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Adoption Self Help Manual
Chapter 7 
"Special Needs " Adopting Parents

"Everything's fair in love and war." You've heard that expression?

Well, everything is not fair in adoption. Everyone is not equal in adoptions. Some adopting parents are more equal than others.

No matter how aggressive you are in trying to find and adopt a child, there are certain things that will hold you back or slow you down.

If you are a single person seeking a child, it's going to be more difficult. If you are a couple in your 40's or older, it may take longer. If you are significantly overweight. If you have physical disabilities, or have had long-standing emotional problems. If you have been previously divorced and have remarried one or more times. If you are a member of a religious minority. If you have a problematic medical history or serious health problems. Any of these things is likely to make it tougher.

Any of these things make you "less desirable" to many birth parents.

Don't take it personally. It doesn't have a thing to do with whether you would make a wonderful, loving and caring adoptive parent or not. It's just that those are the kinds of things that set up warning signals to birth mothers and some adoption agencies.

There is nothing fair about it, but some agencies set arbitrary age requirements. Or arbitrary requirements for the length of time a couple has been married. Or how long they have been infertile. They may have requirements that you have no other children. That you have certain religious beliefs.

If my words apply to you – if you are one of those adopting parents or couple who "stand out" in some way, as those mentioned here, don't despair! You may have to wait a little longer or work a little harder. You may have to get some additional help to achieve success, but you can still succeed!

What to do if You're "Different"

Remember the Adoption Commandments. Be determined. Be Persistent. Never give up! No matter what!

This is a good place for you to review what was said earlier in Chapter Four about the different kinds of children available for adoption. A "special needs child" may be perfect for you. There are a number of them who are wonderful children, but there is not as great demand for them as a newborn baby with no obvious problems.

Remember that you increase the number of children available to you if you can love and care for a physically or emotionally handicapped child. Or an older child. Or a child of a different race than you. Consider all the other possibilities with special needs children. You get the picture.

You will have to check out more carefully the agencies available to you. You may have to contact every agency in your state, or agencies in other states, looking for those who can handle the situation of placing a "special needs" child into the hands of a "special needs" parent like you.

As you contact these agencies, be honest and straightforward with them. Tell them exactly what your situation is. Don't try to hide anything or leave out important details thinking you'll get away with something. To do that is simply going to raise your risks and increase your chances of failure.

Remember the Adoption Commandments. Don't be part of anything that is shady or improper.

And if Nobody Wants You?

Perhaps after calling everyone on your list, you will find your situation is such that no agency is willing to work with you.

If that's the case, you have to again remember: Never give up, No matter what! A few agencies have no preset restrictions as long as you can be a good parent and meet your state's legal requirements. Call agencies in other states. Call me. But keep trying!

You may turn to private referral sources. Or consider an international adoption. These are perfectly acceptable alternatives. But remember, the private source is a little riskier. The international adoption is much more complicated. Both may be considerably more expensive.

But both can produce success that turns you into a family.

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