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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Some struggles and positives of adopting a child with special needs

My brother asked me to write my thoughts on the above title. Here is what I wrote:

The positive benefits of adopting a child with special needs, and the struggles that came with it.

What are the positives of adopting a child with special needs? I am certain that it varies from person to person. One huge positive for me when adopting my son, Keith, from Ukraine was that he was destined to be sent to an institution where he would die within a week or so. Children with special needs in Ukraine are not given the benefits that similar children receive in the US. They don’t have programs for those children, and, so, if they are not adopted by the young age of 4 years old, they are sent to an institution. The institutions do not offer much physical contact with the children and they do not spoon feed the children, either. This is important, because if my son, Keith, had gone to an institution, he would have starved to death. Keith was not able to feed himself at the age of 4, as he was mentally a newborn, so he would have died. My son would have died because he has special needs. That example, alone, is a positive of adopting a child with special needs.

I feel that children (and adults) with special needs have a tender heart. They are closer to God. They aren’t complicated in their appreciation for life. They love to have fun and are easily satisfied with the basic necessities of life. They are angels on earth. I want to surround myself with them. I love them.

Of course, there are struggles with having children with special needs. They take longer to reach those milestones that society tells us our children should be reaching. For example, my son, Keith, isn’t toilet trained. He will be 7 years old in 2 months. At this moment in time, he isn’t ready for that yet. I will admit that I would prefer for Keith to be toilet trained, but, these are the things that come along when you choose special needs children.

Another struggle that I have with having adopted children with special needs is that other people just don’t get it. They question why I would seek out such a child with special needs. And especially since we adopted children internationally, I hear the question: “Why didn’t you adopt domestically? There aren’t enough children for you HERE?” To be honest, any special needs child in the United States of America qualifies for therapy. Every one of them can receive therapy. That alone should be reason enough for me to adopt a special needs child from a country that doesn’t offer therapy, surgeries, & support groups. We are so blessed in the US and I want to share my blessings with those children who really need them.


Mary said...

Well said!

nicole said...

Interesting- that last point about why to adopt internationally as opposed to domestic really made me think. Yes- they don't have the resources there that we have- that's such an important point. It's so admirable to me that you would go the the extra effort, not to mention cost- to help provide the best for these children. You're amazing Jill.

Charissa said...

Great post, Jill! We get some of the same questions.

elizabeth said...

You know, I struggle with people not getting why we adopted four children internationally when we could have tried for biological children a little harder. Or adopted domestically. What they don't get is that your heart calls you to the path that will bring you to the child/children who are meant for you. One path is not better or worse or more valid than another.

There is such a great need for loving adoptive parents both internationally and domestically.

Thanks for this post!