Reimagining Adoption

Nov 16 - There are 900 tests in this Hospital

Category: Submission by a parent, Bangalore

Today was the second meeting with our son. We met him last week, and it was love at first sight. He appeared to be too alert and engaged for a 3 month old. As he entered the room, he was having hiccups that shook his tiny frame. But that did not prevent him from fixing his gaze on us. We knew we had found our son. or shall we say our son had found us. Wanting to be sure of his health, we requested the agency for his medical check up. This was 15 years back and in those days there were hardly any standard procedures, medical reports or detailed diagnostic reports maintained by the agencies. As we were working most of the week, the agency asked us to plan for the medicals of our son on the next weekend. The whole week was spent thinking about him and preparing for his home coming, soon after the medicals.

We reported in time at the agency and set off for the hospital, along with a care taker. The hospital was back in town - almost 60 kms away and it was going to be a day long trip with our new found child. The care taker was a young girl - presumably just out of her teens. We had fixed up time with the pediatrician and after initial formalities related to registration, our son was taken into the path lab - for routine tests.

Our heart lept as the first needle got poked in his tiny wrist. He gave out a shrill cry and it was all over in about 15 seconds. A he had just relieved himself, we were able to give other samples to the lab. next we proceeded for the X-Ray. As often the case, Radiology was in basement, and the room was cold as stone. The staff wondered as to why was such an infant being brought for an X-Ray. As advised, we lay him on the table, and started removing his outer covering. Poor child, he shivered and sent out a wail that would melt any body's heart. We were some distance away through the procedure, and watched helplessly as he took the exposure of a cold air conditioned room and a hard surface beneath him. Though X-Ray process lasted just a few seconds, those viuals are etched in our memory forever. We jumped to his rescue, and apologised for the harsh moments caused by us. There would have been a couple of other tests - mostly physical examination etc. and we got to see the doctor towards late afternoon. Most of his reports were normal. There appeared to be some deficiency of iron and zinc. But as human nature would have it, my wife asked an innnocuous question to the doctor - are there any other tests rquired to be done? Are we reasonable sure that his health is normal? The doctor's responde was amazing. He said that there are 900 tests in this hospital - what all tests would you subject the little child to? He may have a hole in his heart. Does it really matter? For all you know, I may have a hole in my heart. You may have a hole in your heart. Parenthood comes with lot of uncertainties. He is a healthy child form what I have seen of him. Feed him on love, care and good values - the best will happen to you.

These words have echoed with us ever since. They have been the guiding force in taking all decisions relevant to our child. When in doubt, we have done our best, and left the rest to Him. Looking back, this was one of the most beautiful pieces of advice we ever received in our journey on adoption. We continue to thank and bless the doctor for his impartial, objective, empathetic and profesisonal guidance without which we would have only prolonged the agony of our child.

We reached the agency towards late evening, talking, patting and apologising to our son for the trouble during the day. The poor soul was so low on energy and tired, by the time we returned. Interestingly, the care taker too fell ill during the day, as she had never travelled by car that long a distance. We ended up tending to her too, rather than she taking care of the child. All doubts put to rest, our son was at home with us, next weekend!

15 years down, we see parents facing the same dilemma, and surprisingly, not all doctors offer a similar advice. Most doctors themselves are not sensitized toward adoption, and prescribe a multitude of tests, playing on the sentiments of the uninitiated and concerned parents. A few others try to make a quick buck out of the ignorance and anxiety of the parents as there are commercial interests between the doctor and the pathology labs. We have come across even family physicians insisting of several additional tests, just because the child was being adopted. They would not have prescribed even half the tests if the child were born in the family. And this, when CARA now days actualy offers complete medical report of the child and updates it every 6 months.

We hope more children are saved from the trauma of undergoing avoidable medical diagnostics at such a tender age, specially when they are referred to several parents, and each insisting on the same series of tests, afresh.

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