Special Needs Adoptions – Ten Tips

Often the term, “special needs” when linked to the adoption of a child, conjures up images of children handicapped by physical, mental or emotional ailments. While this is sometimes the case, “special needs adoptions” means a variety of other things depending upon the country or situation in which the child lives. For example all adoptions from China are designated as China special needs adoptions. In the US, children who might be older than an infant or who have additional siblings fit into the “special needs” category. Here are ten adoption advice tips to help you understand “special needs” adoptions.

Special needs adoptions, what are they? The term “special needs can describe several adoption categories: disabilities, race, age, sibling status, and at-risk. While there may be some medical helps and financial subsidies for “special needs” adoptions in the US, the adopting family should realize raising any child brings unexpected financial pressures.

Special needs at-risk children. Children are considered “at-risk” if they may have or are developing learning, emotional, behavior, or physical concerns such as having exposure to abuse, genetic illness, drugs, or neglect. Some agencies specialize in working with children in this category. Always ask adoption advice before you fall in love with a child.

Special needs sibling groups. It is not uncommon, both nationally and internationally, to find one, two or more siblings in a group. A conscientious adoption agency will help match family groups with caring and willing adopting families. It is not uncommon for many of these sibling groups to have some other form of special needs: Transracial, have learning concerns, or have been victims of abuse.

Special needs Transracial children. A Transracial child is one where the race of the adopting family is different from the one of the child. It is illegal to discriminate during the adoption process by race. Agencies often are used in the placement of Transracial children, especially in international adoptions.

Special needs includes children and babies with pre-natal drug exposure or HIV exposure. Unfortunately some mothers of children are addicts, alcoholics, or have other health issues which may affect the child such as HIV exposure. Agencies must make adopting parents aware of these types of circumstances, and some private agencies will not handle children who test positive for certain health issues.

Special needs adoption agencies may deal with China special needs children. All children in the adoption program in China are considered special needs. Chinese adoptions are strictly monitored through a special Chinese government agency. It is wise to only utilize a Hague accredited agency to adopt from China.

Special needs foster care adoptions. In the US, children with special needs are under the protection of the public foster care system. These children may have been in numerous foster care situations before they are eligible for adoption. Many are older than 18 months. Sometimes the State government will work with an adoption agency, but often the State has its own rules and regulations in the adoption process.

Is a special needs adoption faster? Sometimes. International adoptions of special needs children may take the same amount of time as a non-special needs adoption. This is because of the horrendous amount of paperwork involved and the various US government regulations as well as the foreign government’s regulations.

If my child has special needs, will my health care costs cover it? Everyone’s health insurance is different and has different approvals. It would be wise BEFORE you consider a “special needs” child with either physical or mental health concerns to ensure that your insurance will provide for needed care. Sometimes there is a waiting period or a ban on “pre-existing” conditions. Children in State foster care may be eligible for health care provided by the state even after the adoption. This is a great choice if you have a lot of love, but little insurance.

Where can I go for help if I adopt a special needs child? If you are adopting through an agency, often the agency has counseling services, and is more than willing to provide you with information to help make your adoption transition a positive experience. In addition, when you adopt a child from state foster care, there are numerous state agencies to help: health services, counseling, school helps, medical help, etc. You can find more information about specific concerns from your state foster care web site.

Adoption Agency – Reasons to Use One

Here are 10 reasons to use an adoption agency in the adoption process or if you are giving up a baby for adoption.

Giving up a baby is never easy. It’s important to have someone in your corner, someone who understands what you are going through, someone to explain your alternatives, someone to counsel you not make your decisions, and someone who knows the legal ramifications. A licensed trustworthy adoption agency can do this. Adoption agencies provide many services to the mother giving up her baby or to adoptive parents. They will help guide you along the treacherous waters of today’s challenges, give you helpful suggestions and protect you from sharks.

Trust. Trust in your agency is vital. You should check their references, their license, the number of adoptions they have handled and what year they began business. It would be a good idea to interview the people you will be working with. Don’t hesitate to ask them questions about their schooling, their experience, and their placement numbers. If you don’t feel comfortable, go somewhere else.

Adoption Agencies will never try to coerce, they will help you make a decision and choice that is right for you. Many agencies have a program that helps both the one giving up the baby and the adopting parents create a plan best suited for their needs. They will help you to know and understand what questions to ask, how to work within the open or closed adoption parameters and how to deal with the after placement concerns.

Know the law. Licensed highly regarded agencies know the law. Today’s laws are complex and constantly in flux and the adoption agency will put you in contact with a legal team that is well versed in the law of the state where you are adopting or giving up a baby. If the legal end on the adoption is hap hazard and slovenly done, you may end up with more headaches than you bargained for.

Dignity and respect. Trust worthy adoption agencies will treat both the one giving up the baby and the adopting parents with respect. They are not there to judge you, but are there to help, encourage, counsel and protect you in your decision. A professional and licensed agency is there to help you succeed, not fail in your goal.

Financial assistance. State law dictates what expenses an adopting couple can pay and what expenses the mother giving up the baby can receive. A trustworthy agency will know this information and help you ask for financial assistance to help you with pregnancy related medical expenses and the cost of living. The adopting family will receive advice and counseling on how to obtain the needed funds needed in the adoption process.

Counseling. Look for an adoption agency that provides counseling to both the adopting parents and the one giving up the baby for adoption. Counseling helps you cope with the life altering changes you are going to make. It helps you understand your feelings and your ups and downs during the waiting and post-placement time. A reputable adoption agency will have licensed counselors who are especially trained in meeting your adoption needs.

Type of adoption. Adoption agencies can help you with the different kinds of adoptions, open, closed, private, and international. They can advise you of the pros and cons of each and help you make your decision, whether you are the adopting family or the one giving up the baby for adoption. They will never decide for you. There are pros and cons to each type of adoption, but the open adoption might give you more comfort and understanding if you are giving up the baby. However, you can also decide how “open” you want the adoption to be. The adoption agency will help you receive information about the adoptive families and make arrangements for you to meet them if you desire. You will also have the right to choose the adoptive family.

Legal rights. An adoption agency can work with the father, if you prefer, to have him sign off on his legal rights. They have attorneys they used who will explain and help you in signing all legal documents, such as your relinquishment and consent documents and the final legal documents for the court. The parent giving up the baby will not have to hire attorneys or go to court unless he/she wants to.

Licensed. There are many adoption agencies, but it is important to only work with a licensed adoption agency. This is for your protection.

Adoption Plan Excellence – Five Tips

Before an individual begins the adoption process or makes plans to give up a baby for adoption, it is important to develop an adoption plan. Many adoption plans are best done with the counsel and advice of a licensed adoption agency, however the first step in the adoption plan helps you choose an adoption agency. This article provides five must decisions needed to create an excellent adoption plan.

Choosing an adoption agency. A licensed agency’s goal is to put birth mothers who want to give up a baby or child with well screened and caring parents. A professional adoption agency won’t force either the birth parents or the adopting family to do anything with which they don’t feel comfortable. An excellent agency will have the ability to help both parties recognize the value of each type of adoption: open, semi-open, closed, or international. The adoption agency will have had years of experience counseling and working with both the adopting and those giving up the child in a positive, pre-adoption and post-adoption environment and will help to smooth the way for each party during this highly stressful time.

Establishing the written adoption plan. Whether you are the adopting couple or the ones giving up the child or placing the child, writing out your plan is vital. You will need to research, talk with your adoption agency advisers to fully understand the types of adoption: open, semi-open, closed, private, or international adoption. You will want to know the laws affecting the adoption process in your state and the state where the baby or child resides. You will want to understand that an open adoption allows the couple placing a child certain rights and responsibilities for both sides, but doesn’t guarantee the adopting couple will respect those open adoption agreements after the adoption is finalized in the courts.

This is where your trust and reliance on your adoption agency’s help post-adoption will be required. As you begin your plan, you will want to decide what kind of baby you are willing to adopt: a single race baby, a mixed race child, one whose mother’s been on drugs or an alcoholic, a foreign child, or a special needs child. There will be positives or negatives with each of these types of adoption. As the placing the child, you will want to decide if you are willing to place your baby in a different race home, a mixed race home, a single parent home, or some other type of family. In an open adoption, the birth parent, with the help of the agency chooses the type of family or situations under which they are willing to adopt. By being able to make a variety of choices within the adoption process, both sides are able to have a greater sense of control and comfort as they work with their adoption agency.

Positive adoption experiences are in the adoption plan details. In open adoption agreements particularly, it’s important to remember what you agreed to do and do it. In order to be sure you remember, write, write, and write everything down. Your adoption agency will help you in this agreement process.

Money. Both sets of parents need to be aware that adoption payments to the one giving up the child for adoption are set by law. It is illegal to “buy” a baby. An adoption agency will advise the couple of the charges for the home study, placement home study visits, done by a licensed social worker, lawyers, any legal expenses required by the birth parent for medical bills and/or some living expenses. The adoption agency fee should include all the pre and post counseling the adopting parent and the one giving up the child for adoption need.

Counseling, will I need it? Yes, take advantage of the counseling offered by your adoption agency. Both adopting and placing families will have feelings of stress, guilt or anger, sorrow, etc. and a good adoption counselor will help you to understand what is happening and some positive tools to help you through these difficult times. The adoption family, especially the mother, may actually have some after birth depression and it is important to get adoption agency counseling help immediately.

The adoption couple’s home will undergo numerous changes, things might seem out of control and both parents might not be able to get a good solid sleep for quite a while. All of these things, plus a new baby or child, can cause concerns. An adoption agency counselor will help you with coping ideas and helps, as well as give you ideas of what to expect and how to handle these various challenges.