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Adoption and Health Records

Unfortunately, I’ve been spending a lot of time in the ER and various doctor offices with one of my kids. This particular child happens to have joined us through adoption. I have limited – and I do mean limited – information about the birth parents. There is no information on the health history of the genetic parents.

I’ve noticed that when we are asked questions at the doctor and ER, when we answer that we don’t know, it gets recorded as a No. Now there is a world of difference between, “I don’t know if there is a family history of a horrible disease” and “There is no family history of a horrible disease.” As the record is built for this particular child, it looks as if we know for sure that a number of unsavory options are decidedly remote possibilities.

I’ve also noticed that there is no box to check to indicate that my child joined us through adoption. Neither is there a box for children who are in foster care, those who were conceived via anonymous donors, etc. As a result, we are asked the same questions about health history and must explain it over and over and over again. That would be okay if it made a difference, but each new person starts with the health history and the same set of questions. Yes. We can state at the outset that we are an adoptive family but what if my child arrives without me and is unable to speak? What poor decisions are going to be made on the basis of these flawed medical records?

I think it’s time that medical forms and records embrace the a significant portion of the population does not know the answer to some very important medical questions. There should be a box for I don’t know on the forms that comprise the basis of our health records.

Anyone out there agree with me? Maybe we can get things rolling for a much-needed change.