The parent or family considering adoption knows that adding a child to the home will change everyone’s lives.
A child with special needs adds new responsibilities, as well as new delights, to a family. Here are five reasons to consider adopting a ‘special needs’ child:
You know that being bundled from one foster carer to another isn’t best for a child. You’re not convinced that orphanages and group homes give children the attention that a mother or father can. You understand that not every child succeeds in the same ways, but you want to help children reach their own greatest success.
Some people think it’s marketing hype when people call special needs or ‘disabled’ children ‘differently abled’. But then they meet a 6-year-old who is considered to have emotional and behavioural problems and see him do standing back flips, one after another. Or they encounter a young adult with Downs who explains how he always remembers birthdays: ‘It’s easy! You just get a little book and write everyone’s birthday in it. Then you can remember birthdays, too.’
Depending on the country and even the jurisdiction in which you live, government carries a greater or lesser share of the costs and effort of care for a special needs child. You, plus any supportive family and friends, must be ready to invest the rest. Presuming on family or friends’ readiness to help can result in disappointment. However, some special friends – especially those who are also raising children with special needs – will become dearer than ever.
Some special needs children have very limited needs for extra support. Others challenge their families in ways almost beyond imagination. You are ready to adopt a special needs child if you understand that love is essential but not enough. You will be forced to learn about things you never thought about before, and you will discover that they are important in the lives of more people than you imagined.
It’s one thing to teach a child not to stare at a disabled person on the street or in the store. Quite another to learn that mum and dad must give more of their time to the new sibling who is disabled. It’s another lesson still to include that disabled sibling in their play. But these lessons can become the foundation for a life’s success in working with people of many personalities, cultures, and abilities.
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