Welcome to the International Adoption Clinic

The mission of the International Adoption Clinic is to serve the initial and ongoing medical, developmental and emotional needs of adoptive parents and their children from around the world. We are a non-profit clinic located at Children's South in Birmingham, Alabama. We are staffed with professionals with a love for children who have been orphaned and a desire to see them accepted into loving and well-equipped families.

Every member of our team has a connection to orphans/adoption either through personal work in orphanages, adoption agencies, personal adoption experience or travel abroad to do mission work. Our interdisciplinary clinic includes pediatric medicine\pediatric nursing, occupational \ developmental therapy, family therapy and audiology. We provide comprehensive medical services (both pre and post adoption). Families throughout the United States and abroad contact our office to receive Pre-adoption Medical Reviews by Dr. Jennifer Chambers or Dr. Carin Richard Kiser. Our services continue throughout the adoption process and beyond to assist parents in their journey through the international adoption experience. The IAC has been helping adoptive families since 2002. During this time we have served the needs of children from over 55 different countries such as China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine, South Korea, Guatemala, Peru, Vietnam, India, Thailand, Ethiopia, Uganda and many, many more.

If you would like to make a difference in the lives of hundreds families built through adoption, consider making a donation to the International Adoption Clinic.

Donate to International Adoption Clinic

 

Physicians

The UAB International Adoption Clinic is staffed with professionals who have a love for children who have been orphaned and a desire to see them accepted into loving and well-equipped families. Most of us have worked in orphanages, adoption agencies, participated in foreign missions or have personal adoption experiences. We provide comprehensive interdisciplinary services including: pediatric medicine, pediatric nursing, developmental therapy, occupational therapy and family therapy. We also collaborate with multiple subspecialist in the pre and post adoption process to provide the most comprehensive care available to our families.


Jennifer Chambers, M.D., MPH & TMJennifer Chambers, MD, MPH & TM
Pediatrician

Dr. Chambers is a board certified general pediatrician with a faculty appointment at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in the division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. She completed her Bachelor of Science degree at Furman University and her M.D. and Masters in Public Health and Tropical Medicine at Tulane University. She received her post-graduate training in pediatrics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where she also completed a fellowship in General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

Besides her clinical and teaching roles at UAB, she is also the founder of the UAB International Adoption Clinic. Dr. Chambers has had decades of experience evaluating and treating internationally adopted children. In addition, she has completed many mission trips overseas to work in developing countries. She and her husband have 3 daughters adopted from China. This gives Dr. Chambers the unique perspective of both the personal and professional perspectives of international adoption and what it means to families and to children.


Carin Richard Kiser, M.D., Director of IACCarin Richard Kiser, MD, Director of IAC
Pediatrician

Dr. Carin Richard Kiser developed a heart for orphans years ago during her medical training and through her service in mission work. She has participated in multiple mission trips overseas including consultation work to orphanages in China, Ukraine and Africa. She is a board certified general pediatrician with a faculty appointment at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in General Pediatrics. She completed her Bachelor of Science and M.D. at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and post-graduate pediatric training at Children's Hospital in Birmingham.


Clinical Program Coordinator/Pediatric Nurse Clinician

The Clinical Program Coordinator is responsible for the day to day operations and organizational structure of the International Adoption Program.


Karen Belcher, RN, CPNKaren Belcher, RN, CPN
Clinical Program Coordinator, Pediatric Nurse Clinician

Karen Belcher is a 27 year veteran pediatric nurse with Children’s of Alabama. She achieved board certification in pediatrics in 1997. Her passion for children and adoption began at the young age of 10. Over the years, she has been involved in multiple mission projects and orphan care in Haiti, Guatemala, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. She adopted as a single parent in 2006. Her daughter is from Guatemala. In 2012, Karen was selected to receive a “Living Legacy Award” from the Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing/Samford University for her many contributions to pediatric healthcare and orphan ministries. Karen is a very strong advocate for the cause of adoption and donates her time giving educational lectures regarding adoption as well as learning differences for various cross the state of Alabama. She serves in dual roles with IAC.

As Pediatric Nurse Clinician, Karen contributes to pre-adoption medical reviews, coordinates travel prescriptions and educates families regarding travel before they embark on the journey to meet their children. Post adoption, she coordinates services (case management), tracks lab results, coordinates testing and serves as a healthcare resource for our families.

In her role as Clinical Program Coordinator, she provides operational oversight, collaborates with the team to build programs and service lines, works to build positive public relations and manages the day to day operations of the program.


The Developmental Specialist

Our therapist will perform a comprehensive developmental assessment on your child to determine if your child is progressing at an appropriate rate as compared to the typical internationally adopted child. She will determine if and when your child needs extra support to accomplish developmental milestones, speech needs and/or scholastic placement.

Due to the unique needs of adopted children, is often difficult to decide what therapy or educational setting is best for your child. The developmental specialist will help you sort this out. She serves as an educator (on adoption) for therapists and teachers that may take part in your child’s care. She is also available to help with Individual Educational Programs should they be necessary. Language and cognitive skills are screened and additional therapy referrals are made when necessary.


Amy Elmore, BS, OTR/LAmy Elmore, BS, OTR/L
Occupational Therapist, Developmental Therapist

Amy graduated from Medical University of South Carolina in 1996 with a bachelor's degree in Occupational Therapy. Since then she has worked in many pediatric settings including school systems, early intervention, hospitals and private practice. She has taught at the academic level for occupational therapist assistants, early intervention programs and speech therapy programs.

She came to Birmingham from Dothan, Alabama in 1999 to pursue her interests in sensory integration and feeding therapies. She is certified in Sensory Integration Therapy and Therapeutic Listening. She has been with the International Adoption Clinic for over five years and she is involved with evaluations, treating and teaching parents about the developmental needs of their children.

Amy will perform a comprehensive developmental assessment on your child to determine if your child is progressing at an appropriate rate as compared to the typical internationally adopted child. She will determine if and when your child needs extra support to accomplish developmental milestones, speech needs and/or scholastic placement.

Due to the unique needs of adopted children, is often difficult to decide what therapy or educational setting is best for your child. The developmental specialist will help you sort this out. She serves as an educator (on adoption) for therapists and teachers that may take part in your child’s care. She is also available to help with Individual Educational Programs should they be necessary. Language and cognitive skills are screened and additional therapy referrals are made when necessary.


The Family Therapist/Adoption Social Worker

Our therapist will assess your child for behavioral/emotional/attachment concerns that are frequently experienced post adoption. She can also help parents see which behaviors are appropriate for your child’s age/stage of development and how adoption-related issues may begin to integrate into your child’s emotional/social development.

She will give you recommendations on handling emotional issues the child may be facing as well as make referrals to local counselors when appropriate. She may also provide education on adoption to the schools and therapists who take part in your child’s care.


Heather Schuck, LGSWHeather Schuck, LGSW
Family Therapist and Social Worker

Heather Schuck is a Licensed, Board Certified Graduate Social Worker in the state of Alabama. She graduated from Southeastern Bible College with an undergraduate degree in Counseling and Biblical Studies. She also has a Master's degree in Social Work from the University of Alabama.

Heather has worked in areas relating to child and family issues and adoption for a number of years. Heather has also been involved in program development of international adoption processes and post adoption counseling for families struggling with a variety of issues once home.

Adoption is not only a professional interest but a personal one to Heather. Her love for adoption started at an early age when she saw from her own personal experience how life changing a loving home could be. Since then, Heather's passion for adoption has only grown through her work in missions, interactions with orphanages, and her experiences working in a local adoption agency. In 2013 Heather and her husband had the opportunity to adopt their first child from Hungary. Since that time they have also had a biological son.

In her work at the International Adoption Clinic, Heather educates families prior to adoption to promote healthy attachment and adjustment, assesses needs for post adoption, assists with therapeutic interventions to improve attachment and decrease trauma, provides counseling and support for specific emotional needs, and provides crisis intervention. She looks forward to meeting you and helping you in any way that she can in your own experiences with the adoption journey!


Clinical Assistant

When you come to our clinic you will be greeted by a clinical assistant. This person will take some growth measurements on your child as well as a photo for our records. She will give you supplies and review directions for stool culture collection. She will also be available to assist with entertaining your child while you talk with our team. When it is time to go to the laboratory to obtain blood work or to radiology to get studies, this person will escort you to the correct location.


Lynn Zimmerman, CALynn Zimmerman, CA

 Lynn Zimmerman has a passion for International Adoption and truly loves working with all of our families. She is the mother of 3 sons and 1 daughter who was internationally adopted in 1987 from South Korea. She has been a part of International Clinic since 2004. She weighs/measures the kids when they come to clinic and assists the doctor with many other duties. Lynn understands our population and the sensitivities many of our children have when visiting the doctor.

 

Pre-Adoption Medical Review

A pre-adopt medical review helps to interpret the medical, social, and developmental information provided by your agency regarding a child you may want to pursue for adoption. These pieces of information can come in the form of documents, photos, and videos. Our physicians will evaluate all of the information available on the child. As a part of our comprehensive health care center, we have the ability to access subspecialist for added resources when looking a child's file. These could consist of experts in genetics, neurology, cardiology, and others.  Once the comprehensive review is completed, she will provide counsel on known diagnoses as well as recommendations for additional information needed.

A review of your child s file is typically completed within 72 hours of receiving the complete file. Once completed, you will have a phone consultation with the physician to discuss findings and answer any questions. We also have a 24 hour expedited review option for an additional fee, should you need a report quickly.

In addition to the review, our On-Call and Prescription Services are included in the fee. Our nurse clinician will call in recommended prescriptions to your pharmacy for your child's use while in country. We will also provide you with our physician's "on-call" cell phone number that can be used while you are traveling abroad (messages left are typically returned within 24 hours).

Fee covers $450 Initial Pre-adoption Medical Review/$550 Expedited (24 hour) Review.

"Blind Referral" Reviews

There are some countries that provide little to no information on a child prior to your travel overseas. In these situations, it is still possible to have a pre-adoption medical review on the information you receive once in country. We recommend that you contact us early in the process to arrange for these services. The services and fees are the same as a traditional pre-adopt review.

Initiate Pre-Adoption Medical Review
Pre-Adopt Services Form
Initial Intake Form
Email Consent Form


Post-Adoption Clinical Evaluations

There are three (3) types of post-adoption evaluations that are offered through our medical clinic:

  1. Initial Assessment Visit(s) (scheduled within a few weeks of your arrival home)
    Please note: It is highly recommended that you schedule this appointment prior to your international trip as we tend to book up quickly.
  2. Follow-Up Visits based on child s needs (3 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, 1 yr and annually)
  3. Interdisciplinary Consultations (as needed)

Initial Assessment Visits (1 Session "Combined" Visit  or  2 Session Visit)

The focus of the initial assessment visit will be to comprehensively examine your child identifying any medical, developmental, and emotional issues. These visits are typically scheduled to begin 1-2 weeks after your arrival home with your new child. Ideally, we would like to see you before your initial visit with your primary care pediatrician. We will collaborate with your pediatrician to prevent redundancy in assessment lab-work. If you are from out of state or travel more than 3 hours to our clinic, we can complete your initial assessment in one lengthy clinic visit (this is termed a "combined visit").  If you need a combined visit, please make arrangements through our office prior to coming to the clinic. Otherwise the initial assessment visit will be divided into two separate clinic visits.

  • The first visit (Session 1) involves a comprehensive physical assessment, lab-work, and x-rays (if needed), all completed\ordered by our pediatrician. She will make appropriate referrals to subspecialist (if needed)  This visit also includes a thorough assessment and recommendations from our Family Therapist, who specializes in helping adopted children integrate into their new families. The total time for this session 1visit can take up to 4 hours.
  • The second visit (Session 2) of the initial assessment visit occurs about 3 weeks later.  During this visit the pediatrician will review the results of your child's diagnostic testing\labwork, assess growth and nutrition and answer any questions you may have. You will also have a follow up consultation with our Family Therapist to assess the progress of integration within the family and continued concerns or questions regarding behavior/emotional needs. The Occupational\ Developmental Therapist will conduct a comprehensive developmental assessment with your child. This is typically about a 3 hour visit.

Follow-Up Visit

Following your child s Initial Post-Adoption Evaluation with the IAC, our specialists will request to see you back at specific times depending on your family and child's unique needs.

The monthly, 3 month, 6 month, 9 month, 1 year, and annual follow up assessments include a review of medical/nutritional, developmental/educational, and emotional/behavioral issues for your child. The length of time between follow-up appointments will be determined by our specialists at each visit and will vary due to the child and family needs. At each follow up visit, you may see the doctor and family therapist as well as the developmental specialist, if applicable.

Interdisciplinary Consult

If your child has been home for 1 year or more and is having difficulties academically, emotionally or with behavior, you may want to have an Interdisciplinary Consultation completed.  The focus of this visit is to sort out what developmental or emotional difficulties may be hindering your child from reaching his/her greatest potential.

You and your child will have a consultation time with 3 specialists: Pediatrician, Developmental Specialist, and the Family Therapist.

Phone Consults (MD, Family Therapist or Developmental Therapist)

In a situation where you are unable to attend a clinic visit or need immediate help, a phone consult is a good option for most families. Depending on your child s situation, you have the option to discuss medical issues with one of our doctors, behavioral/emotional issues with our family therapist, or developmental issues with our development specialist. These consults are all fee for service, there is no insurance billing.

Letter Services

There are a variety of situations that may warrant an official letter from our clinic, detailing adoption issues and providing education and advocacy for your child. If you are experiencing obstacles receiving developmental services, behavioral services, issues with care related to your child s school, and even some insurance coverage issues, these may be reasons to consider an official  letter from our clinic to those entities where you are experiences issues. If your future child has clinically documented urgent medical issues requiring expedited medical attention, we can provide an official letter to you for an expedient adoption process. (Note- expedited adoption letters are only written for those who have used IAC for their pre-adoption medical review).

Community Education

Our desire is to help provide another level of support to adoptive families through community education regarding the unique needs and demands of adopted children. We work closely with adoption agencies (both local and national), adoption advocates, and support groups to help meet the needs of families who have adopted. We are available to offer educational talks to schools, churches, pediatric practices or community organizations.  To request community education, contact our office at 205-638-6964 or email adoption@peds.uab.edu.

 

Learning Difference Assessments

Does your child seem incredibly bright, yet struggles in school? One possibility for this disconnect is a difference in learning styles. In the general population globally, about 1 in 5 people (20%) learn differently from their age matched peers. They often experience difficulty with reading (Dyslexia), difficulty in math (Dyscalculia), difficulty in penmanship, spelling and communicating their thoughts on paper (Dysgraphia) or maybe even all three (Dyslexia, Dyscalculia and Dysgraphia). This difficulty stems from an alteration in the neural pathways of the brain which re-route information to the right side of the brain instead of the left side where most learning takes place. In the general population, it is an inherited difference and requires a unique style of academic intervention.

In the adoption world, the frequency of learning differences is exponentially higher. It may be as high as 40% -50% or even more. While some of our children’s struggles may indeed be inherited, the more likely causes are: life disruptions, lack of early engagement with caregivers, lack of intellectually stimulating play and emotional distress, all of which can cause an alteration in development of neural pathways. Many of our children experience anxiety, depression and other emotional factors post adoption that contribute to learning struggles.

At the International Adoption Clinic, we offer services to help identify the specifics of your child’s struggles from an adoption perspective.  We are experienced in sorting out what is emotional and adoption related as well as where the deficits are in the learning process. A Learning Difference Assessment is a multistep process. First, we will see your child in clinic to assess for health (including vision and hearing) and emotional wellness. We will want to address any ADD\ADHD, or emotional factors first. Then we will schedule a Learning Difference Assessment. This process takes several hours and up to 5-10 multifaceted assessments are given at this one session. 1-2 weeks later, you and your child will be brought back to clinic to review results and discuss an intervention plan based on your child’s struggles.

Common signs of learning differences:

  • Delayed Speech or history of past speech therapy
  • Difficulty with word retrieval when speaking
  • Mixing up the sounds or syllables when saying long words
  • Articulation difficulties (r-l, m-n, s-sh-ch)
  • Past history of stuttering
  • Chronic Ear Infections
  • Chronic Confusion of Left versus Right
  • Difficulty Learning to tie shoes
  • Late in establishing a dominant hand
  • Difficulty following directions
  • Constant confusion of left versus right
  • Difficulty following multistep directions
  • Difficulty memorizing the names of letters and the sounds they make
  • Trouble memorizing one’s address, phone number, or the alphabet
  • Could not create words that rhyme by age of 4
  • Dysgraphia – poor handwriting
  • Letter of number reversals continuing past the end of first grade
  • Difficulty learning cursive
  • Difficulty learning to read – received extra tutoring
  • Slow choppy, or inaccurate reading:
    • Guesses based on shape or context or picture clues
    • Skips or misreads prepositions (at, to, of)
    • Ignores suffixes
    • Can’t easily sound out unknown words – despite being taught phonics
    • Cannot read high-frequency words
  • Terrible spelling
    • Cannot retain spelling words from one week to the next
    • Misspells high frequency words when writing
    • Often writes the wrong homonym
  • Difficulty telling time on a clock with hands
  • Trouble with math:
    • Memorizing math facts or multiplication tables
    • Memorizing a sequence of steps
    • Directionality
    • Cannot read word problems
  • Extremely messy bedroom, backpack, and desk
  • Dreads going to school
    • Complaining of stomach aches or headaches
    • May have nightmares about school
  • Extremely poor written expression
    • Written expression not at all similar to oral expression
  • Difficulty copying off the board or with near point copying
    • Often makes mistakes when copying
    • Can only copy one or two letters at a time
    • Often makes mistakes when copying
  • Extreme difficulty taking notes during lectures
  • Unable to master the written aspects of a foreign language
  • Difficulty reading printed music
  • Homework can be a struggle – takes forever
    • Nightly homework wars
    • Unable to do homework without assistance

 

 

IAC Seminars-Adoption Boot Camp

The best way to prepare for the coming change to your family structure is through education. The IAC offers comprehensive seminars which address medical, developmental, attachment, and identity issues that we commonly see with children who have been adopted. In addition, we also discuss practical matters such as traveling, assimilating your new family/how to talk with relatives and friends about adoption, choosing a pediatrician, and a parent panel discussion. This is a great time to glean wisdom from those who have gone before you. These seminars are for both domestic and international adoptions and are offered 3 times each year. If you are interested in attending, you can register by contacting our office at 205-638-6964.


2019 Dates:

Adoption Bootcamp:
February 23, 2019 and September 28, 2019
8:30AM – 5:00PM

Location:

Oak Mountain Presbyterian Church
5080 Cahaba Valley Trace
Birmingham, AL. 35242

To register call 205-638-6964 or email adoption@peds.uab.edu

Clinic Location

Children's South

The UAB International Adoption Clinic is located in the Children’s South building which is south of downtown Birmingham. It is at this location that we see all of our patients coming for post-adoption medical, developmental, and/or social assessments.

Children's South Location
1940 Elmer J. Bissell Road
Birmingham, AL 35243

Phone: 205-638-6964

Printer-friendly map version (PDF)


Business Office

Our administrative offices are located on the Children’s of Alabama campus in downtown Birmingham.. You may send any important documents or mailings by postal service to this location. Please note that we do not see patients here.

International Adoption Clinic
1600 7th Avenue South, CPPI 310
Birmingham, AL. 35233

Phone: 205-638-6964

Email: adoption@peds.uab.edu

Donate to International Adoption Clinic

Directions to Children's South

From I-65 North take Exit 250 to the right and bear right onto I-459 North (Atlanta/Gadsden). Take Acton Road Exit 17 to the right and turn left onto Acton Road. Go under the interstate and at the second traffic light turn right onto Elmer J. Bissell Road. The building will be on the left.

From I-65 South take Exit 250 to the right and bear left onto I-459 North (Atlanta/Gadsden). Continue as indicated above.

From 280 East and West take the I-459 South Exit (Montgomery/Tuscaloosa). Go 2 miles and take Acton Road Exit 17 to the right. Turn right onto Acton Road and at the second traffic light turn right onto Elmer J. Bissell Road. The building will be on the left.

From I-459 North take Action Road Exit 17 to the right. Turn left at Acton Road, go under the interstate and at the second traffic light turn right onto Elmer J. Bissell Road. The building will be on the left.

From I-459 South take Acton Road Exit 17 to the right. Turn right onto Acton Road and at the second traffic light turn right onto Elmer J. Bissell Road. The building will be on the left.

 

Top 5 Things I Wish I Had Known Ahead of Time

We have talked with hundreds of families over the years. In our discussions, we have found some common threads regarding things they wish they had known prior to coming home. We thought it would be helpful to share their experiences and offer some advice in preparation for your journey home.

Download the PDF

 

Welcome to the International Adoption Clinic

The mission of the International Adoption Clinic is to serve the initial and ongoing medical, developmental and emotional needs of adoptive parents and their children from around the world. We are a non-profit clinic located at Children's South in Birmingham, Alabama. We are staffed with professionals with a love for children who have been orphaned and a desire to see them accepted into loving and well-equipped families.

Every member of our team has a connection to orphans/adoption either through personal work in orphanages, adoption agencies, personal adoption experience or travel abroad to do mission work. Our interdisciplinary clinic includes pediatric medicine\pediatric nursing, occupational \ developmental therapy, family therapy and audiology. We provide comprehensive medical services (both pre and post adoption). Families throughout the United States and abroad contact our office to receive Pre-adoption Medical Reviews by Dr. Jennifer Chambers or Dr. Carin Richard Kiser. Our services continue throughout the adoption process and beyond to assist parents in their journey through the international adoption experience. The IAC has been helping adoptive families since 2002. During this time we have served the needs of children from over 55 different countries such as China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine, South Korea, Guatemala, Peru, Vietnam, India, Thailand, Ethiopia, Uganda and many, many more.

If you would like to make a difference in the lives of hundreds families built through adoption, consider making a donation to the International Adoption Clinic.

Donate to International Adoption Clinic

 

Physicians

The UAB International Adoption Clinic is staffed with professionals who have a love for children who have been orphaned and a desire to see them accepted into loving and well-equipped families. Most of us have worked in orphanages, adoption agencies, participated in foreign missions or have personal adoption experiences. We provide comprehensive interdisciplinary services including: pediatric medicine, pediatric nursing, developmental therapy, occupational therapy and family therapy. We also collaborate with multiple subspecialist in the pre and post adoption process to provide the most comprehensive care available to our families.


Jennifer Chambers, M.D., MPH & TMJennifer Chambers, MD, MPH & TM
Pediatrician

Dr. Chambers is a board certified general pediatrician with a faculty appointment at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in the division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. She completed her Bachelor of Science degree at Furman University and her M.D. and Masters in Public Health and Tropical Medicine at Tulane University. She received her post-graduate training in pediatrics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where she also completed a fellowship in General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

Besides her clinical and teaching roles at UAB, she is also the founder of the UAB International Adoption Clinic. Dr. Chambers has had decades of experience evaluating and treating internationally adopted children. In addition, she has completed many mission trips overseas to work in developing countries. She and her husband have 3 daughters adopted from China. This gives Dr. Chambers the unique perspective of both the personal and professional perspectives of international adoption and what it means to families and to children.


Carin Richard Kiser, M.D., Director of IACCarin Richard Kiser, MD, Director of IAC
Pediatrician

Dr. Carin Richard Kiser developed a heart for orphans years ago during her medical training and through her service in mission work. She has participated in multiple mission trips overseas including consultation work to orphanages in China, Ukraine and Africa. She is a board certified general pediatrician with a faculty appointment at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in General Pediatrics. She completed her Bachelor of Science and M.D. at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and post-graduate pediatric training at Children's Hospital in Birmingham.


Clinical Program Coordinator/Pediatric Nurse Clinician

The Clinical Program Coordinator is responsible for the day to day operations and organizational structure of the International Adoption Program.


Karen Belcher, RN, CPNKaren Belcher, RN, CPN
Clinical Program Coordinator, Pediatric Nurse Clinician

Karen Belcher is a 27 year veteran pediatric nurse with Children’s of Alabama. She achieved board certification in pediatrics in 1997. Her passion for children and adoption began at the young age of 10. Over the years, she has been involved in multiple mission projects and orphan care in Haiti, Guatemala, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. She adopted as a single parent in 2006. Her daughter is from Guatemala. In 2012, Karen was selected to receive a “Living Legacy Award” from the Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing/Samford University for her many contributions to pediatric healthcare and orphan ministries. Karen is a very strong advocate for the cause of adoption and donates her time giving educational lectures regarding adoption as well as learning differences for various cross the state of Alabama. She serves in dual roles with IAC.

As Pediatric Nurse Clinician, Karen contributes to pre-adoption medical reviews, coordinates travel prescriptions and educates families regarding travel before they embark on the journey to meet their children. Post adoption, she coordinates services (case management), tracks lab results, coordinates testing and serves as a healthcare resource for our families.

In her role as Clinical Program Coordinator, she provides operational oversight, collaborates with the team to build programs and service lines, works to build positive public relations and manages the day to day operations of the program.


The Developmental Specialist

Our therapist will perform a comprehensive developmental assessment on your child to determine if your child is progressing at an appropriate rate as compared to the typical internationally adopted child. She will determine if and when your child needs extra support to accomplish developmental milestones, speech needs and/or scholastic placement.

Due to the unique needs of adopted children, is often difficult to decide what therapy or educational setting is best for your child. The developmental specialist will help you sort this out. She serves as an educator (on adoption) for therapists and teachers that may take part in your child’s care. She is also available to help with Individual Educational Programs should they be necessary. Language and cognitive skills are screened and additional therapy referrals are made when necessary.


Amy Elmore, BS, OTR/LAmy Elmore, BS, OTR/L
Occupational Therapist, Developmental Therapist

Amy graduated from Medical University of South Carolina in 1996 with a bachelor's degree in Occupational Therapy. Since then she has worked in many pediatric settings including school systems, early intervention, hospitals and private practice. She has taught at the academic level for occupational therapist assistants, early intervention programs and speech therapy programs.

She came to Birmingham from Dothan, Alabama in 1999 to pursue her interests in sensory integration and feeding therapies. She is certified in Sensory Integration Therapy and Therapeutic Listening. She has been with the International Adoption Clinic for over five years and she is involved with evaluations, treating and teaching parents about the developmental needs of their children.

Amy will perform a comprehensive developmental assessment on your child to determine if your child is progressing at an appropriate rate as compared to the typical internationally adopted child. She will determine if and when your child needs extra support to accomplish developmental milestones, speech needs and/or scholastic placement.

Due to the unique needs of adopted children, is often difficult to decide what therapy or educational setting is best for your child. The developmental specialist will help you sort this out. She serves as an educator (on adoption) for therapists and teachers that may take part in your child’s care. She is also available to help with Individual Educational Programs should they be necessary. Language and cognitive skills are screened and additional therapy referrals are made when necessary.


The Family Therapist/Adoption Social Worker

Our therapist will assess your child for behavioral/emotional/attachment concerns that are frequently experienced post adoption. She can also help parents see which behaviors are appropriate for your child’s age/stage of development and how adoption-related issues may begin to integrate into your child’s emotional/social development.

She will give you recommendations on handling emotional issues the child may be facing as well as make referrals to local counselors when appropriate. She may also provide education on adoption to the schools and therapists who take part in your child’s care.


Heather Schuck, LGSWHeather Schuck, LGSW
Family Therapist and Social Worker

Heather Schuck is a Licensed, Board Certified Graduate Social Worker in the state of Alabama. She graduated from Southeastern Bible College with an undergraduate degree in Counseling and Biblical Studies. She also has a Master's degree in Social Work from the University of Alabama.

Heather has worked in areas relating to child and family issues and adoption for a number of years. Heather has also been involved in program development of international adoption processes and post adoption counseling for families struggling with a variety of issues once home.

Adoption is not only a professional interest but a personal one to Heather. Her love for adoption started at an early age when she saw from her own personal experience how life changing a loving home could be. Since then, Heather's passion for adoption has only grown through her work in missions, interactions with orphanages, and her experiences working in a local adoption agency. In 2013 Heather and her husband had the opportunity to adopt their first child from Hungary. Since that time they have also had a biological son.

In her work at the International Adoption Clinic, Heather educates families prior to adoption to promote healthy attachment and adjustment, assesses needs for post adoption, assists with therapeutic interventions to improve attachment and decrease trauma, provides counseling and support for specific emotional needs, and provides crisis intervention. She looks forward to meeting you and helping you in any way that she can in your own experiences with the adoption journey!


Clinical Assistant

When you come to our clinic you will be greeted by a clinical assistant. This person will take some growth measurements on your child as well as a photo for our records. She will give you supplies and review directions for stool culture collection. She will also be available to assist with entertaining your child while you talk with our team. When it is time to go to the laboratory to obtain blood work or to radiology to get studies, this person will escort you to the correct location.


Lynn Zimmerman, CALynn Zimmerman, CA

 Lynn Zimmerman has a passion for International Adoption and truly loves working with all of our families. She is the mother of 3 sons and 1 daughter who was internationally adopted in 1987 from South Korea. She has been a part of International Clinic since 2004. She weighs/measures the kids when they come to clinic and assists the doctor with many other duties. Lynn understands our population and the sensitivities many of our children have when visiting the doctor.

 

Pre-Adoption Medical Review

A pre-adopt medical review helps to interpret the medical, social, and developmental information provided by your agency regarding a child you may want to pursue for adoption. These pieces of information can come in the form of documents, photos, and videos. Our physicians will evaluate all of the information available on the child. As a part of our comprehensive health care center, we have the ability to access subspecialist for added resources when looking a child's file. These could consist of experts in genetics, neurology, cardiology, and others.  Once the comprehensive review is completed, she will provide counsel on known diagnoses as well as recommendations for additional information needed.

A review of your child s file is typically completed within 72 hours of receiving the complete file. Once completed, you will have a phone consultation with the physician to discuss findings and answer any questions. We also have a 24 hour expedited review option for an additional fee, should you need a report quickly.

In addition to the review, our On-Call and Prescription Services are included in the fee. Our nurse clinician will call in recommended prescriptions to your pharmacy for your child's use while in country. We will also provide you with our physician's "on-call" cell phone number that can be used while you are traveling abroad (messages left are typically returned within 24 hours).

Fee covers $450 Initial Pre-adoption Medical Review/$550 Expedited (24 hour) Review.

"Blind Referral" Reviews

There are some countries that provide little to no information on a child prior to your travel overseas. In these situations, it is still possible to have a pre-adoption medical review on the information you receive once in country. We recommend that you contact us early in the process to arrange for these services. The services and fees are the same as a traditional pre-adopt review.

Initiate Pre-Adoption Medical Review
Pre-Adopt Services Form
Initial Intake Form
Email Consent Form


Post-Adoption Clinical Evaluations

There are three (3) types of post-adoption evaluations that are offered through our medical clinic:

  1. Initial Assessment Visit(s) (scheduled within a few weeks of your arrival home)
    Please note: It is highly recommended that you schedule this appointment prior to your international trip as we tend to book up quickly.
  2. Follow-Up Visits based on child s needs (3 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, 1 yr and annually)
  3. Interdisciplinary Consultations (as needed)

Initial Assessment Visits (1 Session "Combined" Visit  or  2 Session Visit)

The focus of the initial assessment visit will be to comprehensively examine your child identifying any medical, developmental, and emotional issues. These visits are typically scheduled to begin 1-2 weeks after your arrival home with your new child. Ideally, we would like to see you before your initial visit with your primary care pediatrician. We will collaborate with your pediatrician to prevent redundancy in assessment lab-work. If you are from out of state or travel more than 3 hours to our clinic, we can complete your initial assessment in one lengthy clinic visit (this is termed a "combined visit").  If you need a combined visit, please make arrangements through our office prior to coming to the clinic. Otherwise the initial assessment visit will be divided into two separate clinic visits.

  • The first visit (Session 1) involves a comprehensive physical assessment, lab-work, and x-rays (if needed), all completed\ordered by our pediatrician. She will make appropriate referrals to subspecialist (if needed)  This visit also includes a thorough assessment and recommendations from our Family Therapist, who specializes in helping adopted children integrate into their new families. The total time for this session 1visit can take up to 4 hours.
  • The second visit (Session 2) of the initial assessment visit occurs about 3 weeks later.  During this visit the pediatrician will review the results of your child's diagnostic testing\labwork, assess growth and nutrition and answer any questions you may have. You will also have a follow up consultation with our Family Therapist to assess the progress of integration within the family and continued concerns or questions regarding behavior/emotional needs. The Occupational\ Developmental Therapist will conduct a comprehensive developmental assessment with your child. This is typically about a 3 hour visit.

Follow-Up Visit

Following your child s Initial Post-Adoption Evaluation with the IAC, our specialists will request to see you back at specific times depending on your family and child's unique needs.

The monthly, 3 month, 6 month, 9 month, 1 year, and annual follow up assessments include a review of medical/nutritional, developmental/educational, and emotional/behavioral issues for your child. The length of time between follow-up appointments will be determined by our specialists at each visit and will vary due to the child and family needs. At each follow up visit, you may see the doctor and family therapist as well as the developmental specialist, if applicable.

Interdisciplinary Consult

If your child has been home for 1 year or more and is having difficulties academically, emotionally or with behavior, you may want to have an Interdisciplinary Consultation completed.  The focus of this visit is to sort out what developmental or emotional difficulties may be hindering your child from reaching his/her greatest potential.

You and your child will have a consultation time with 3 specialists: Pediatrician, Developmental Specialist, and the Family Therapist.

Phone Consults (MD, Family Therapist or Developmental Therapist)

In a situation where you are unable to attend a clinic visit or need immediate help, a phone consult is a good option for most families. Depending on your child s situation, you have the option to discuss medical issues with one of our doctors, behavioral/emotional issues with our family therapist, or developmental issues with our development specialist. These consults are all fee for service, there is no insurance billing.

Letter Services

There are a variety of situations that may warrant an official letter from our clinic, detailing adoption issues and providing education and advocacy for your child. If you are experiencing obstacles receiving developmental services, behavioral services, issues with care related to your child s school, and even some insurance coverage issues, these may be reasons to consider an official  letter from our clinic to those entities where you are experiences issues. If your future child has clinically documented urgent medical issues requiring expedited medical attention, we can provide an official letter to you for an expedient adoption process. (Note- expedited adoption letters are only written for those who have used IAC for their pre-adoption medical review).

Community Education

Our desire is to help provide another level of support to adoptive families through community education regarding the unique needs and demands of adopted children. We work closely with adoption agencies (both local and national), adoption advocates, and support groups to help meet the needs of families who have adopted. We are available to offer educational talks to schools, churches, pediatric practices or community organizations.  To request community education, contact our office at 205-638-6964 or email adoption@peds.uab.edu.

 

Learning Difference Assessments

Does your child seem incredibly bright, yet struggles in school? One possibility for this disconnect is a difference in learning styles. In the general population globally, about 1 in 5 people (20%) learn differently from their age matched peers. They often experience difficulty with reading (Dyslexia), difficulty in math (Dyscalculia), difficulty in penmanship, spelling and communicating their thoughts on paper (Dysgraphia) or maybe even all three (Dyslexia, Dyscalculia and Dysgraphia). This difficulty stems from an alteration in the neural pathways of the brain which re-route information to the right side of the brain instead of the left side where most learning takes place. In the general population, it is an inherited difference and requires a unique style of academic intervention.

In the adoption world, the frequency of learning differences is exponentially higher. It may be as high as 40% -50% or even more. While some of our children’s struggles may indeed be inherited, the more likely causes are: life disruptions, lack of early engagement with caregivers, lack of intellectually stimulating play and emotional distress, all of which can cause an alteration in development of neural pathways. Many of our children experience anxiety, depression and other emotional factors post adoption that contribute to learning struggles.

At the International Adoption Clinic, we offer services to help identify the specifics of your child’s struggles from an adoption perspective.  We are experienced in sorting out what is emotional and adoption related as well as where the deficits are in the learning process. A Learning Difference Assessment is a multistep process. First, we will see your child in clinic to assess for health (including vision and hearing) and emotional wellness. We will want to address any ADD\ADHD, or emotional factors first. Then we will schedule a Learning Difference Assessment. This process takes several hours and up to 5-10 multifaceted assessments are given at this one session. 1-2 weeks later, you and your child will be brought back to clinic to review results and discuss an intervention plan based on your child’s struggles.

Common signs of learning differences:

  • Delayed Speech or history of past speech therapy
  • Difficulty with word retrieval when speaking
  • Mixing up the sounds or syllables when saying long words
  • Articulation difficulties (r-l, m-n, s-sh-ch)
  • Past history of stuttering
  • Chronic Ear Infections
  • Chronic Confusion of Left versus Right
  • Difficulty Learning to tie shoes
  • Late in establishing a dominant hand
  • Difficulty following directions
  • Constant confusion of left versus right
  • Difficulty following multistep directions
  • Difficulty memorizing the names of letters and the sounds they make
  • Trouble memorizing one’s address, phone number, or the alphabet
  • Could not create words that rhyme by age of 4
  • Dysgraphia – poor handwriting
  • Letter of number reversals continuing past the end of first grade
  • Difficulty learning cursive
  • Difficulty learning to read – received extra tutoring
  • Slow choppy, or inaccurate reading:
    • Guesses based on shape or context or picture clues
    • Skips or misreads prepositions (at, to, of)
    • Ignores suffixes
    • Can’t easily sound out unknown words – despite being taught phonics
    • Cannot read high-frequency words
  • Terrible spelling
    • Cannot retain spelling words from one week to the next
    • Misspells high frequency words when writing
    • Often writes the wrong homonym
  • Difficulty telling time on a clock with hands
  • Trouble with math:
    • Memorizing math facts or multiplication tables
    • Memorizing a sequence of steps
    • Directionality
    • Cannot read word problems
  • Extremely messy bedroom, backpack, and desk
  • Dreads going to school
    • Complaining of stomach aches or headaches
    • May have nightmares about school
  • Extremely poor written expression
    • Written expression not at all similar to oral expression
  • Difficulty copying off the board or with near point copying
    • Often makes mistakes when copying
    • Can only copy one or two letters at a time
    • Often makes mistakes when copying
  • Extreme difficulty taking notes during lectures
  • Unable to master the written aspects of a foreign language
  • Difficulty reading printed music
  • Homework can be a struggle – takes forever
    • Nightly homework wars
    • Unable to do homework without assistance

 

 

IAC Seminars-Adoption Boot Camp

The best way to prepare for the coming change to your family structure is through education. The IAC offers comprehensive seminars which address medical, developmental, attachment, and identity issues that we commonly see with children who have been adopted. In addition, we also discuss practical matters such as traveling, assimilating your new family/how to talk with relatives and friends about adoption, choosing a pediatrician, and a parent panel discussion. This is a great time to glean wisdom from those who have gone before you. These seminars are for both domestic and international adoptions and are offered 3 times each year. If you are interested in attending, you can register by contacting our office at 205-638-6964.


2019 Dates:

Adoption Bootcamp:
February 23, 2019 and September 28, 2019
8:30AM – 5:00PM

Location:

Oak Mountain Presbyterian Church
5080 Cahaba Valley Trace
Birmingham, AL. 35242

To register call 205-638-6964 or email adoption@peds.uab.edu

Clinic Location

Children's South

The UAB International Adoption Clinic is located in the Children’s South building which is south of downtown Birmingham. It is at this location that we see all of our patients coming for post-adoption medical, developmental, and/or social assessments.

Children's South Location
1940 Elmer J. Bissell Road
Birmingham, AL 35243

Phone: 205-638-6964

Printer-friendly map version (PDF)


Business Office

Our administrative offices are located on the Children’s of Alabama campus in downtown Birmingham.. You may send any important documents or mailings by postal service to this location. Please note that we do not see patients here.

International Adoption Clinic
1600 7th Avenue South, CPPI 310
Birmingham, AL. 35233

Phone: 205-638-6964

Email: adoption@peds.uab.edu

Donate to International Adoption Clinic

Directions to Children's South

From I-65 North take Exit 250 to the right and bear right onto I-459 North (Atlanta/Gadsden). Take Acton Road Exit 17 to the right and turn left onto Acton Road. Go under the interstate and at the second traffic light turn right onto Elmer J. Bissell Road. The building will be on the left.

From I-65 South take Exit 250 to the right and bear left onto I-459 North (Atlanta/Gadsden). Continue as indicated above.

From 280 East and West take the I-459 South Exit (Montgomery/Tuscaloosa). Go 2 miles and take Acton Road Exit 17 to the right. Turn right onto Acton Road and at the second traffic light turn right onto Elmer J. Bissell Road. The building will be on the left.

From I-459 North take Action Road Exit 17 to the right. Turn left at Acton Road, go under the interstate and at the second traffic light turn right onto Elmer J. Bissell Road. The building will be on the left.

From I-459 South take Acton Road Exit 17 to the right. Turn right onto Acton Road and at the second traffic light turn right onto Elmer J. Bissell Road. The building will be on the left.

 

Top 5 Things I Wish I Had Known Ahead of Time

We have talked with hundreds of families over the years. In our discussions, we have found some common threads regarding things they wish they had known prior to coming home. We thought it would be helpful to share their experiences and offer some advice in preparation for your journey home.

Download the PDF