Article written by Deborah Borchers, M.D | Published at the Adoptive Families website.
Because Mongolian spots are easily mistaken for bruises, they have been known to trigger accusations of child abuse against adoptive parents. All parents of children with Mongolian spots should be diligent about bringing the marks to the attention of their child’s pediatrician, so they can be documented in the child’s medical records. This should be done at the first post-adoption medical evaluation, and again at annual check-ups.
In cases where the discoloration is extensive, or the marks may be interpreted as having the shape of a handprint, families would be wise to document these marks in dated photographs for the child’s medical records. Families may choose to send photographs of the marks to their attorney, as well. Some families have their child carry with him a note from their physician regarding the spots, to provide appropriate explanation if the child is questioned.
It is important to educate caregivers and medical providers about the spots, especially if your family lives in a largely Caucasian community. When your child starts attending daycare or nursery school, discreetly show the spots to the care provider, explaining what they are and pointing out that they are not bruises. You may want to provide written medical information about Mongolian spots to your child’s school or camp, and ask your physician to note the existence of the spots on any required school forms. Also, be aware that emergency room physicians may be unaware of Mongolian spots, and may also need education.
Being transparent about the existence and location of Mongolian spots will prevent misunderstandings that may arise if a well-meaning care provider thinks they are bruises.