What to Know For Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month
Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, officially recognized in 1987 by former President Ronald Regan, aims to increase awareness about Americans living with developmental disabilities. At Considering Adoption, it’s also an opportunity to spread awareness about the many opportunities and resources that exist for special needs adoptions. In honor of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, we’ve compiled a list of the most important things to know about special needs adoption for hopeful adoptive families and prospective birth mothers to help spread awareness about this amazing opportunity. For more resources, you can always ask your adoption professional for additional information.
What You Should Know About Special Needs AdoptionThere are plenty of adoptive families and prospective birth mothers who are curious about adopting or placing a child with developmental disabilities or other special needs, but don’t exactly know where to start. A special needs adoption will come with its own set of challenges, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be rewarding. If you’re considering a special needs adoption as an adoptive family, it’s helpful to learn more about the experience from others who have lived it, and to reach out to an adoption professional for support. Another thing worth mentioning: in adoption, the definition of “special needs” can vary. Although most people imagine that a child with special needs will have mental, emotional, or physical disabilities, this isn’t always the case. In fact, a child can be considered special needs if they’re an older child, part of a sibling group, have a medical condition, have a history of abuse or neglect, or from a specific ethnic background. Before moving forward with a special needs adoption, you should think about what exactly you’re open to.
Adopting a Child with Special NeedsIf you’re a prospective adoptive family, you’ll have a lot of choices when it comes to your preferences for an adopted child. One of those choices will be deciding if you’re ready to raise a child with special needs. Of course, your personal experiences with special needs adoption will depend upon the child you plan to adopt. Before committing to a special needs adoption, here are some questions that you should think about for a self‐assessment:
- Do I have the right resources for a special needs adoption?
- Do I have the support of my family and friends?
- Am I ready to be flexible to meet the needs of my child?
- Am I ready to always put my child’s needs first?
- Do I live close to medical care, and do I have good health insurance?
- Am I doing this because I want to love and cherish a child, not because I want to “save” them?