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March 2005Vol. 6, No. 2The Handbook of International Adoption Medicine

Since 1989, American families have adopted more than 167,000 children from other countries, but the unique needs of these children sometimes go unrecognized by medical practitioners. For instance, these children generally reside in institutional care prior to adoption, and they often come from countries with many endemic infectious diseases. Some practitioners are unaware of recommendations to address these special needs.

A new book, The Handbook of International Adoption Medicine: A Guide for Physicians, Parents, and Providers, has been published to provide information for those who care for internationally adopted children. Written by a physician with 15 years of experience in international adoption medicine, this book provides an overview of the specialized medical and developmental issues that affect internationally adopted children, and it offers guidelines to the physicians caring for these children and their families before, during, and after adoption.

The book's seven parts address topics of importance to international adoption medicine:

  1. Before the adoption, including the effects of institutionalization
  2. Prenatal exposure to alcohol, drugs, smoking, and stress
  3. Travel and transition to the adoptive family
  4. Growth and development, including malnutrition and developmental delays
  5. Infectious diseases
  6. Other medical conditions, such as inherited disorders and toxins
  7. Neurocognitive and behavioral issues, including attachment, disabilities, language competence, school issues, and culture and identity

Most chapters end with "Key Points for Internationally Adopted Children." Replete with photographs and charts, many chapters also have case vignettes as sidebars. A final chapter on resources lists a number of websites, books, and articles for further information on international adoption medicine.

The book, by L. C. Miller, is available from Oxford University Press (