Evaluating Health and Legal Risk Factors for Domestic Adoption

Waiting times for domestic adoption is often dependent on how open adoptive parents are to health and legal “risk factors”. Common risk factors include prenatal exposures, familial history of mental illness or depression, incest, and unknown birth father. We will talk about how adoptive parents can evaluate the common risk factors and know whether to accept this birth mother match. Join our guests Dr. Meg Hayes, an adoption medicine specialist with Adoption Health Services at Oregon Health & Science University and Denise Hoppenhauer, Adoption Case Manager with Beacon House Adoption Services, President of the SC Adoption Coalition for Education and Support, and author of Adopting A Toddler.

Hit the Highlights
  • What health conditions are inheritable?
  • What are the pregnancy risk factors that would indicate problems for the fetus?
  • What should adoptive parents look for in the birth parent’s family medical history?
  • What if the birth mother has epilepsy? Will the child inherit that condition?  Will the mother’s epilepsy medications be a problem for the baby?
  • How great a risk factor is it if the birth mother has a very low IQ or is mentally challenged or mentally handicapped?
  • What is the risk to the child if the birth mother has hepatitis B or C?
  • What are the health risks to the child conceived of incest?
  • Can a tendency towards violence be inherited?
  • What are the health implications to the child of a mother who has chlamydia or herpes?
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and the adopted child
  • Does the timing of alcohol consumption during pregnancy affect the impairment to the child?
  • Does the pattern of drinking make a difference in how much the baby is impacted?
  • Is it possible to tell at birth if a child has FAS or FASD?
  • Does age of the mother change the likelihood that her child will be negatively affected by alcohol consumption during pregnancy?
  • Does obesity in the birth mother affect the health of the baby?
  • What do we mean by a legally risky adoption?
  • What happens if the birth father is unknown?
  • What are some of the red flags that an expectant woman may not follow through with the adoption plan?