Finding an Adoption Doctor/Therapist
Finding an Adoption Doctor (IA Doctor):
Many families choose to have their referral information evaluated by a doctor to help them assess the health risks of this child. Although general pediatricians may be able to help, increasingly families are turning to doctors specializing in international adoption medicine (IA doctors). The American Academy of Pediatrics has a directory of members in their section on Adoption and Foster Care. Members of this section specialize in health issues for children adopted from abroad and keep up with new developments. Another list of IA doctors, although not necessarily member of the AAP Adoption Section, can be found at the University of Minnesota International Adoption Clinic website (click on Other Adoption Medicine Professionals). It is not necessary that the doctor be located nearby, but some families want to be able to talk with someone in person or want to be able to take their child for a post adoption evaluation to the same doctor who reviewed the referral.
I know of no IA doctor that specializes in a specific country. You do want a doctor that has evaluated quite a few kiddos from your country so make sure you include that question in your interview. Different doctors have different personalities so talk with them first to see if there is a good fit. When interviewing an IA doctor consider the following questions:
- How many adoption referrals have you evaluated? In the last year?
- How many adoption referrals have you evaluated from my country?
- How long does it usually take to have a referral evaluated if we have medical information before we travel?
- How do you arrange to review data if we receive medical information when we are in country?
- How comfortable do you feel with diagnosing FAS in a child of ___age and______ethnicity?
- How much do you charge and what is included? Are phone calls after the initial review included or an extra charge?
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Finding an Adoption Therapist:
Finding a counselor that is competent and trained to handle adoption related mental health issues is a challenge. Here are our suggestions:
- Contact the adoption agency or home study provider and ask for recommendations.
- Contact your local child welfare agency in your county and ask who they recommend. These governmental agencies go by different names in different states (Department of Social Services, Department for Children and Families, etc.)
- The Child Welfare Information Gateways has an excellent guide to finding and working with an adoption therapist. It covers different types of therapy and also has tips for selecting a therapist.
- A Guide to Selecting An Adoption Or Foster Therapist. A thorough list of questions to ask prospective therapists.
- Carol Lozier has a great list of 10 reasons why a therapist should incorporate parents into a child's session.
- This article has several suggestions on how to find a therapist that specializes in adoption, and talks about appropiate types and length of therapy.
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