When preparing for parenthood, you may find your mind a flurry of endless “to-do” lists and shopping for cribs, strollers and car seats.
While it is easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of excitement that comes with adopting a new baby, one very important task is deciding who will provide medical care for this new bundle of joy.
Just as pregnant couples begin searching for a pediatrician months before their baby is born, so too should waiting families. To begin, ask your friends with children which pediatrician they use. Many insurance providers also provide a list of pediatricians that you can research online.
Once you have compiled a list of pediatricians and have confirmed with your insurance provider that they will be covered, contact them and ask if they are accepting new patients. If they are, ask if you and your spouse can interview the pediatrician face-to-face. Some pediatricians may charge for this time, so be sure to inquire about that on the phone so that you are not surprised later.
Before meeting the pediatrician directly, prepare a list of questions to ask. Those questions may include:
- What is the doctor’s pediatric background?
- Do they have a sub-specialty or area of pediatric interest? If so, what is it?
- What are the office hours? Do they offer urgent care hours?
- Is it a solo or group practice? If it is solo, who will cover when the doctor is unavailable? If it is a group practice, how often will your child see other doctors? Ask about the backgrounds of any other doctors in the practice.
- How can you reach the doctor after hours or during an emergency?
- If you have a minor question, what is the best time to call? If the doctor is not available, who will handle your questions?
- Does the doctor respond to questions over email?
- What hospitals does the doctor have privileges at?
- What sort of payment plans are available?
Be sure to speak to the doctor about your adoption. Ask if they have any experience in caring for adopted children. Ask what information they may want to know about the birth parent’s medical or social history so that you can try to ask the right questions or provide that information to them when the child is born.
Due to the nature of adoption, your pediatrician will not likely be the first doctor to see your child, as the birth will probably occur in another state or town. Ask your doctor when he/she would like to see the baby when you return home – immediately, when the child is 2 weeks old, etc. – and what information they may need about the birth.
You should also speak to the pediatrician about any other topics or preferences you have about your child’s care, such as any questions or concerns about childhood immunizations, circumcision or discipline techniques. Finding a pediatrician that shares or supports your views will be key in establishing a strong parent/doctor relationship for your child.