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Question:

From Dixmont, Maine, USA:

I already have a child with a medical condition I adopted three years ago, and I'm thinking about adopting an eight year little girl who diabetes. She takes insulin shots two to three times per day, and they have to check her blood sugar three times per day. Am I taking on a very big responsibility? Does having a child with diabetes totally change your lifestyle?

Answer:

You bet! Taking on an eight year old with type 1 diabetes is a huge responsibility, but is definitely worth it. Before insulin, these children died in a short period of time often due to DKA [diabetic ketoacidosis]. So, you would be directly maintaining another person's life until she is old enough to maintain it herself.

Having a child with diabetes will definitely totally change your lifestyle, but it really means being more cognizant of a healthy lifestyle, eating properly and balancing exercise. In addition, there will be times when you do need to check a blood sugar level in the middle of the night. There are many different insulin regimens that are used (no one is stuck on one pattern if things are not working out. Our son started out on NPH, then Lente, then Ultralente, then Lantus, and is now on an insulin pump). However, adopting a child with diabetes is very doable.

When diabetes is controlled, life can be normal. Just today, my eight year old son (diagnosed three and a half years ago) won first place in a karate competition, then went to a baseball game with his friends at a birthday party (of course I went with him to make sure he went through all the day's activities went well, which they did).

PSL

[Editor's comment: I commend you on your desire to adopt this little girl; she is fortunate indeed. However, I strongly urge you to seek counsel from a pediatric diabetes team before making a further commitment. If she is not currently being followed by one, please ask for a referral.

The most important things you will need are extensive education and support. Preferably, this will be provided by a team of experts composed minimally of a physician, nurse educator, dietitian, and mental health specialist (medical social worker or psychologist) all of whom are well-versed in the care of children with diabetes. Getting off to a good start is essential,not only for your piece of mind, but for the long-term wellness of this child. SS]

DTQ-20030211125115
Original posting 11 Jun 2003
Posted to Other Social Issues

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:46
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