Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What is a Waiting Child?

In the US, waiting children are paper ready for adoption.  These children have already had their parents' rights terminated due to repeated neglect and abuse. They cannot return to their birth families.  They are placed in foster care while they wait for a forever family, parents, and a home.  Sadly, all too many of these children will never be adopted. They will bounce from foster family to foster family until they age out of foster care. They may never have the opportunity to have forever family.

The term waiting children, in international adoption, usually still refers to children that are paper ready for adoption.  Many times waiting children are the children that are harder to place for adoption.  Some adoption agencies or countries use the terms special needs adoption, special focus adoption, and waiting child adoption interchangeably. Don’t let the term “special needs” scare you! Although some medical special needs are very severe, there are many special needs that are minor and/or correctable with proper treatment. Some children in the special needs program don't actually have any health or mental issues at all. They may be healthy older children that are waiting to be adopted. Sometimes sibiling adoption is considered a “special need” because it may be harder to place more than one child together in a family. 

I love how this video explains waiting child adoption programs!  Although it is geared toward adopting from China, the information would be very helpful to anyone who is curious about waiting children or special needs adoption.

Why Adopt a Waiting Child

1. Adopting a child who is waiting/special needs is much faster.  Waiting child adoptions may take a year to a year and a half compared to 3+ years.

2. In the US, adopting a waiting child from foster care is free or very inexpensive.

3. In international adoption, the fees for adoption of a waiting child can be less expensive (depending on country and agency.)

4. Many children with a special need will never have the opportunity of having parents and a family.  These children will be stuck in an institution for their childhood or possibly their entire life.
 Growing Up in a Family with Siblings who had a "Special Need"

My parents did not adopt.  All of my siblings and I came into our family through birth.  Out of the seven of us (yes, we are a large family), three would probably be considered to have special needs.  One of my siblings was born completely deaf in one ear. One sibling is legally blind in one eye. Another sibling was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes in third grade.  Their medical needs or physical handicaps did not make my siblings any less valuable members of our family. I can't imagine life without the blessings and joys my family would have missed out on had these siblings had not been apart of our family. 

You say, "That is different.  Your siblings with special needs were all biological." If you had a child born with a special health need of course you would parent that child.  But since your adopting, go for a healthy "normal" child, right?  I ask, "What joys and blessings might your family be missing out on by not adopting a child who may have a special need?" 

Could you be a parent to a waiting child?

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