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November 2012Vol. 13, No. 10Nutrition Guide for Foster and Adoptive Parents

Malnutrition has a significant, unseen effect on brain development and lifelong cognitive functioning. A large number of adopted and foster children, especially those adopted internationally, have suffered from malnourishment. Research in this area shows that all adopted children should be evaluated early for existing nutritional deficiencies, so steps can be taken promptly to improve overall health. The authors of a new easy-to-read guide sought to address this issue by compiling the necessary information for caregivers and professionals to effectively assess children's postadoption nutritional needs and nurse this population back to optimal health and well-being.

Concise language, tables and lists, and interactive "Click Here to Learn More" buttons are used to present information in the guide for parents on the following topics:

  • Common nutrient deficiencies, their symptoms, and the specific foods used to boost nutrition
  • Risk factors for malnourishment
  • Recommended nutrition lab tests for internationally adopted children, children adopted domestically, and children in foster care if deficiencies are suspected
  • Tips for caregivers on transitioning a child's diet
  • Understanding and responding to feeding challenges, such as children who will not eat, have difficulty eating, or display overeating or food hoarding behaviors
  • Fortifying and fun food ideas and "power" recipes to increase key nutrient intake

Adoption Nutrition: A Starter Guide for Foster and Adoptive Parents is the product of a collaboration between SPOON Foundation and Joint Council on International Children's Services, nonprofit organizations dedicated to improving the lives of orphaned and adopted children and children in foster care. The guide is available on the SPOON Foundation website: (1 MB)

The Adoption Nutrition website, also maintained by SPOON Foundation and Joint Council on International Children's Services, is an extensive nutrition and feeding resource for adoptive and foster families. To learn more, visit: