Some kids must use sign language to communicate because they are deaf. Others are confined to a wheelchair. Practically any child disability requires special treatment or equipment, special care and extra parental resources to meet child’s special needs. That’s what we call children with disabilities – children with special needs. No doubt, this is a vague term. Is a child wearing hearing aid a special-needs child? What about an asthmatic child or a child requiring insulin to manage her diabetes? To some parents meeting these extra needs does not seem like a burden. Most people would agree, though, that children unable to walk, see, learn, interact with others, etc. now or in a foreseeable future, need special care and special assistance, maybe for the rest of their lives. Despite their extra needs, these kids are precious. Like everyone else, they need love and security never attainable in an orphanage.
About A Child is committed to helping children with severe disabilities find forever families that will do whatever it takes to treat, heal and care for these very special children. We waive all agency fees for families adopting these children and seek additional grants to cover travel and overseas expenses associated with adoption. We channel all profits left over after operating expenses towards our Medical Aid and Adoption Grants programs. We do whatever we can to help these children and we hope to find adoptive parents who will, too.
Upon learning of their pregnancy, most mothers-to-be stop drinking and smoking, start eating healthier foods and spend more time outside. All this to make sure the baby is born healthy. But there is never such thing as being sure, and some mothers give birth to babies with Down Syndrome or other genetic disorders. Others have healthy kids who get into accidents or develop serious medical conditions. All these children require special care or equipment, special education, or as we commonly call it, have special needs.
When it comes to biological kids, many feel there is no choice. They go through a grieving period, anger even, and then slowly accept their child’s special needs. There is a beautiful testimonial by Emily Perl Kingsley, whose son has Down Syndrome, called Welcome To Holland. Like many other parents of special-needs kids, Emily sees her son as a special blessing, bringing her quiet joy and happiness every day.
International Adoption, though, is always about choice. There are millions of orphans around the globe all needing mom and dad. More than half of them have a wide range of disabilities, from easily correctable cleft palate or crossed eyes to severe cerebral palsy or autism. In developing countries, these kids are often abandoned at birth because their mothers, too, have little choice: they have no financial or medical resources for treating or caring for these children’s special needs. Most often, orphanages can’t provide adequate treatment either, and vast majority of kids with disabilities die in childhood or spend their entire lives in closed institutions.
Every time a child like this is chosen for adoption is seen as a miracle by orphanage workers. They wonder most of all, why would someone choose to adopt a child with disability. And there is no correct answer to that. Some hear a calling from above to help a child, some can’t remain indifferent to a plea of a sick child. And some look beyond a child’s medical condition, seeing only a beautiful smile and a beautiful soul.
True, not everyone is capable of what Emily masterfully describes as “traveling to Holland rather than Italy.” Raising a child with disability means financial resources and time commitment not everyone is able to provide. But some disabilities are correctable or “manageable” in our country through surgery, prosthetics or even special diet. With a little help, many of these kids can lead normal, productive and happy lives. This help is often not available in developing countries, at least not to kids living in state orphanages. It takes a village to raise a child, but it takes a devoted mother to fight for her child’s health.
How We Can Help
About A Child waives all agency case management fees and for families adopting children with special needs requiring immediate life-saving surgeries or treatment. About A Child offers significantly reduced fees to families adopting children with non-life threatening disabilities and actively seeks out additional grants on families’ behalf to cover the costs of travel and overseas expenses.