I know many who read my blog are awaiting the arrival of their first child. I wanted to share the list of questions I used when I interviewed our pediatrician before D came home.
We chose a female pediatrician because our post-institutionalized children are more familiar with women than men. Generally the only man they may have ever had contact with (before their Daddy arrived in their lives) would have been the male doctor at the orphanage. So, that was our basis on chosing a female pediatrician.
We made the appointment for our pediatrician interview after we made our first trip. We had much more medical information, photos and video to share with the doctor after our first trip than we did right after referral. So that is why I waited between the two trips to interview.
***Let me add now that I have no idea where I found the basis of this list of questions. It did not come from my own brain - if I could remember nearly 6 years back to where I got it I would acknowledge the original author. But I'm just re-copying it from the scribbles in my adoption journal from D's adoption.***
General Questions for Interviewing a Pediatrician:
- Are you a board certified pediatrician w/at least 3 years specialized training?
- Do you currently or have you ever had any other Internationally Adopted children as patients?
- What is your availability in case of emergency?
- How will you support us on feeding choices? (ie: reverting back to bottle)
- Do you have a certain area of expertise in child care?
- What are the office hours?
- What do we do after hours?
- How can I reach you by phone and when?
- What do we do in case of an emergency if you are unavailable?
- Can we talk to you on the phone with questions not requiring an office visit? Is there a charge for these consultations?
- How long is the typical office visit? (you want it to be at least 15 minutes)
- Do you have a copy of the physicians red-book to translate diagnoses from another country?
- When we return home with our child will we be able to get an appointment ASAP (w/in 72 hours) even though our arrival date will be unknown?
- How do you feel about us having our child concurrently being evaluted by an International Adoption specialist? We had planned to take D to Texas Children's Hospital IA Specialist when we came home, but the need was not great enough. We trusted our Pediatrician to deal with our issues.
- How comfortable are you with guiding us through developmental issues and getting us connected with Early Childhood Intervention in our town/county.
- Are you set up to test her eyes and ears in this office or will we need to see a specialist. If a specialist is needed, who would you recommend?
- Are you familiar with Sensory Integration issues?
- Will you supply us with the neccessary materials for bringing a sample of our child's stool to check for parasites at her first visit?
- Will you recommend starting over with vaccinations or running Titers to verify the validity of the previous vaccinations.
How we did things:
We called the regular appointment number and explained that we wanted to have an interview with the doctor for our soon to arrive from Russia daughter-to-be. The appointment was first thing in the morning - before the sick children began arriving.
I took a friend with me who was a "seasoned" mother. She helped me come up with even more questions that I would have never even thought to ask.
The doctor gave me their office's own guide book for parents of newborns. It has been a lifeline for me, we still use it and D is 6 years old. Ask if there is something like this available for you. Make sure the doctor fully understands that although your child will come home as a toddler or older, you are still a newborn parent!
Ask about feeding advice. Such as formula, etc. Remind the doctor that your child will be coming home with compromised nutrition.
Take whatever medical information you have on your child including vaccination records. We started all over with vaccinations on D with zero complications.
If your child has had the TB vaccination make SURE the pediatrician is aware of this. I believe most children coming from Russia will have had this vaccination already by 9 or 10 months old.
Also, just FYI the Polio vaccine D had been given in Russia was oral.
Ask about medications to take with you on the second trip which your child may need. Ask about dosage amounts. A US 2-year-old and an18 pound post-institutional 2-year-old will need different dosages! ALWAYS - If in doubt go by the weight, not the age when giving your child medication.
I brought pictures of D taken during our first trip. I also brought a video and left it with her if she wanted to watch it at a later time. I don't know if she ever did or not.
D was her first Internationally adopted patient and became the star of the doctors office anytime we visited. They always have remarked, still to this day, how amazing her transformation has been since she came home. Now Dr. Hunter has several IA kids in her practice!
That is all I can think of right now. If you think of any further questions, feel free to put them in the comments section and I'll see if I can remember back a few years and answer your questions.
"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." James 1:17