Can I just say something?
I was asked recently if how quickly we received our referral for Glory since she has special needs. This same person was seen posting things in a mutual adoption board about how they could just bypass all of the wait times and adopt a special needs baby. The tone was very casual as if it were nothing to adopt a baby with special needs.
I fear this is something too common these days. People desperate to have a child, who also do not want to wait the year(s) for a “healthy” baby to come available via referral, decide to adopt a special needs baby.
They read things like…”mild developmental delay” and “easily corrected by surgery” and think wow, that’s no big deal….. Some might even think themselves heroes, brag about the “poor little darling” overseas whom they are rescuing.
Adopting a child is a really good thing.
Adopting a child with special needs is a really good thing.
Adopting a baby with special needs to fulfill the void and ache in your heart from being childless, and not really researching and understanding what those special needs will look and be like later on….it’s really bad.
I have seen a few adoption disruptions lately where the child was adopted at 18 months or 2 years old, and then four years later, the parents cannot handle the progression of the child’s special needs. It is incredibly sad. The once adorable baby that seemed so easily correctable, ends up having lifelong challenges, and their body grows into awkward “kid-ager” size, and suddenly people do not see adorable anymore.
Now, no one knows how hard it will be down the road. We had no idea how our son would be six years later (although we had a pretty good idea when on the first day, he bit us and spat right in my eye)…..although even at 11, he’s pretty adorable still 😉
You cannot know what the future holds, but you can try to be prepared, and not take adoption as a trendy hero type of situation. You can follow a few tips here to be slightly more successful at the adoption life.
- accept a referral of a baby/child based on the adorable factor
- accept a referral of a baby/child with special needs that you know nothing about
- accept a referral of a baby/child in order to get moving faster with your adoption
- accept a referral of a baby/child because you want to save that child and will be a hero
- pray about whether this baby/child should be a part of your family
- research everything you can about the baby/child’s file
- understand that baby/child will grow up and be a big person with tremendous loss and may possibly have issues surrounding that loss that will need to be addressed and helped
- find other ways to help orphans if you are interested only in the saving factor
- realize that doing something in order to brag about it to your peers is really crappy and if you adopt a child in order to seem superior (yes this is some people), then you need to re-think this whole idea
- read books on attachment and loss
So many people go into special needs adoption these days without a full idea of what it means to be a caregiver to someone who may not mentally grow beyond 4 years old….but physically looks like a 20 year old. They may not understand the magnitude of how life will be when they bring home a fragile little peanut who requires months of hospital stays, the strain constant care will put on the other family members, and the drain of resources.
I do not point this out to discourage anyone. I believe that adoption is amazing. I believe in adopting children with special needs, with the full understanding of the possible impact. I believe in being very real and honest with yourself about being able to successfully handle the possible challenges.
Even if you want the cute little baby really….really bad.