International Adoption Net has recently completed a training from the University of Minnesota Adoption Medicine Clinic. During this training they shared with our staff more in-depth ways of reading a medical referral, what types of special needs they have seen in the countries IAN works with, and what the quality of life is for specific special needs. Judith K. Eckerle, M.D. is very knowledgeable in the international medical field and was so helpful in answering all our staff’s questions with detailed information.
IAN is very grateful to have connected with this program to receive ongoing training about specific special needs. We are now referring families to University of Minnesota Adoption Medicine Clinic when reviewing a referral and needing medical professionals’ opinions. The Adoption Medicine Clinic has helped many families since 1986 review referrals, discuss the resources needed for the specific special need and what the severity of the need may be. The Clinic will look at the medical report, any background information on the child, and review pictures and videos. They then will discuss with the family any concerns they may see and discus how to best care for the child.
Families can connect with this clinic by going to their website at https://adoption.umn.edu/. They have many resources for families to learn from such as how to measure head growth, fetal alcohol syndrome, child development, mental health, etc.
They do have a fee for their different services. On their website they have a breakdown of what each service would cost. Their turn around time for looking at a referral is 1-3 days and can go quicker if it is time sensitive.
We recommend families look at the University of Minnesota Adoption Medicine Clinic when considering or in the process of foster care, domestic or international adoption.
Let me tell you a little about Leo. I recently came across Leo’s file when I was searching China’s shared list of children available for adoption. My specific search was for “limb differences” because we have several families who are hoping to adopt children with this need. When I saw Leo’s picture, I wanted to learn more. His file specifically states “limb and trunk deformities” while it appears that his true diagnosis is likely dwarfism. I saw the sweet face of eleven year old Leo in pictures of him riding a bike and playing on the slide and wondered how this boy has waited so long for a family.
Little People of America defines dwarfism as “a medical or genetic condition that usually results in an adult height of 4’10” or shorter, among both men and women, although in some cases a person with a dwarfing condition may be slightly taller than that. The average height of an adult with dwarfism is 4’0, but typical heights range from 2’8 to 4’8.” There are several different types of dwarfism, with the most common being achondroplasia , spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia, and diastrophic dysplasia . You can read more about the different types of dwarfism on WebMD .
A concern with adopting a child with dwarfism is what life looks like from a medical standpoint. Little People of America states, “It varies from condition to condition, and with the severity of that condition in each individual. However, the majority of LPs enjoy normal intelligence, normal life spans, and reasonably good health. Many will require surgeries or other medical interventions to address complications and maximize mobility.
Orthopedic complications are not unusual in people with disproportionate dwarfism such as achondroplasia and diastrophic dysplasia, and sometimes surgery is required. A common problem, especially in adults, is spinal stenosis — a condition in which the opening in the spinal column is too small to accommodate the spinal cord. People with this condition suffer from numbness and/or pain. It can be treated with a type of surgery called a laminectomy.”
International Adoption Net recommends that all families talk to a licensed pediatrician or international adoption clinic for all medical advice and information when considering a child for adoption. Families are approved for children with medical conditions on a case by case basis after reviewing the family’s qualifications as best determined by the placement agency.
Now back to Leo! Leo is initially shy with adults or unfamiliar people. He listens carefully, and he is thoughtful about his response. However, he really comes out of his shell around his classmates and peers. He is outgoing around other children, and in his school environment, he answers questions eagerly and loudly. Leo’s fine and gross motor skills are great. He can walk on a balance beam, use his fingers deftly, hold scissors well, and he completes all sorts of tasks such as drawing patterns and folding paper. He enjoys art and origami, but jigsaw puzzles are his favorite. He can use open ended toys such as blocks, legos, and such to create all sorts of things. He is very creative. All of his peers care for him greatly, as he is always met with a hug and teasing from his friends.
Leo’s face is always filled with a happy smile. He is good at hands-on activities, and his painting ability is admirable. After watching an art video, the teacher provides animal pictures, and Leo can imitate the pictures well with careful attention to detail. Leo grasps new knowledge quickly, and his concentration
and learning ability are greater than his peers. Leo is a team leader in class, and he enjoys assisting the teachers. Over the years, his language skills and confidence have grown greatly.
Want to learn more about Leo? Email Brandie . We have several pictures of Leo to share with families who are considering adopting him!
Little People of America offers a $1,000 retroactive grant to families adopting a child with dwarfism, and a $5,000 retroactive grant to families adopting a boy with dwarfism age 11 or older. You can find a wealth of medical information and support, as well as links to regional skeletal dysplasia clinics, at Little People of America .
For those of us who are lucky enough to have a loving Father, we know the feeling of love and protection. Little Zi knows this love…and misses it.
In all my years of working as an international adoption specialist, I have heard and seen a multitude of children’s stories—some sadder than others. Yet in all my days, no story has left me wanting a family for a child so badly as I want one for precious 8-year-old Zi.
When Zi was born, her birth mother left her father and much older sister to remarry. When many fathers might choose otherwise, her father raised her and her sister as best he could. In June 2014, the family got into a car accident that left Zi paralyzed from the waist down. Still, even as poor as they were, her father cared for her. Tragically, her father found out that December that he had liver cancer and died the next month. Zi and her sister went to live with a blind uncle while officials contacted their mother who once again refused to care for them. The children were then admitted to an orphanage. Her sister is now 18—too young to care for her and too old to be adopted with her.
When Zi came into care, she was in poor physical condition and would not speak. After being in the care of the orphanage, she is active and cute again, ready to smile, and has a good spirit. The orphanage personnel say she is very smart and cute, introverted and shy, can have a temper, and usually helps the nurturer look after the younger children. She likes writing, drawing, listening to music, watching TV and chatting. Her life is fulfill and happy with the exception of one important aspect—a family.
While single women can adopt from China, International Adoption Net feels this child needs both a mother and a father so she can once again have a Daddy . Could this little girl wrap your fatherly hand around her finger?
Contact Angela regarding this little girl, angela@
“Matthew” is an adorable, HAPPY little boy who happens to have extra lower body parts due to having an incomplete conjoined twin. He has underwent surgery for some of the physical ramifications of this conjoined twin, but he still other malformations that the doctors decided were too dangerous to perform surgery on at the time they were going to do so. He may need continued surgeries to correct the complications.
His China list diagnosis states 1.Tailend duplication malformation (post-surgery conjoined twins); 2.bilateral Undescended testes; 3.retarded growth.
The orphanage personnel and doctors were amazed when he started to walk and play. He is able to coordinate his malformed and conjoined legs to walk steadily and even competes with his friend to slide down a slope riding a swing car with both of his legs slightly hanging in the air. He also enjoys music time where he dances to his favorite song A Small Apple (we have video of him dancing!). He is starting to speak and is said to be a child full of wisdom with his own unique view on things. He does not fight for toys or food as other children does, but will instead walk over to take a caregiver by the hand and show them the child who has taken his toy or food with a grieved look on his face. He seems to be loved by all.
A careful review of his medical documentation should be made by an international adoption specialist and preferably with a specialist in conjoined twin separations to understand the level of surgery he has received, what his current situation is and what he may need in the future. Much information is available, including VIDEOS.
Please consider bringing this delightful boy into your heart and homes! We are all just in love with his simle, and hope we can find him a loving family soon!
This Blog post is written by one of our Adoption Coordinators, Angela.
As an experienced international adoption specialist for 11 years, I’ve seen a variety of medical conditions with children available for adoption with various international programs. However, a recent agency change has opened my eyes to a country I had always been interested in, but never had the opportunity to serve through adoption: India.
As I search the waiting child list issued by India, I am amazed and perplexed at the number of children available with conditions that are either correctable or manageable. Some of the conditions are even sought after in other countries as a humanitarian choice in adoption. Babies, toddlers, young children and older children with HIV, club foot, cleft palate and/or lip, heart defects, limb differences and other such conditions have waited years for families on the India list. One condition I had not previously seen appears quite often on the India list: ambiguous genitalia or other gender disorders. Of the 82 children ages 0-2 currently listed on the India waiting child list, at least three have some type of gender condition. The Mayo Clinic defines ambiguous genitalia as-
“Ambiguous genitalia is a rare condition in which an infant’s external genitals don’t appear to be clearly either male or female. In a baby with ambiguous genitalia, the genitals may not be well-formed or the baby may have characteristics of both sexes. The external sex organs may not match the internal sex organs or genetic sex.Ambiguous genitalia isn’t a disease. It’s a sign of a condition that affects sexual development, and it’s referred to as a disorder of sexual development.” http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ambiguous-genitalia/basics/definition/con-20026345
More information about ambiguous genitalia, including causes and treatment, can be found at the above referred-to link. There are many options for corrective treatment for a child born with ambiguous genitalia, all that is needed is the right family that is able to care for the child. With the medical resources in the USA, many children with this condition get proper treatment, and thrive with their families. In India, where conditions like this carry heavily negative social stigmas, these children may never get the care or love they deserve, and for many is the sole reason why they are in the orphange.
Due to privacy regulations, India does not allow children to be photolisted on such sites as RainbowKids. While I understand the reasons for the privacy of the children, these limitations can decrease the chances that these beautiful children will find homes, simply because they do not have the exposure as children with other programs may have. However, if more people knew about the India program and the wonderful children that are available, more people would open their hearts and homes so these little ones would be orphans no more.
To adopt from India, parents must be physically, mentally, and emotionally stable with no threatening medical conditions, as well as be financially stable. Married couples must have been married at least two years. Single women can adopt children of either gender, while single males are only allowed to adopt boys. India does impose age limits as follows:
Families are not allowed to already have more than four children in the home. As always, USCIS and state regulations also apply with regard to qualifications of adoptive parents.
Families must first complete their adoption paperwork and obtain USCIS approval before being eligible to be matched with a child. However, once a family’s paperwork is complete, their agency can immediately start searching the waiting child list for a child that meets the family’s desired and approved criteria. The more open a family is with regard to age, gender and special needs, the more likely they are to be matched with a child quickly and start the official adoption process.
Child in the photo is a stock photo and not available for adoption. International Adoption Net suggests all families talk to a licensed pediatrician for all medical advice and information when considering a child for adoption. Families are approved for children with medical conditions on a case by case basis after reviewing the family’s qualifications as best determined by the placement agency.