An Adoptee’s Medical History and Medical Attitudes

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An Adoptee’s Medical History and Medical Attitudes


How many adoptees have faced medical misconceptions in regards to adoption?  Many of us have grumbled about this issue for decades.  We want to hear our medical history from our parents.  We do not want to hear it from the state.

When I write these posts, I write them from a domestic American adoptee’s point of view.  I was adopted from infancy.  From the beginning of my teenage years to now, my adoptive mother has always pushed me to find my truth.  In doing so, I have learned other things along the way.  

I know several adoptees including myself who have complained about the visits to the doctor’s office.  We always have to fill out the unknown  for the medical history portion.  We usually have to write down adopted -unknown.   Although I have accepted that as my fate, I never realized that this could also affect my children.  They are missing half of their medical information.  

We moved to North Texas about five years ago.  Shortly after moving here, my youngest child had an issue with sleeping.  She was not sleeping through the night.  She was three years old at the time.  I was working for the United States Postal Service as a letter carrier in a town 75 miles away from our home.  It required early morning hours for me to travel to work.  It required that I be in bed by nine o’clock every evening.  It was also a demanding schedule for them as well.

I would wake up at four thirty to find a trail of food running from the kitchen to her bedroom.  We tried changing the rooms.  We tried separating the girls into their own rooms.  I finally took her to a pediatrician who gave us some sleep medicine that sometimes worked.  He recommended seeing a psychologist who specialized in ADHD.  I spoke with our day care provider who said that my daughter was NOT ADHD.  I also spoke with my family and my friends about this issue.  All of these folks had been around her.  They said the same things.  

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After many a night with these kinds of food raids and late night walks, I would often find her sleeping in odd positions.  We had plastic milk crates for my crochet and swedish weave yarn crafts.  She would put her pillow in one of them and fall asleep in them.  So I scheduled an appointment with a local psychologist to have her tested.   

My daughter does not like doctors period.  It takes a lot for her to warm up to them.  She was no different with this psychologist.  She would not participate in his testing.  He began to ask me my background.  Of course, I could not tell him as I was adopted.  As soon as he heard those words, he made some harsh commentary.  All adoptees, according to him, are bipolar.  He wanted my daughter to go to a neurologist in Dallas.   Being an adoptee, this commentary infuriated me.  That is a huge blanket statement about a class of individuals who had no choice or say in this decision.  I replied to him nicely that I would find a local neurologist to help me.  I never went back.  I still owed him money for testing that was never completed.  Because of that blanket statement, there was no way in hell that I was going to pay him either.

I am so glad that I made that decision.  I am so grateful that I trusted my own instincts.  I scheduled an appointment with the local neurologist.  We waited for hours to be seen.  It was well worth the wait.  My daughter took to him like he was grandpa.  She enjoyed his company and his physical exam.   He looked at me and told me point blank that she does not have ADHD.  He said that she was perfectly normal but her problem was tonsils and adenoids.  He then checked my oldest daughter.  He said the same thing with her.  He said that she is sleeping in these odd positions because she can not breath.

Since I am adopted, I did not think about my past medical history.  I had my tonsils and adenoids removed when I was eight years of age.  Of course, they would have some of my genetics.  It was a thump on the head for me.  There is so much that I do not know about my medical history.  I do not want to use this as a reason to access the original birth certificate.  Access to that document is a right that must be restored to the adoptees of this country.  Most of the birth parents past want to give adoptees their medical history but they want to do it in person.  They do not want to do this through a government agency or an adoption agency.  It also should not be a requirement for a mother to sign up on the registries in each state.  Adoption affects not just me but also the generations that follow me.

How many other adoptees have had to deal with the myths and misconceptions about adoption with their medical history?