Lately, there have been a number of stories in the news about international adoption and the struggles associated with it. Articles about dissolution, questionable "re-homing," and returning children to their home country have all painted international adoption in a negative light. Many articles also reference the age and health status of adopted children as part of the changing landscape of international adoption. The majority of children available today are older or have special needs, and with that comes a unique set of challenges.
USA Today published an article on the growing population of parents adopting older/special needs children in light of a recent study on the current state of international adoption. Chuck Johnson, president of the National Council for Adoption and friend of America World, acknowledges this increase of older and special needs orphans. He says that, despite the attention that adoptions gone wrong receive, many adoptions are successful and that the key is "...to make sure families who are adopting these children are educated on the front end and go into the process with their eyes wide open and they know the promise and the risks of intercountry adoption."
We agree with this assessment- proper education is important for an adoptive family as they bring an older or special needs child into their home. America World's adoption process requires 10-12 hours of training, and our social workers are a valuable source of information and resources throughout the process. We often refer to trainings and webinars from Adoption Learning Partners, while our post adoption department is also developing new and informative webinars as well. There is also a monthly post-adoption support group conference call where issues such as eating, sleeping, handling tantrums, and attachments are discussed. If you are struggling with a placement, please reach out to us. We will continue to provide webinars and other resources, aiming to support families through every part of the process to create the best possible environment for a successful adoption.