Around the world, there are many families built on adoption. However, foster care adoptions are special in their own way, especially when it comes to special needs foster care adoption. Children in foster care have been involuntarily removed from their homes due to neglect, abuse, or other reasons that compromise the safety of these children.
This is why it’s so important to fully understand what these adoptions entail and how families can truly meet the needs of these wonderful kiddos.
Ultimately, there is enough love in the world for everyone, especially for the children within the foster care system. However, there may be preconceived notions about foster care adoption that people have that prevent them from considering this type of adoption.
Here are some myths and information to help you educate yourself about the process, whether your family is considering an adoption or you’re just curious!
3 Myths About Foster Children
Myth #1: Foster children are difficult. Every child has their own set of needs. They need love and attention in general. They need support as they go through the different stages of growth. They need different avenues of learning: sensory learning experience, school-based learning, play-based learning. They need adults to love and guide them.
Just because children have all these needs, it doesn’t mean they are difficult or have issues. Just like every adult is unique, every child is not without their quirks. The nature of children is that they are so new to our world that they need to be taught through gentle ways.
Myth #2: Foster children have emotional baggage. Being in the foster system will affect any child. This should not deter interested parents from adopting them, though. Given a chance to have a healthy, loving home will allow these children to thrive and become well-adjusted members of society.
Myth #3: Special needs children in foster care are too much to handle. Special needs, as it is in foster care, does not only mean children with disabilities, either mentally or physically, or those who have been diagnosed with disabilities through learning disability assessments. This could also mean children who are a little older than what most parents are comfortable adopting, or those who are part of a sibling group and need to be adopted together.
However, whatever qualifies them to have special needs does not mean that they should not be given the chance to be adopted! With the proper support and an environment that cultivates their talents and provides them with what they need to grow, special needs adoptions should be just as successful as those that involve non-special needs children.
Benefits Of Special Needs Adoption
If you’re not sure about a foster care adoption involving special needs children, or if you’re curious about the benefits and challenges, here is a list that can help you understand a bit more.
- You will be educated before jumping in. The system will have information about the children already on file. So, you will have a very good idea about what the child might need and the resources on hand that you can use to help you care for the child you wish to adopt. You can choose which types of needs you are equipped to handle. This way, both you and your foster child have the best chance of making things work.
- The child will have a safe home. The reason why they were removed from their homes was because their homes were deemed unsafe. Having a foster home with foster parents who are planning to adopt them will provide these kids with a safe home that many of them do not have. It will make them feel safe and loved, two things that are important to everyone, especially children.
- You will receive financial support from the system. Adopting special needs children in foster care will provide the parents with greater financial assistance because caring for special needs children does have a corresponding increase in costs.
- There is a shorter waiting time. Because more special needs children are going into the foster care system, there is a shorter waiting time for placements. You don’t have to wait as long as those who adopt through private home placements do.
- You will gain love and family connection. One of the best benefits of foster care adoption is experiencing the love that a family has on both sides. For parents, having a child to love, protect, and care for brings its own sense of happiness and fulfillment that no other experience in the world could bring. And for children, finally having a home where they feel safe and having adoptive parents who love them is something that is priceless.
Challenges Of Special Needs Adoption
There are undeniable challenges to adopting a special needs child out of foster care.
- Meeting their physical and emotional needs can be difficult. Some special needs children have a different set of needs compared to non-special needs children. These needs are things like access to specialist doctors, therapists, and specialized schools. Not all special-needs children have mental or physical disabilities. But even these children have their own unique challenges. You need to really assess your ability as a potential adoptive parent and the special needs that you know you are prepared to handle.
- Many of these children are older in age. If you are looking to adopt infants with special needs, there may not be a lot of this age group in the foster care system. Prospective parents tend to shy away from older children because they are worried about bonding with them. There is merit to that worry, as older children who have been through the foster system tend to be wary of adults. Some of them may have been emotionally scarred or been through trauma, which can be very challenging for all involved! This is why foster adoption is a good way of forming that bond, because you get to live with each other and get to know each other prior to adoption.
Adoption Takes Time & Heart
There are challenges to adopting special-needs children, but there are also benefits for both the parent and the child. Considering a foster-to-adopt setup is a good way of making sure that you and the child you are looking to adopt are compatible. In the end, what matters most is that both the adoptive parent and their adopted special needs children form a loving and healthy family that benefits everyone involved.
If you’re looking to learn more, access resources, and move forward in your decision-making, consider online resources and companies! Childhelp’s mission is to meet every need of neglected and at-risk children, so check out their website if you’re looking to make a true difference. Every child deserves help! Learn how you can help here.