India Adoption, the Children, and a Heart Connection
In February, we see so many heart images – they’re everywhere!
One of the focuses for many this month is Valentine’s Day – we celebrate love. There’s also a heightened awareness of heart health in February.
We’d like introduce a new heart focus this Valentine’s Day: Children in need of adoption who have a heart condition … because we think it’s important to expand on a common medical condition we see in all of the countries where we work, and especially in India.
We caught up with Jo Reed, WACAP’s Family Finders Program Manager, to discuss the medical needs we see in our India adoption program and how so many families are “opening their hearts” to the idea of considering a child with a heart condition.
We hope you have a “heart-warming” day – and Happy Valentine’s Day from WACAP.
“A Heart Connection”
by Jo Reed, WACAP Family Finders Program Manager
Remembering How My Daughter Became Mine
As Valentine’s Day approaches, my heart warms remembering how my daughter became mine on a day in 2002—a day when the foreign shopping mall was a shiny sea of Mylar heart balloons in red, silver and pink. That February adventure has forever sealed the connection between the heart-filled greeting card holiday and the changes in my own heart as I learned to parent this complicated wonder that is my child.
For many adoptive parents, there is another, more literal “heart connection”—their children’s heart song rhythms are different because of heart conditions they were born with. As more of the children we see who need families have medical conditions, more WACAP families are opening their own hearts to those who need special medical care, and many of these children have congenital heart conditions.
‘Why do families adopt kids with heart conditions?’
Why do families adopt kids with heart conditions? One mom I asked looked at me in surprise. “Why?” she asked, “Why not? Our family felt it was manageable, repairable. I know some families have had a harder time than we did; we were lucky.” Others tell stories of how personal experiences with heart issues have given them the confidence they needed to adopt a child with a heart condition.
Currently WACAP is advocating for more than 30 children who have heart conditions, ranging from toddlers to teens “aging out” of adoption this year. In 2017, more than 10% of the children with medical needs matched with families had some type of heart concern. These conditions range from very mild (requiring monitoring but not treatment), to significant (involving multiple surgeries and ongoing medication) and everything in between.
We encourage families to learn more about heart conditions. Rainbow Kids’ offers a great resource to families regarding “Special Needs in Children” that expands on many medical conditions common in international adoption, including heart conditions.
WACAP also strongly suggests families seek a pre-adoption consultation with a doctor who specializes in international medication. It’s critical to get a true medical perspective!
Ask us about these kids with heart conditions!
- Vanessa, a 6-year-old girl in Thailand
- Clint, a 1-year-old boy in China
- Honor, a 15-year-old girl in India
- Sherman, a 4-year-old boy in Taiwan
- Angie, a 2-year-old girl in Bulgaria
- Brett, an 11-year-old boy in Taiwan
- Daria, an 11-year-old girl in China
- Gwen, a 14-year-old girl in Bulgaria
- Sherie, a 3-year-old girl in India
India has recently been referring many young children with heart conditions for international adoptions and about 10% of WACAP’s families adopting waiting children in India are adopting those with some form of congenital heart disease.
Currently there are more than 30 children with Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) of all ages on India’s list of waiting children, and Indian babies/toddlers with heart conditions are among those most quickly matched with families.
As one adoption professional observed, “All kids without families have hearts that need to heal on so many levels—the medical care my son needs for his heart condition is just one part of the support and care he needs to develop into the healthy, confident child he’s working so hard to become.”
Want more information?—just ask! WACAP can help you determine if adopting a child with CHD is right for your family. Email FamilyFinders@wacap.org or call me at 206-922-1518.
Jo Reed, Family Finders Manager, mother of two children who will always be my Valentines!
About WACAP’s Family Finders Program Manager, Jo Reed: Jo came to WACAP in 2004 and with her, an unyielding commitment to bringing children and families together. An adoptive parent of two children, Jo is also a daily advocate for every child growing up without permanency. Through her work with WACAP’s Family Finders, she has helped share the stories of thousands of children who needed advocates and a family.