Sunday, January 2, 2011

Shots :( (Monday, September 13)

Those in the adoption world are all too familiar with the fight that took many months to protect our children from being forced to get vaccinations before coming home to the US.  There were numerous reasons for wanting to avoid this.

First, our children face enough trauma in being taken away from all they have ever known and being placed with complete strangers (who look, smell, and talk differently from anyone they have ever known).  They shouldn't be forced to suffer unnecessarily from even more trauma by getting subjected to numerous shots all at once.

Secondly, our children are supposed to be learning to trust us, to learn we will care for and protect them, and they are in a critical phase of the bonding/attachment process.  Being forced to the pain of numerous shots can severely damage the attachment process.

Thirdly, it's a bit dangerous to subject a child to so many vaccinations at one time, especially in an environment where there is limited access to good medical care.  Often children were subjected to as many as 6-8 shots at one time (in addition to the TB test they had to take).  Countless children had severe reactions to these shots, and even those who didn't have severe reactions often ended up sick and feverish.    It is far better for children to receive the vaccinations in the US where there is easy access to good medical care should the child need it and where parents would also have the option of spreading the shots out across a longer time period instead of getting so many all at once.

Fouthly, there have been numerous reports about the effectiveness and even the safety of vaccines in China (this is just one example).  Quite often after coming home and getting titers tested in the US children are forced to get the same shots all over again because the ones they got in China were not effective.  There are concerns about safety, especially in cases where refrigeration is a problem.  Given the power outage and extreme temperatures at the medical clinic on the first day we were there it is easy to see how this could be a problem.

Lastly, it just isn't fair.  A family who has a child in the US can elect not to vaccinate their child at all, ever.  Why should children adopted abroad be treated differently?  Given vaccines are given to prevent diseases (i.e. the child does not have the disease currently) it's not to prevent the diseases being brought into the US.  People from other countries travel to the US without being forced to get all these vaccinations.  Yet, small children who are US citizens coming here under the care of their parents were forced to be vaccinated.  Very unfair, indeed.

Thankfully, after so many months of fighting from adoptive parents, most children are no longer forced to get the vaccinations in China (kids 10 years old and up still have to be vaccinated, which still isn't fair).

Here are a few pictures from the day Micaelyn and Joshua got their shots.
She got shots in all 4 extremities, multiple shots in some of them.  The smiles and laughter she had had for several days were replaced by tears and sadness.
Even riding down the pet street in her stroller didn't make her feel better.
She went back to carrying around the toothpaste that had come from the foster family (I had originally sent it in a care package, but they returned it unopened).
Not surprisingly, Micaelyn did get sick and have a fever from all the shots. Thankfully she didn't get ill enough to need medical attention beyond the medications I had brought along with us, but the experience was definitely a setback in her adjustment with us.

No comments: