When an orphaned child joins a forever family through international adoption, two worlds and cultures are united. While orphaned children often times share similar backgrounds, each child responds to early-life stress experiences differently. Children who join families through the process of adoption often have multiple healthcare needs. After placement in an adoptive home, it is essential that these children undergo a comprehensive health evaluation. This evaluation should include a review of all available medical records, a complete physical examination and any necessary diagnostic testing.
Every child comes to their new family with their own personal history that affects medical, developmental, social-emotional and behavioral functioning. In addition, each parent welcomes the new family member with his or her own hopes, dreams, beliefs and experiences. When families and children embark on the journey of building a healthy relationship, each family and individual member has distinct needs. The International Adoption Program at Riley at IU Health is here to help you generate a plan that fits your family from the time you are considering adoption to addressing questions and concerns post-adoption.
The International Adoption Program provides premier pre- and post-adoption support for families and couples going through the adoption process. For more than a decade, we have been the only program in Indiana offering comprehensive clinical services in the area of international adoption.
No matter if you are a parent waiting for your child or your child has already joined your family, our highly specialized team of professionals can offer support throughout the process. Our team includes a physician with advanced training in developmental pediatrics and additional staff who help coordinate care with families. We understand the unique rewards and opportunities for growth when an orphaned child finds a forever family. When additional expert medical care is required, our team coordinates with other specialty departments at Riley at IU Health, including but not limited to the Heart Center, the Cleft & Craniofacial Anomalies Program and the Infectious Diseases Department. We also have access to and partner with other professionals dedicated to children who have been internationally adopted, including pediatric neuropsychologists, psychiatrists, dietitians and occupational, speech and physical therapists.
Anticipation, excitement and fear of the unknown all can be present when a family receives their referral information. Adoption referrals have the potential to pull at both heart and head. Our pre-adoption services are designed to help parents understand best and worst case scenarios in order to determine if their referral fits with their dream.
To aid you in this process, our team will conduct a thorough review of referral information from the adoption agency. Our services include evaluation of translated medical information, developmental milestones, photos, videos and anything else you have received that you can discuss with the International Adoption Program medical director. We will discuss and answer questions about medical status, growth, development, preparation for travel, parenting tips, feeding plans and considerations for children with special needs.
Once your child is home, the International Adoption Program provides a comprehensive medical evaluation, with special emphasis on issues related to physical and psychosocial development, infections, immunization, nutrition and growth, birth defects and adjusting to a new family. If additional medical care is needed, we will help you coordinate appointments during your visit.
As your family begins to adjust to having a new child in your lives, our program is ready to provide any medical and/or psychological support you may need. Services offered include:
- Support when adopting older children
- Guidance for attachment to child/bonding
- Preparation for school (readiness, talking to teachers/students)
- Help with integrating into a new environment (immunizations, what to expect, recognizing developmental milestones)
- Psychological evaluation/counseling referrals will be made
Recommendations for ongoing management will be shared with your primary care provider and arrangements can be made for consultations and services with other Riley at IU Health specialists and experts in the community when necessary. Our team can make referrals to psychologists and other mental health professionals in your local community that are best suited to address your child’s and family’s issues if needed.
Conditions & Services
Our pediatric specialists provide patient- and family-centered care for most related conditions. The links below provide more specific information about some, but not all, of the conditions that we treat.
In addition to our primary hospital location at the Academic Health Center in Indianapolis, IN, we have convenient locations to better serve our communities throughout the state.
Program Forms & Resources
Program Forms & Resources
The International Adoption Program at Riley at IU Health provides the following forms for parents, healthcare providers and personnel. We have also curated relevant resources from other websites and provided links with brief descriptions of the information that is available.
Related Programs & Departments
Related Programs & Departments
We provide multispecialty care for a number of conditions. Below are links to our related programs & departments.
For Health Professionals
Our team works closely with a wide range of healthcare professionals to whom we often refer adopted children for specialized medical care.
Refer A Patient
The International Adoption Program team leads a medical team—including resident doctors—to China each year to evaluate children in orphanages and provide education and training to caregivers. In 2014, the China Center for Children’s Welfare and Adoption invited our team to meet with them to discuss issues related to adoption and healthcare.