International adoption - travel health

International adoption presents a number of unique travel health considerations.

Like other travellers, parents travelling to their child’s country of origin should receive pre-travel health advice and take health precautions while travelling.

Other family members who are not travelling may require certain vaccinations before the adopted child arrives in Canada.

Children who are adopted internationally may receive medical care that differs from what is available in Canada, or may have been exposed to diseases that are uncommon in Canada. They may require vaccinations or medical tests after arriving in Canada.

Parents planning an international adoption

Consult a health care provider to discuss:

Consider making an appointment with adoption medicine specialist for a ‘pre-adoption consultation’ to discuss your child’s file.

Before travelling

If you are travelling to your child’s country of origin, you should consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel to:

Before you leave, there are other steps you can take to plan a safe and healthy trip:

Family members staying at home

Sometimes internationally adopted children may have illnesses that are not properly diagnosed, or have yet to be diagnosed, which can be spread to family members and other close contacts. It is recommended that, anyone, including other family members, who will be in close contact with the adopted child, schedule an appointment with a health care provider, preferably six weeks before the adopted child arrives in Canada to:

While travelling

The pre-adoption care that children receive and the quality of their records vary widely among countries. Try to collect as much information about your child’s medical history and care as you can, recognizing that even if the information is available, it might not be accurate. Some questions to ask include:  

After returning home

Citizenship and Immigration Canada requires an immigration medical exam for all children immigrating to Canada. For children under five, this will include a history and physical exam.

You should also visit your own health care provider within two to three weeks of returning home with your child. The visit will allow your health care provider to assess available documents and: 

Seek medical care quickly if the child has a fever, diarrhea, vomiting, or loss of appetite after you return home.

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