What’s all the Fuss about Medical History? 

If you have read anything about adoption, you know that adoptee access to medical history is a hot topic. I think most people understand that it’s better for adoptees to have access to their family medical history for the obvious reason – to be aware of potential health issues that run through their genetic lines. I agree this is an excellent reason to ensure adoptees have access to that history without having to jump through any hoops, but I believe there are more reasons to do it and I want to share one by way of a story. 

A few weeks ago, I visited a medical provider for an annual exam. I checked in at the front window, and the staff person verified some information, handed me a packet, and explained that it was time to update my medical history. She said my old form was in the packet, along with a brand new form, and that I could transfer my answers and update any that are necessary. 

When I reached my chair in the waiting room and looked at my old form, I saw my traditional single line drawn down the entire “unknown” column, and noted that someone else had written in script across the entire page “ADOPTED.” Ah, yes, there it was – the medical version of the reminder that I am different from other people. 

But, then, I looked at the fresh, clean page, and read it – for the very first time in my life – because I actually know my family medical history now. I was so excited to fill out that form; a form that other people don’t give a second thought. After I completed my careful review and started to return the form, I realized I had some explaining to do to the front desk staff person, so I smiled and said, “I am adopted and reunited with my natural families, so I know my medical history now.” She looked sort of confused at first, then her eyes softened, and she smiled and said, “That’s great.” 

I don’t know if she was declaring my knowledge or my reunion as great, but in that moment, the great part for me was the empowerment I felt in completing that form. 

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4 comments on “What’s all the Fuss about Medical History? 

  1. Should say “Medical History,” not “Records.” No one is entitled to anyone else’s medical records, but everyone is (should be) entitled to know their family medical history. I am happy for you, as well, both for your reunion and you now have family history.

  2. Lynn says:

    When I went into the hospital to have my son, who was conceived through a sperm bank, I was asked for my medical history. At that time, I had to say “unknown.”. Imagine the surprise when they asked me the medical history of the baby being born (on the side of the father) and my answer was ” unknown”. The look I got was priceless.

  3. Lynn Assimacopoulos says:

    My new book called “Separated Lives” is a true story about the adoption of a baby boy. Years later I take him on a fascinating but uncertain journey to search for his birth parents. It is available from Dorrance Publishing (in Pittsburgh, PA) http://www.DorranceBookstore.com, Barnes & Noble barnesandnoble.com and Amazon.com

    Author: Lynn Assimacopoulos

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