November is National Adoption Awareness Month and provides all of us the opportunity to celebrate adoptions of all types. Whether you are considering an international adoption or domestic adoption, there is always a need for additional loving families to consider adopting a child with special needs. Many families shy away from special needs adoptions due to the belief that there is extra expense involved as well as the commitment to time and emotions involved in raising a child wiht special needs. But what if we could further educate to help ease fears? Many health issues associated with the term “special needs” are manageable with today’s medical advancements.
Each country or region of the world tends to have certain special needs associated with it. As an example, adopting from Eastern Europe, such as adopting from Russia or Ukraine, is associated with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Adopting from Africa tends to be associated with children who are HIV positive. After opening our adoption program in the Democratic Republic of Congo, I realized that Congo also has children with other special needs. There are several different types of special needs that impact children in the Democratic Republic of Congo who are waiting for families. The term “special needs” encompasses a wide variety of challenges for a child, some not always physical or mental disabilities. As an example, a child age five (5) or older, is considered to be a child with special needs because it is often more difficult to find a loving family willing to consider a child this age. The stark reality is that most families want to adopt very young children and babies. Some of the most common special needs in the Democratic Republic of Congo include:
- Developmental delays due to malnutrition / Failure to thrive
- Sickle Cell Anemia
- Limb deformities
- Older Children – Ages five (5) and up who are otherwise considered healthy
It is always heartbreaking to travel to orphanages and see these children, knowing in your heart, that the odds of that child being adopted are very small. We all know the best place for a child is with a loving family, and this is especially true for children with special needs. Children suffering from illnesses or diseases such as HIV or Sickle Cell could still have a full, fruitful life if provided the appropriate medical care. The sad reality though is that most of these children will not be adopted, most will not receive medical care and some will die from their illness due to not receiving the proper medical attention.
During adoption month, please consider adopting a child with special needs and give him or her a chance for love, family, and health.
For more information about MLJ Adoptions’ international adoption programs, please click here.