I’d give any new parent: Choose a practice that has weekend hours. Our practice has a roster of doctors, so there’s usually good availability to be seen within hours of a call. An affiliation with a good hospital near you is also a plus.”



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