Stories about: adoption

Blood relatives: Family bound by love and rare blood disorder

Tracy Antonelli was 4 when she was diagnosed with thalassemia, a rare blood disorder that occurs often enough in Mediterranean countries like Italy that an old adage, uttered only partially in jest, warns Italian-Americans against marrying other Italian-Americans.

In 2002, Tracy wed Patrick Mooty, whose background is mostly Irish. Their three daughters — 7-year-old Emmilene, 6-year-old Rosalie and 3-year-old Francesca — all have thalassemia, but not through the accident of the couple’s genetics. Tracy and Patrick adopted the girls from China, specifically because they, too, have the potentially life-threatening disease, which, according to conservative estimates, occurs in about 10,000 pregnancies a year in China and about 600 a year in the United States.

“This is the most rewarding, perfect experience I’ve had in my life,” says Tracy.

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This Mother’s Day, Think About Foster Care

As Mother’s Day approaches, I’ve been thinking about a boy I once wanted to have in my family.

I had been his doctor for a few years before he was placed in foster care. He was curious, charismatic, funny and very smart. I used to think he’d either make a really successful CEO or a really successful drug dealer. The difference will be who cares for him, and how.

That’s why, when he was bounced from home to home, I started thinking about being his foster mother.

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Finding the missing links: adoptive kids and health history

Foster parents may not have access to early health information which can make it difficult to foresee potential health issues

A recent study by the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics reveals surprising news about adopted children’s health: They’re three times more likely to develop physical and mental health disabilities than kids raised by their biological parents. Could childhood adoption really portend serious health problems?

Lisa Albers Prock, MD, MPH, director of the Adoption Program at Children’s Hospital Boston says that the findings have less to do with adoption itself and more to do with unknown family health history and missing information regarding a child’s early infancy. Not having that early health information can make it difficult to foresee potential health issues and genetic predispositions that might cause a condition later.

Albers Prock is quick to point out that just because adoptive parents may lack their child’s family health history, it doesn’t mean there should be a difference in the way they care for their child. Like any other child, she recommends simple attentiveness to a child’s well-being. “Adoption is not a problem, or a diagnosis,” says Albers Prock. “But for some, there are additional factors to consider.”

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One family's story: Raising multiple children with complex medical issues

Gretchen Kirby is a mother to four children, three of whom were adopted from foster care with complex medical issues. Here, Gretchen shares why adopting chronically ill children is so important to her and discusses how the centralized care provided by Children’s Hospital Boston helps her keep her “fearsome threesome” on the move.

Keva, Adrien and Tavish enjoy the snow

Growing up in a large family, I always knew I wanted to have lots of children one day. My brothers and sisters and I shared so much as kids that even as a little girl I knew I would want the same for my own children. But life doesn’t always go as planned. Over the years I’ve earned degrees, worked, lived, loved and had a child, but never found the right person to help start the big family I always envisioned for myself. Eventually I decided to follow my heart and build my family through foster adoption.

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