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A resource at home and abroad, U's International Adoption Clinic celebrates 25 years

The Freeman family, Robyn, Margo, Don, and Myles (Photo: Ellen Johnson, Photogen, Inc.) Ten-month-old Margo Freeman couldn’t have looked any healthier. Yet, when Don and Robyn Freeman learned that their adoptive baby girl was waiting for them in Ethiopia, they sought an expert evaluation of her medical records and advice on what to expect when adopting a baby from a foreign country.

“We were already in love with her just from seeing her picture, so there was probably nothing that would have changed our minds,” says Robyn.

Still, they wondered, based on the medical information they received, what challenges might lie ahead?

They turned to the International Adoption Clinic (IAC) at the University of Minnesota. Now celebrating its 25th anniversary, the clinic was the first of its kind in the country and helped to establish the field of adoption medicine as a specialty in pediatrics. It has become a model for other clinics around the country, garnered an international reputation, and created a greater understanding of the special medical and developmental needs of adopted children from foreign countries.

The IAC staff sees 300 to 400 children in the clinic each year and conducts roughly 1,500 pre-adoption health assessments annually.

As it turned out, the Freeman family learned that Margo had tuberculosis, which was treated successfully in Ethiopia. Today Margo is a thriving 17-month-old. “As she continues to grow, the IAC will play a key role in her development,” Robyn says.

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