Children's Hospitals Today - Spring 2018 - 18

FEATURE / ADOPTION MEDICINE

issues represent a whole new little field for our institution and other institutions around the best way to manage
them," she says.

Helping into adulthood
Staat and her team continue to build the program. One area
they are looking at now: helping adopted children who have
challenges with planning, organizing and starting tasks
transition into adulthood. Many internationally adopted
children suffer brain issues, due in large part to chronic malnutrition or fetal alcohol syndrome, Staat says. These kids
can have planning or social challenges that make it difficult
for them to be independent as an adult. It can be hard for
them to hold down a job or even communicate. So the IAC is
working to get ahead of it.
"We keep learning from our kids as to what the next thing
is that needs to happen, to help make sure they are taken
care of and that they are productive, successful members of
society," says Staat.

Solving the puzzle
Peggy Featherstone and her husband, Mark, adopted five
children from China. Add that to their four biological children, and today, they have nine kids between the ages of 12

Four of the Featherstone's adopted children have cleft
lip and palate. So the program referred them to the cleft
palate team at CHOP, which would arrange to take care of
all their needs-from plastic surgery and orthodontics to
speech, hearing and dental, to testing for developmental
delays and emotional support.
"The medical complexity of children adopted internationally, especially from China, has increased dramatically in recent years," says Susan Friedman, M.D., attending physician
and director of the International Adoption Health Program.
"These children often need multiple specialist evaluations
and care coordination. We are the gateway to the wide range
of medical expertise at CHOP, providing care coordination
and ensuring they see the specialists they need. When a
child comes home and has a multidisciplinary medical issue,
we make sure everything is connected."
Featherstone is grateful for all the ways Friedman and
her team have helped her and her family throughout the
process. From navigating mounds of paperwork from an
adoption agency to videos, pictures-and even psychological tests written in Chinese.
"She puts it together like a big puzzle and figures out
what is missing and what you should ask more information on," Featherstone says. "She can see things others
can't. She can look at things
and say, 'This doesn't seem
normal, this doesn't fit, this
head circumference doesn't
match what it should be
according to the weight.'
She knows what to flag and
what is just normal adjustment for the adopted child."

What it means to
have a family
When the Featherstones
adopted their son Andrew,
now 10, they were at CHOP
for an evaluation. Andrew
had been home a month.
The Featherstones: Mark, Peggy, Maggie, Thomas, Mark, John, Anna, Danny, Keriann, Andrew and Emma
Communicating
through
the interpreter, Peggy told
Andrew they were so happy
and 23. For each adoption, they leaned on the International
to have him as their son. Andrew's eyes grew wide. Then he
Adoption Health Program at Children's Hospital of
spoke, and the interpreter's eyes filled with tears.
Philadelphia (CHOP). When they adopted their first child,
"Through the interpreter, Andrew said, 'Does that mean she
Anna, about 16 years ago, the team at CHOP did research and
considers me her son?,'" Peggy recalls. "It was a breakthrough
provided tips on adopting a 1-year-old. Since then, the profor him. These children have been in institutions for a long
gram has offered so much more, according to Featherstone.
time, and they don't know what a parent is, what a family is."

18

CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL S TODAY Spring 2018



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Children's Hospitals Today - Spring 2018

Contents
Children's Hospitals Today - Spring 2018 - Intro
Children's Hospitals Today - Spring 2018 - Cover1
Children's Hospitals Today - Spring 2018 - Cover2
Children's Hospitals Today - Spring 2018 - Contents
Children's Hospitals Today - Spring 2018 - 2
Children's Hospitals Today - Spring 2018 - 3
Children's Hospitals Today - Spring 2018 - 4
Children's Hospitals Today - Spring 2018 - 5
Children's Hospitals Today - Spring 2018 - 6
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