Friday, September 16, 2011


In this post Teresa Grimes will pose some questions for those considering adopting a special needs child. Her responses that come from experience, both personally and professionally, are both helpful and wise. We encourage you to share this with anyone you know whose hearts are open to receive a special needs child.

Just one more week until HOPE AT HOME 2011! We are really looking forward to seeing you! For more information and to register, click HERE.

As an adoption advocate and caseworker, I am often asked how we personally made the decision to adopt "special needs". This is something that is becoming more common in both international and domestic adoption. I've found that there are some very specific questions one should ask before embarking on this journey.

1.) Are you comfortable talking with doctors and other healthcare professionals? As a parent, you are your child's best advocate. Don't be afraid to ask specific, probing questions of your medical team. It is your choice and responsibility to assemble a team of medical professionals that you feel comfortable with and whom you trust to care for your child. Ask as many questions as you need to get the answers that you require.

2.) Are you flexible and willing to adjust your schedule around your child's special needs? Special needs children will most likely have frequent doctor's visits and scheduled treatments. Sometimes these appointments can be scheduled far in advance and sometimes they are more urgent in nature. How do you handle and respond to the unexpected when it comes to scheduling? Does your lifestyle have room for routine treatments that may be necessary several times per week or per month?

3.) Are you prepared to make difficult decisions that may affect your child's health? One of the things you will face as the parent of a special needs child is that your medical team will provide you with information, but you will be responsible for processing that information and making decisions that affect your child. Many decisions will fall on your shoulders. This is particularly true in situations where treatments may be considered new or experimental.

4.) Can you accept a special need condition that is "medically manageable" rather than "curable"?

5.) Are you committed to connecting with the leading experts on your child's condition, regardless of where they are geographically located?

6.) Are you willing to be an advocate to obtain medical, mental health and school services needed for your child's special needs?

7.) Do you have adquate medical insurance to cover your child's needs? What are the lifetime and annual maximums on your health insurance policy? Are you willing to battle your insurance company on a continual basis to have them cover the things your plan states are covered. You will find that just because yoru insurance plan says the will cover certain procedures and treatments, this does not always mean that claims will be paid on a timely basis or that extensive pre-approvals and pre-authorizations will not be required. You will have to learn to document everything.

8.) If married, will you work as a team and are you both equally committed to special needs parenting? There is an extremely high divorce rate among parents of special needs children. Can both of you accept and love a child who is not considered "normal" by society's standards? How will you respond to the added strain on your family's time and finances. How will you find time for "couple time" and balance the needs of your growing family?
Special needs adoption requires a family to provide their child with permanence and commitment and a secure environment in which to truly experience “family.” Our goal as parents must be to model the Father’s love for us and to reflect His desire to adopt each of us into the family of God.  These are some particular scripture verses that have provided me with strength and comfort.
“Be joyful always” (1 Thessalonians 5:16) –Celebrate victories both big and small.  Keep a sense of humor.  Maintain a spirit of joy and thankfulness.
“For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.” (Colossians 1:16) – It helps to remember that God has a plan for every thing and everyone He creates and that we are all made in His image. 
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16) – Pray continuously for your child, your child’s doctors and caregivers, and for wisdom and direction for yourself as a parent. 

You will meet Teresa and her husband Randy at HOPE AT HOME 2011 Conference for adoptive, foster, and waiting parents. Join us September 23-24!

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