International Adoption Center

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    The International Adoption Center at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center was founded in 1999 to address the health and well-being of internationally adopted children, their families and communities. The IAC is one of only about a dozen such comprehensive centers in the United States that examines and evaluates these children for the unique and complex medical, developmental and psychological issues that many of them face. We expect to see an increasing number of families who have adopted children from Haiti, given the number of orphaned children following the January 2010 earthquake.

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    + What are some of the common issues internationally adopted children have?

    Internationally adopted children often have unique medical and social issues. Some are malnourished. Infectious diseases are common, as many children have not had complete vaccination against disease. In addition, many children face the developmental and psychological impact of institutionalization and sensory deprivation.

    + What services does the IAC provide?

    The IAC is not an adoption agency that places children with families.

    The IAC provides four main services:

    • Pre-adoption consultation
    • Post-adoption screening and evaluation
    • Community outreach
    • Research

    We have a new program to address mental health and learning services. And, our research has led to immunization recommendations that are in place on a national level. The IAC is not a replacement for pediatricians and family physicians but a resource for primary care providers. We work hand in hand with them in addressing adoption-related issues.

    We have an interdisciplinary staff that includes a physician, nurses, occupational therapist, social worker, psychologist, neuropsychologist, attachment specialist and a school advocate.

    + How many children are internationally adopted each year?

    In 2010, families in the United States adopted about 11,000 children from around the world. The number has been falling in recent years; in 2004, nearly 23,000 children were adopted from other countries.

    + How many children has the IAC evaluated?

    Since 1999, the IAC has assisted thousands of adoptive families from 47 states and nine countries.

    + How many countries have these children come from?

    These children were born in 49 different countries around the world.

    + How many children in Haiti are now orphans due to the terrible earthquake in Haiti?

    It is very hard to know, but estimates have topped 200,000 children. Some believe there may be 900,000 children orphaned.

    + Do we expect many to come through the IAC?

    Numerous organizations are collaborating to ensure that Haitian orphans get the medical care they need. Many no doubt will come to the United States over time, and the National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions is working with all children’s hospitals to coordinate this care. Given that the IAC is one of the most comprehensive international adoption centers in the nation, and that Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center is one of the leading pediatric medical centers in the United States, we would expect to receive our share of Haitian children over time. The Centers for Disease Control has approached us to be a sight that might help these children, from evaluation to more comprehensive care.

    + Do Haitian orphans have any unique medical problems?

    Yes, they do. Mosquito-borne illnesses, such as malaria and dengue fever, are of concerns. Parasites also are a problem in Haiti. In addition, infectious diseases are a serious issue. These include pertussis (whooping cough) and tuberculosis. We’re also concerned about bacterial causes of diarrhea. Of course, the earthquake and its aftermath have left many psychological scars, and the IAC can help with that healing process, too.