Traveling to Adopt
Over the past 10 years, the number of international adoptions has more than doubled. The majority of these children are adopted from Asia, Eastern Europe, Central America and the Caribbean.
As a consequence of inadequate medical care, these children may be infected with Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, tuberculosis, parasites and other diseases. Adopting a baby from a developing country carries increased health risks for your entire family. These can be minimized by following safety precautions.
- Consult with a Travel Clinics of America physician before you travel overseas to pick up your child.
- You will need to update your routine vaccinations and receive destination-specific travel vaccinations and medications.
- Consider the Hepatitis B vaccine for all members of your immediate family. Hepatitis B is transmitted through blood and other body fluids.
- Follow food and water consumption guidelines while abroad to avoid getting sick.
- Wash hands frequently, especially after changing diapers.
- If traveling to a malaria-endemic area, take malaria prophylaxis medication as prescribed by your travel medicine provider. Improve your chances of avoiding malaria by staying indoors between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active. When outdoors, wear protective clothing pretreated with permethrin. Appy mosquito repellants containing DEET (30-50%) to exposed skin avoiding eyes, lips and open cuts. Wash off with soap and water when back indoors. Sleep under permethrin-treated mosquito net if needed.
- Bring extra medications to cover unexpected trip delays or extensions. Pack all medications and supplies in your carry-on luggage. Bring copies of your prescriptions.
- Know where to obtain emergency medical care abroad. One option is to join (for free) the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers www.IAMAT.org for a list of English speaking doctors, clinics and hospitals.
- Evaluate your U.S. medical insurance. Make sure it covers medical care abroad and provides evacuation coverage. Buy supplemental medical insurance if needed.