Senator John McCain did it. Angelina Jolie did it. Meg Ryan did it. Madonna did it, but not as often as she wanted to. All of these celebrities have adopted children from foreign countries. Foreign adoption by celebrities became a national sensation last month when Madonna was denied permission to adopt a second child from Malawi.
Celebrity adoption is a controversial practice. Some say that these celebs are only seeking publicity and a softer image. Others criticize the practice saying that the money these superstars pay for one foreign child could help a whole village.
Every day, ordinary Americans are seeking foreign adoption for the right reason – to create a family. This is an expensive and emotional process that, hopefully, will end well for all concerned. Many potential adoptive parents are rightly concerned about the health of the infants. Medical records in countries like Cambodia, Vietnam, Nepal, India, China, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Thailand, Russia, Central America and Africa may be suspect or absent. In addition, medical care in many of these countries may not meet our quality standards. Prospective parents want to be assured that the children they are considering have received all necessary vaccinations.
There is an important health issue that many potential adoptive parents are not aware of – and they should be. Foreign adoption can threaten their own health. These parents-to-be, like all international travelers, face many disease risks and need travel shots and other travel safety advice. For example, couples might be expecting to take a weekend trip to the developing world to pick up their child, but may discover unexpected delays that will prolong their trip for weeks. Like all international travelers to the developing world, they may need important travel vaccines to protect them from illness. Adoptive parents will not find this information on the slick foreign adoption websites that are trying to lure them to use their services. They need to take their own initiative and consult with a trained travel doctor during the adoption process.
The goal, of course, is to bring home a healthy child back– not yellow fever, malaria, typhoid or hepatitis. Folks who are pursuing foreign adoption should consult with a travel doctor early in the process. Each country has its own health risks. Learn about what you can do to stay healthy and safe in a foreign country. Doesn’t your new baby deserve to have healthy parents?