Overcoming obstacles with overseas adoptions

Published On: Jan 18 2014 09:34:09 AM EST   Updated On: Jan 19 2014 06:00:00 AM EST

When the Moyer family decided they wanted to adopt a child from China, they were told a healthy child would take seven years.

“So then the other option was special needs,” explained Durrell Moyer told Ivanhoe.

“And one of them was minor heart that we said we would be open to,” said Heidi Moyer.

But one month after getting home the Moyers learned their new daughter’s heart problem was much more serious.

“There was a doctor here that told us that day that he didn’t think that she was still operable,” Heidi said.

Their daughter Bryn nearly died during her two surgeries. Dr. Deborah Davis was on the team that helped save her.

“There was a lot of simpatico there, I would say,” explained Davis, who is the Medical Director of the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children.

Davis herself adopted a child with what she thought was a minor facial deformity 30 years ago. Nine surgeries later her daughter Katie, now a nurse, is okay.

“[But] I think that we would all admit if we are honest with ourselves, that ‘woah, we didn’t really bargain for all this,’” she said.

That’s why Dr. Kate Cronan, a pediatrician, also at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, cautions families to always ask for medical records, but know it may not be correct.

“If at all possible, I would tell families, ask for a video,” Cronan said.

You can have your pediatrician or an adoption consultant review the record and video, then conference call the overseas doctor with questions.

“So I don’t think parents should go into this thinking, like ‘I’m just lucky to get a child and I shouldn’t ask any questions,’ because it’s not true,” said Cronan.

Once back in the country, Cronan recommends taking your child to a pediatrician for a thorough examination. She may know better than most, she also adopted her daughter with a medical need from overseas.

For a checklist of what to bring to your first doctor’s visit in the U.S., log onto healthychildren.org.

In 2010, 11,059 children were adopted from other countries by American families. As overseas adoptions are becoming more common, families are learning how many steps are involved. Here are a few things to consider: