Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cautionary Statement for Families Considering Special Needs and Older Child Adoption

Cautionary Statement for Families Considering Special Needs and Older Child Adoption

As the landscape of international adoption has changed over the past few years, we've seen an increasing number of families opening their homes and hearts to older children, sibling groups and children with special needs. We at PEAR are certainly heartened by this admirable trend but would be remiss if we did not issue a general caution.

The adoption of older and special needs children is not for everyone because it brings greater challenges and risks. If a family enters into such an adoption unprepared, the result can be a disruption/dissolution or worse. Special needs, multiple placements at once, and older child adoptions create added stress and demands. Families should be thoroughly educated and fully prepared to deal with these challenges before deciding to accept them. Adoptive Parents should engage in honest, realistic introspection and evaluate their emotional and financial capacity to handle the added demands. They should assure that adequate treatment and educational resources exist in their community before accepting any special referral. They should check that medical insurance will cover any specific needs of a child.

When adopting an older child, be aware of the possibility of a history of physical and sexual abuse, even if it is unknown or undisclosed. Realize that victims of abuse often become abusers. Bringing an older child into a home with younger children is inadvisable. Be aware that higher risk placements that fail can result in disruptions/dissolutions, residential treatment, hospitalizations, and encounters with the juvenile justice system. Have an action plan in place before placement for worse case scenarios.

Research shows that parents who are realistically prepared for the unique needs of older, multiple and special children have far better outcomes and greater satisfaction with their adoption. Adopting special children can bring great joy and rewards to both the children and their parents when done with adequate knowledge and preparation.

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

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