Creating a family through adoption is a joyous event. Providing a “forever home” to a child who has none is a heartfelt choice that benefits the parents and child. Choosing to adopt special needs children adds additional layers of challenges and fulfillment to the family. There are several things you can do to make this process rewarding for everyone.
1. Determine the type of special needs your family can best support. Special needs is a broad category that includes children who:
- Have physical or health problems
- Are older
- Are members of ethnic or racial minorities
- Have a history of abuse or neglect
- Have emotional problems
- Have siblings and need to be adopted as a group
- Test positive for HIV
- Have documented conditions that may lead to future problems
- Were prenatally exposed to drugs or alcohol
2. Educate yourself about the short and long-term needs of the child. Some conditions may resolve over time, and others can worsen. Learn what the child will need, and plan to address those needs.
3. Establish reasonable expectations. Some children adjust to adoption easier than others. For others, the care they need places a great physical, emotional and financial burden on the family. Be reasonable in your expectations to support your family.
4. Build a support network. The best networks tap multiple sources, such as families, schools, churches, and community organizations. Give people specific ways they can help, and then let them do so.
5. Access community resources. Easter Seals, Early Intervention Services, and other Special Education Programs can provide financial, attachment and educational support to special-needs children and their families.
6. Identify and utilize community medical resources. Establish a team of physicians, nurses, therapists, and other healthcare providers to support the development of your child.
7. Take advantage of tax deductions. For instance, you might be able to deduct special school instruction, home modifications, and attendant care.
If you are considering adoption in Minnesota, we can answer your questions and facilitate the process. Call us to schedule a confidential consultation at (763) 783-5146.