Once you bring your newly adopted baby home, you’ll need to plan a doctor visit within the first few weeks. Every parent needs to pick a pediatrician or a family practice physician for a new member of the family. When you choose a doctor for your adopted child, though, you face some slightly different challenges.
First, you may not have the option of continuing with the doctor who delivered the baby. A family practice physician may deliver the baby and move right into caring for the infant, or an Ob-Gyn may recommend a pediatrician. With an adopted baby, you may not have that connection.
You also may not know much about your adopted child’s family medical history. You may not have all the details of things that run in the family, issues during the pregnancy, and how the birth mother cared for herself and her baby during the pregnancy. At Adoption Arkansas, we make it a priority to help birth mothers with medical care, but there may still be some mysteries. It’s good to have a doctor who has experience with adopted children. An experienced doctor will have a better idea of the kinds of tests and observations needed in your situation.
International adoptions or adoptions of older children bring their own special concerns. Again, an experienced doctor is your best bet.
How to find a doctor for your adopted child
Talk with your own primary care physician and ask for a recommendation. Ask your friends and family about their experiences with local pediatricians.
Or just Google. If you start your search for a doctor online, as about 72% of us do, according to the Pew Research Center, take information with a grain of salt. A university study of healthcare provider grading websites found that most doctors’ star “grades” come from just one or two visitors. When you read healthcare grade site reviews, you’ll often find that negative reviews about doctors focus on billing, insurance, a harried receptionist, or even an upsetting diagnosis — not the doctor’s skill.
Once you have a few prospective doctors in mind, use this checklist to make your decision:
- Are they board certified? This lets you feel confident about the doctor’s qualifications.
- Do they accept your insurance?
- Are they taking new patients?
- Is the doctor in private practice? If so, who covers for them when they’re out of the office?
- What is their experience with adopted children?
- Who will they refer you to if your child has special needs?
You’ll also want a doctor with whom you feel rapport. Your baby’s doctor can be an important resource and partner in your child’s healthy development.
Finding the right doctor is an important part of getting ready to bring your new child into your life. If you’re considering adoption, Adoption Arkansas is an excellent starting point. Contact us with any questions and concerns.