Friday, March 31, 2006

Long distance diagnosis

Miles from a checkup
Monica Eckrich wondered about the wandering eye in the photograph of the baby girl.

Not that a wandering eye would be such a big deal, not when Eckrich and her husband, Nathan, had waited so long to adopt. “We had already fallen in love with her 24 hours earlier just by finding out who she was,” Eckrich recalls. And yet, she knew, love and commitment are not identical.

In January, Eckrich was teaching her fifth-grade class at Sunnyside Environmental School when the call came from Children’s Hope International, an agency that had put them on its waiting list for children to be adopted from China. A 10-month-old baby had been found for them in a Chinese orphanage. Within 24 hours the agency sent the expectant couple a package with the child’s medical records and a photograph.

“We looked at the records, and we’re not pediatricians,” Eckrich says. “Head circumference — what does that mean to me?” Eckrich had heard the stories of children adopted from foreign orphanages who turned out to be not as healthy as promised. But she had a resource: Oregon Health & Science University Adoption Health Services, which opened in January and is one of about two dozen clinics in the country set up to handle specific concerns of people about to adopt.

When we received Ally's referral, we went to see Dr. Patrick Mason at the Inova Fairfax Hospital for Children, which provides a similar service. I'd recommend it, if only for the peace of mind. It's amazing what they can tease out of what seems like limited information.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

daddy eckrich

12:26 PM  

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