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How healthy do you need to be to adopt

 Health Issues


As part of the adoption process you have to complete a health report,  which is filled in by your doctor and approved by the Agency Medical Officer.


It is 'in the interests of the child'  that a child placed in a new adopted family must have the best chance for a loving and normal life. This means having two adult parents (or a single parent) that will still be alive well past their teens and into their 20's and even 30's.


Thus your health is very closely assessed.  Obviously, the better the health you are in, the better prospects for parenthood. But not being 100 percent healthy and fit does not exclude you from adopting.


Margaret was concerned as she had had polio as a child and could only move around with calipers and crutches.  She feared that she would not be allowed to adopt.  But the social workers could see that her disability did not affect her life in any manner, and that she would be perfectly competent to look after a little one.


If you have any chronic illness that may have an impact on you being a parent, this will be examined in terms of how serious it is, how you deal with it, how it manifests itself and how it affects you.  Each case is treated individually on a case by case basis and each medical advisor has their own ideas.


 One of the saddest reasons why some couples are declined is because of illnesses which are present but have not yet manifested.  It is assumed they may become an issue several years down the road and the medical officer is not prepared to take the risk.   Diabetes is one of them.


Adult onset diabetes is something asymptomatic and only found through routine blood tests. . Terry and Robert wanted to start their second adoption, their first child had settled in nicely and they had all bonded as a family and now it was time to find a brother or sister. They were both in good health or so they assumed. The required blood test indicated that Rob had type 2 diabetes and a type that may lead to blindness in senior years.  The medical advisor for their agency took a very strong stance and refused to allow them to proceed with the adoption, despite guarantees by diabetic experts that the chances of blindness occurring in this particular case are very slim.


 Some countries have now imposed rules on the health of the adoption parents. China will not accept parents who are over a certain weight and Ethiopia will now not take diabetic parents.


Many of us come fairly late to parenthood through adoption and thus our health is not that of a twenty-five year old. I can understand valid concerns but ultra strict conditions bring heartache to couples especially as with advances in science there are every chance that they might live to a ripe old age. My heart goes out to the child who could have had a family, but were denied one because 'something might happen'


The irony here is that there are no guarantees to life and an adoptive parent has just as much chance as anyone else to be struck down by the proverbial bus.



Those who have had cancer and who are now in remission are not necessarily excluded from adopting. It is best if you contact you local social services adoption department and discuss it with them. They will access you on a case by case basis.




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