Every year thousands of children are adopted in other countries by families in the United States. The vast majority of these children are adopted from Asia (China, South Korea, Vietnam, India, Kazakhstan, Phillipines), Latin America and the Caribbean (Guatemala, Colombia, and Haiti), Eastern Europe (Russia, Ukraine), and Africa (Ethiopia, Nigeria, Liberia, and Ghana). Many of these children have unknown or limited medical history, live in different circumstances (orphanage/foster care), and have limited availability of health care.
Infectious diseases are among the most common diagnoses identified in these children who may or may not have symptoms. In addition to a thorough history and physical exam, it is recommended that international adoptees undergo screening tests for certain infections preferably within two weeks of their arrival to the United States. We can help screen your newly adopted child for infections common in their country of origin.
Children’s Hospital offers pre-travel counseling, immediate post-travel evaluation, testing and follow up care of internationally adopted children.
This multidisciplinary program, led by Pediatric Infectious Disease, addresses the physical, nutritional, behavioral and psychological needs of children as they adjust to life in the in the Upstate. Children’s Hospital also provides access to one of S.C.’s largest groups of pediatric sub specialists, who can be consulted for virtually any medical, diagnostic and surgical need.
Only written documentation of immunizations received by an adoptee should be accepted. Date of administration, number of doses, intervals between doses, and age of the child at the time of immunization should be comparable to the current US or WHO recommendations. BCG, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, measles and hepatitis B vaccines are given routinely in many parts of the world.
Other vaccines such as Haemophilus influenza type B, Streptococcus pneumoniae, mumps, rubella, hepatitis A, rotavirus, varicella, and influenza vaccines may not be a part of the routine immunization schedule in other countries and written documentation may be available less often. Based on the immunization records available from the country your child is adopted from, blood tests can be performed to see if your child has appropriate antibodies to the vaccines that he/she has received.
Based on these results, we recommend which vaccines your child still needs and the timing of when these vaccines need to be given.
Two months prior to traveling, please plan to meet with one of our Pediatric Infectious Disease physicians. Our physicians can advise you on general travel precautions, destination specific travel advisories, and recommendations on pre-travel immunizations specific to your area of travel.
We will also review any medical records you may have available from your adoption referral, and counsel you on recommended medications and dosage you should have available with you for your child while traveling should they be ill or become ill.
The child should be evaluated within two weeks of arrival for a comprehensive medical history, physical exam, lab studies for infectious diseases the child may have been exposed to or may have acquired, and advice for making a smooth transition to the new home.
The child will be referred to the pediatrician or family doctor for a well-child check, any needed immunizations and to establish a medical home.
A month later, the child will have a follow-up visit at the Pediatric Infectious Disease office to review lab studies and treat any remaining infectious diseases. If needed, a referral will be made to Developmental Pediatrics for a post adoption transition evaluation and counseling.
To schedule an appointment for an international adoption evaluation, please call 864-454-5130.