“Not many people line up to adopt children like her.”
Those words haunt me to this day. Even after five years, they live in my mind. Those words were spoken about my daughter in the social worker’s office.
We had just had a meeting and were introduced to our child on paper. There was no picture, instead, two giant boxes crammed full of medical documentation, a fat file folder full of facts, and a somber social worker. She had diligently captured my daughter’s short nine months on paper. The facts told of a very sick little girl with multiple disabilities, who probably didn’t have a very good chance of making it to three.
“I’d like to meet her,” I said.
It took some finagling, but at last, I met this little person for the first time.
As I gazed upon this little person whose medical history was longer than she was, I knew that she was something special.
So why should you consider adopting a child with special needs? First and foremost, before all these special needs they are just children. Every child has a right to a parent who bakes cookies with them, tucks them in at night, and loves them unconditionally. Having someone in your corner is powerful.
Secondly, the term “special needs” can be used loosely in the adoption community. While special needs can mean Cerebral Palsy, it can also mean a sibling group. It’s a title given to those who may be a bit harder to place. If you are unsure, ask what your state classifies as a child with special needs.
Often assistance is available to help offset special needs adoption costs as well. States try hard to help these children find a permanent placement. Financial support may be available if you adopt from foster care. Both of our adoptions were no cost to us, and our children’s medical care is covered until they are 21 in our state. It’s worth asking your social worker about.
There is also the sad reality that the outcomes for these kids aren’t great. My daughter was heading to a long-term care facility. Children have often bounced around from one place to another. They don’t have a chance to develop roots and bonds. Often their problems multiply as they don’t get the help and care they need.
The road isn’t always easy. Three days after placement our daughter was rushed to the hospital and we almost lost her. The doctor making rounds came in with his students and began to point out the fact that my daughter had the intelligence of a carrot and was going to probably die.
At that moment a light came on to my daughter’s eyes and she calmly opened her mouth and bit the doctor as his hand waved in front of her face. I had to laugh, and I knew then that she was going to set the world on fire. As the doctor went out to find a Band-Aid and wound cleaner, I looked at this little person and said, “I like you. Do you want to blow this Popsicle stand and come home with us?” She grinned and nodded her head.
Six years later we have beaten enormous odds. My daughter continues to grow and thrive. Our lives have been tipped upside down and inside out but I wouldn’t change this crazy wild ride for the world.
Written by Amy Fields
To find adoption photolistings of kids for adoption, visit Adoption.com/photolisting to see if your family is their forever family.