Adopting and caring for a special needs child can be deeply rewarding, but it comes accompanied by a myriad of challenges above and beyond ‘typical’ adoption. With proper education and preparation, however, you and your loved ones can ensure as seamless a transition as possible. Keep the following suggestions in mind as you prepare for the upheaval of special needs adoption.
Which symptoms or behaviors typically accompany your future child’s condition? How can you best respond? Read books and studies, watch YouTube videos, and chat with special needs parents. Through self-education, you can get a better sense of the full scope of the responsibility you are about to take on. This will make it easier to adjust to later on.
Adjust Your Expectations
Adoptive parents who expect to immediately build a strong bond with their children often find themselves disappointed. This is even more likely with special needs children, who may struggle to build emotional connections at all — much less with new parents. Don’t despair if that bond doesn’t develop as quickly as expected. Continue to provide loving care, and it may come with time.
Plan to Establish a Routine
Adoptive children often struggle to adapt to sudden changes in their environment. Special needs children, in particular, find these changes overwhelming. A solid routine can provide a valuable element of comfort. Establish critical routines in advance with current household members to minimize the chaos of the eventual adjustment period.
Reach Out to Available Resources
Local resources can help you prepare for your new life. Establish lines of contact early to ease the process later on. Top resources for parents of special needs children include:
- Family Voices of Minnesota
- PACER Center
- National Alliance on Mental Illness Minnesota
- The Arc Minnesota
If you’re ready to move forward with adoption, be sure to work with a family law attorney who will address the full scope of your concerns. The law firm of Barna,Guzy & Steffen, Ltd. can help; call (763) 783-5146 today to learn more.