Elective Rotations: International Adoption Center

This is the first entry in our series about student elective rotations.  Second year students in the UC/CCHMC GCP who are on track to complete their clinical logbook requirements are given the option to develop their own elective rotation.   Students choose these rotations based on their interests or on skills they would like to obtain.  Along with input from program faculty, they develop the learning objectives and outcomes for their rotation.  

One of the reasons I was particularly interested in the genetic counseling program at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital was the sheer magnitude of unique and exciting opportunities available to students. When offered the chance to participate in an elective rotation to gain more experience in an area of interest to us outside of our typical studies, I enthusiastically decided to try and rotate with the International Adoption Center (IAC) at CCHMC. Although adoption has long been an interest of mine, I found that my experience with the psychosocial concerns (challenges and successes!) of adoptive families was limited. Additionally, as some children available for adoption may have special healthcare needs (some of which can be attributable to a genetic syndrome) I knew that this rotation would make for a well-rounded learning experience. In the end, I felt that I was better able to appreciate the needs of adoptive families while learning more about issues unique to the adoption process.
                Throughout my 5-week rotation, I was able to observe a number of families at different points in their adoption process. At the IAC, families considering adoption are able to discuss the details of their referral while those who have arrived home can receive specialized care for their children in a setting designed to meet their unique needs. Most children receive comprehensive evaluations from all of the specialties in the clinic, including:  infectious diseases, nursing, social work, and occupational therapy. Addressed were the child’s healthcare management needs, recommended immunizations, necessary referrals to other specialists, and so much more. Common psychosocial concerns discussed included: attachment, ongoing behavior concerns, and general adjustment to the new environment and family. I thoroughly enjoyed my time rotating with the IAC and learned a great deal about the adoption process, multidisciplinary clinics, and working with families during a period of great change and, at times, high stress.

--Jule Diaz