Back before I got sick you’d have thought I was an adoption success story. I’m not alone in being seen as having a positive adoption story, many adoptees now sharing online were also seen as adoption success stories until they started looking deeper into the effects, and they may still be seen that way to people around them. Some adoptees will always be seen that way and it may be their truth.
My awakening was rude to say the least. The first time I realized that my family health history could have prevented, or at least limited what happened to me was when I met my aunt, and she told they’d all got together and documented their family health history because they knew one day, someone would need it. That someone was me, but adoption prevented me from having it. And yes, I just blamed adoption for it, because it’s true. But for being adopted, I would have had my family health history at my fingertips when I needed it. Doctors may tell you that they’ll assume the one adopted has everything their background, but the reality is that medical protocals don’t work that way, they’ll get standard tests that just about everyone has had, but more specific ones, you need a family health history to justify.
Prior to getting sick and realizing my life would never be the same again, I’d never really thought about adoption, the laws, the practices, the history. I was too busy living my life to question anything about adoption, I didn’t allow my adoption feelings that came to the front periodically to remain a constant in me either, I always pushed them back down. I didn’t follow adoption story lines on TV, or in the news, it just wasn’t my thing. Until it was, because if I’d only had my family health history, the impact could have been mitigated, to what degree who knows, but it would have made a difference in the final outcome.
Which is why I keep begging adoptive parents to fight for a robust family health history for their child, and to keep it updated from time to time. You can hope it is never needed, and I hope it isn’t, but you need to be prepared just in case it ever is, and those who know it are already gone. And no, genetic tests won’t cut it, most diseases don’t have the genetics defined to that level, if defined at all.
Do it. It’s important, even if they don’t need it now or in the future, their children may.
Here is a link to a Health History Form that can be filled out online that has enough pages for 5 different family members and has check boxes to make it easy. It saves as a pdf and if your child’s family don’t want to use their names, have them identify as Maternal Grandmother, Maternal Aunt, etc. It’s easy.