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Life Lessons: Overcoming obstacles to overseas adoptions

Published On: Jan 23 2014 05:00:00 AM EST

Life Lessons:Overcoming obstacles to overseas adoptions

When the Moyer family decided they wanted to adopt a child from China, they were told a healthy child would take seven years.

"So then the other option was special needs," says Durrell Moyer.

"And one of them was minor heart that we said we would be open to," says Heidi Moyer.


But one month after getting home, the Moyers learned their new daughter's heart problem was much more serious.

"There was a doctor here that told us that day that he didn't think that she was still operable," Heidi said.

Their daughter Bryn nearly died during her two surgeries. Dr. Deborah Davis was on the team that helped save her.

"There was a lot of simpatico there, I would say," says Dr. Davis, Medical Director of the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children.

Dr. Davis herself adopted a child with what she thought was a minor facial deformity 30 years ago. Nine surgeries later her daughter Katie, now a nurse, is okay.

"But I think that we would all admit if we are honest with ourselves, that we didn't really bargain for all this," says Dr. Davis.

That's why Dr. Kate Cronan, pediatrician at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, cautions families to always ask for medical records, but know it may not be correct.

"If at all possible, I would tell families, ask for a video," say Dr. Cronan.

You can have your pediatrician or an adoption consultant review the record and video, then conference call the overseas doctor with questions.

"So I don't think parents should go into this thinking, like I'm just lucky to get a child and I shouldn't ask any questions, because it's not true," Dr. Cronan said.

Once back in the country, Dr. Cronan recommends taking your child to a pediatrician for a thorough examination. She may know better than most: she also adopted her daughter with a medical need from overseas.

Here's a checklist of what to bring to your first doctor's visit in the US,.