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Research Article | Volume 2 Issue 2 (March, 2022)
Adopted Children from Ukraine: Health Outcomes on Arrival and Long-Term
Under a Creative Commons license
Open Access
Background: Former Soviet Union countries, and specifically Ukraine, are a frequent geographic area for children adopted abroad by Spanish families. The objective of this study was to describe the epidemiological characteristics and the health outcomes on arrival and long-term in children adopted from Ukraine. Material & Methods: Longitudinal observational study on 29 adopted Ukrainian children in Spain from 2002 to 2011, examined according to a standardized protocol at a specialized referral center. The pre-adoption history and the clinical, anthropometric, and laboratory post-adoption records were reviewed. Results: All children (females, 55.2%) were adopted from orphanages. 58.6% were terminated of parental rights for abuse/neglect, and 41.4% abandoned at birth. 17.2% were alcohol-exposed, 44.8% preterm birth, and 51.7% low birth weight. The mean age at orphanage entry was 15.9 months, and 42.2 months at adoption. The most frequent health problems on arrival were neurodevelopmental delays (51.7%), short stature (48.3%), self-regulation difficulties (34.5%), underweight (31%), and iron deficiency (27.6%). Twenty (69%) children had more than one health problem. 93% of children recovered their health problems five years after adoption. The most frequent health problems on long-term follow-up were externalizing behavior problems, especially in females. One female showed central precocious puberty, and one male was diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome. Conclusion: Most of health problems observed on arrival and long-term in adopted children from Ukraine were common conditions described in previous studies among internationally adopted children from the former Soviet Union countries. International adoption proved to be successful as a means of protecting children's well-being and physical, maturational, and emotional development.
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