When my daughter was about a year old, she developed a pretty nasty cold. It was the first time she’d really been sick, and I was worried about her breathing and the potential of asthma so, I called for an appointment with our family physician. Unfortunately, our regular doctor was not available on short notice, and I accepted their earliest opening with a doctor who was new to the practice. We’ll just call him “Dr. Theraflu” for the sake of anonymity.
I explained to him that my daughter been placed with us as a newborn but that our knowledge of her medical history was somewhat limited, thus my concern that we rule out asthma. From that moment forward, Dr. Theraflu prefaced every single note he entered into her chart with the (audible) phrase, “per adoptive mom.”
“Per adoptive mom, no known allergies.”
“Per adoptive mom, no noticeable change in appetite.”
And so on and so on for the next twenty minutes. It was no longer her breathing that was of greatest concern. It was mine. I was fuming and I can tell you he was one “per adoptive mom” away from death by stethoscope. I was mentally prepared to answer the investigator’s questions.
“How did the stethoscope become tightened around the doctor’s’ neck?”
“Well, officer, per adoptive mom…”
I’m not currently serving a life sentence for murder so, clearly I made it through but I tell you, it was touch-n-go there for a minute.
It’s important to have a physician who is familiar with adoption and not only for the sake of your own feelings (such as in my story). The understanding of limited medical histories, complicated medical histories, as well as a working knowledge of the psychological issues and/or mental health concerns that are most likely to affect adopted children, will make your physician a better advocate for you and your child as they grow. I have found over the years that most doctors (save Dr. Theraflu) are open to learning adoption positive language and willing to put the extra effort into giving your child the individualized care they need and deserve. You just have to ask. Offer to share articles and websites that address your concerns. If they are not willing to meet you halfway, start looking for a doctor who is.