Special thanks to Lisa Kirk, one of the America World Advocates, for answering these questions about special needs adoption. Check out the before (referral) and after pictures!
How did you decide to adopt a child with special needs?
When we initially decided to adopt, we were asked if we wanted a healthy child or one with special needs. We said healthy because we knew nothing at all about the SN program. Our LID was in December 2006. After years of waiting and endless frustration, we were considering just quitting by January 2010.
My husband and I went out to dinner specifically to discuss what we should do. I was at the point of wanting to stop. It had been too long, too painful and I just couldn’t keep going through it. Ironically, when we sat down to dinner, we noticed a table with 3 or 4 adoptive families sitting very close to us. I talked to one of the moms at the buffet and told her we had been waiting a long time. On the way out, she stopped me to talk some more. She asked why I had never considered the SN program. She explained it to me and introduced several children to me, all from the SN program. My husband and I decided to seriously look into it.
We had a home study update in mid-February. We discussed the SN program with our social worker and officially entered that program. We got a referral within 4 days and had our little girl home by mid August 2010.
In some ways, I felt a little cheated by not having known more about the program sooner. However, I believe that it all worked out according to God’s plan. I believe that the children we have are the ones He planned for us. Everything worked out in His perfect timing and I wouldn’t change a thing.
What hesitations or fears did you have about special needs adoption? How did they match up to reality?
With our first adoption, we had no hesitations or worry about adopting a child with a SN. We accepted a referral for a little girl with a gastrointestinal condition. We traveled with 6 other families. Our little girl’s SN was exactly as we expected. We had no surprises.
With our second adoption, we were terrified. After what we had seen the first time, and from reading adoption blogs, we were very, very worried. We were told that our child had a sacral meningocele that healed without surgery. We were told that she could walk and was continent. When we got her, she was walking and doing fine. She saw a pediatric neurologist who said it was unlikely that she had had a meningocele. She had an MRI that showed she was completely normal. They told us that there is nothing wrong with her. We were prepared to deal with whatever she needed. It was a wonderful surprise to find out that she is healthy and we couldn’t be happier about it.
Visit our new Waiting Children website to learn about children with varying degrees of special needs, or older children, that are waiting for forever families.