Accepting an Adoption Match with Opiates, Methadone, or Hepatitis

Should you accept an adoption match where the baby has been exposed to opiates, heroin, methadone, or other drugs? Is methadone better for the baby? What is the long term effect on the baby? What can be done to help with withdrawal? Host Dawn Davenport, Executive Director of Creating a Family, the national infertility & adoption education and support nonprofit, interviews Dr. Julia Bledsoe, a pediatrician specializing in adoption medicine and drug and alcohol exposure with the University of Washington Center for Adoption Medicine and the UW FAS Clinic.

Hit the Highlights
  • What are the most common drugs that are being used by pregnant women?
  • What are the common treatment medication/drugs given to addicts who are trying to get off drugs? Methadone and Suboxone
  • What are the short and long term impacts on infants exposed to optiates?
  • What are the short and long term impacts of infants exposed to Methadone and Suboxone in pregnancy?
  • Does the dosage of methadone or suboxone have an effect on the baby?
  • What are the short and long term impacts of infants exposed to methamphetamines (meth) in pregnancy?
  • What are the short and long term impacts of infants exposed to cocaine in pregnancy?
  • What are the short and long term impacts of infants exposed to marijuana in pregnancy?
  • Does the timing of exposure in pregnancy affect the prognosis for the child? Is there a safer time for a fetus to be exposed to drugs in utero?
  • Many parents believe that if the child is not born dependent or with drugs in their system that the prognosis is better. Or conversely, if the child is born dependent and has to go through withdrawals that they will suffer more impact from the in utero drug exposure. Is this true?
  • How serious is drug dependency and withdrawal for the infant?
  • What drugs used in pregnancy cause the worst withdrawal symptoms in the newborn?
  • How is withdrawal treated in the infant? How is Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) treated in babies born dependent?
  • Families that adopt out of state are often concerned about how soon they can travel home with their baby if she has been born dependent and is going through withdrawal.
  • How common is it for women who use drugs during their pregnancy to also drink excessively during their pregnancy?
  • How long does withdrawal in an infant born dependent really last?
  • How do you foster attachment while baby is suffering through withdrawal?
  • If a baby tests positive for opiates is it possible to determine what drug the baby has been exposed to? Does the long term prognosis matter depending on which drug?
  • One thing you hear a lot is that “early intervention is key” and that a baby’s brain can be rewired during the first couple of years with the right therapy. What exactly does that therapy entail? Where can you find it? What strategies should you be using at home with your child with a diagnosis of prenatal drug exposure?
  • There are many similarities between drug exposure and trauma in how it affects children’s learning, behavior, etc. When a child has both of those challenges, is it possible to tell the difference on what is causing specific problems, and is the treatment different depending on the cause?
  • Are children who are exposed prenatally at a greater risk for drug abuse as teens and adults if they were adopted and not raised in an environment that exposed them to drug use?
  • Blood born diseases that women who use drugs are exposed to are more likely to have.
  • What is the risk to a baby whose mother has Hepatitis B or C?
  • How likely is it that the baby will contract Hep B or C from its mother?
  • Are there steps that can be taken at birth that will reduce the likelihood that the baby will get Hepatitis from his mother?
  • What are the treatments for Hep B and C?
  • How soon can an infant or child be treated for Hep B or C after birth?

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Image Credit: Heather Katsoulis