have that option. This may not seem like
a negative thing, and I am not saying it
is, but I can remember in the midst of
dealing with daily, recurring crises in our
home, because of the special needs of one
of our children, that I realized this difference between foster parenting and adoptive parenting.
Why am I saying all this? I suppose
it is just to say that if you are pondering whether to foster or adopt (or both)
think long and hard about your choice.
If you feel up to a long-term challenge
but feel there is a threshold you are not
willing to breach, then perhaps the short
term nature of foster parenting would
be best. There is always an escape valve.
But if you adopt through the system, be
prepared to deal with any problems for
life. This really isn’t any different than
any parent has to be prepared to do. It’s
just that adopted children are far more
likely to have trauma-damaged brains
that require very different parenting. This
we learned the hard way! Children of
trauma, or as one writer puts it “children
from hard places” cannot be parented the
same as “normal” children. Some things
are the same of course, but the differen-
ces can be quite profound. They are only
now getting a handle on how to better
help parents shepherd trauma-thinking
children. I only wish we knew then what
we have learned now!
“Special needs” is a generic way for saying that this child requires things that
“normal/neurotypical” children generally do not need or do not need in the same
way. It may be due to birth defects, medical conditions, mental illness, physical
or sexual abuse, neglect, behavioral dysfunction or, quite often, a combination
of several of the above (one often leads
to, or causes, another). The bottom line
is that parenting such a child will require
more involvement from parents than the
That is why foster/adoptive families
need extra support. We all have to be
in it for the long haul. There is no quick
and easy fix for these children. But there
is hope and there can be peace in the
midst of a special needs adoption! God
loves these children. Their welfare concerns Him greatly. We praise God that
He made the human mind so pliable. It is
these children’s hope if they have families
who will stand by them and love them.
Coming alongside and supporting these
families increases their chance of success
with these precious, yet challenging-to-parent children.
Eric Osborn is a theologically trained 5th
grade teacher at a small Christian school
in Northern California. His wife Amy and
their children, Jimmy, Jeremy, Jason and
Christa are active in their church, hockey
league and post-adoption support. Eric
loves to learn about history, astronomy,
and spiritual things and has been involved
in serving others for over 30 years. He is
the author of Peace in the Midst Of…
found at: http://paxinbello15.wix.com/
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We all have to
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