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Old 03-10-2011, 05:33 AM
 
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Default adoption vs pregnancy

I'm getting married in June, and my fiance and I want to start a family immediately. We want to adopt a special needs child internationally at some point in our lives, but we are trying to decide if we should try to get pregnant first or adopt first. We are leaning towards adoption right now because we feel like we're in a good financial situation: no house payment, no car payments, little debt, no kids, etc plus we would be able to give ALL our attention to the adopted child, working on attachment, etc. and dealing with the special needs. We're young-23 and 22-but we have found an agency that will work with us. Oh, and I do have experience with special needs-I'm a special education teacher and have worked with special needs for 2 years. Do you think we should go through with the adoption first and then try for biological kids later or try to get pregnant first?
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Old 03-10-2011, 06:02 AM
 
Location: Eastern time zone
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Just a couple of random thoughts, and please take them in the spirit in which they are offered:

First I commend you in having a plan for your life. Lots of twenty-somethings do not, though in defense of your generation you often seem to have more sense than some fifteen and twenty years older.

That having been said...I'm wondering about the use of "special needs". There are kids, and there are kids, and special needs kids don't really have any more in common than any other kid. The care of, and life with, a cardiac kid will be light years away from what you'd experience with a born-addicted preschooler with a background of PTSD and RAD. A kid with Angelman's isn't the same as one with achondroplasia. And in the autism community, there's an aphorism: "If you've seen one kid on the spectrum, you've seen...one kid on the spectrum".
So think about those special needs. Think seriously about what you can handle, and what you can't.
Are you comfortable with G-tubes? Can you wake up ready to handle a seizure or six? Poo flinging after a long day? Are you willing not only to learn to sign, but to immerse yourself in deaf culture? Are you willing to put up with the endless snake oil salesmen who cluster the minute you say "my child is autistic"? Or have the other parents-- and some of your teaching peers-- tell you that your child doesn't beling in their classroom? (They will say it, and they will not be nice about it.) Can you wrap your mind around the idea of a kid who is exceptionally gifted, but (at 12) still can't tie her shoes and is terrified of babies, including her own nephew? At worst, do you and your SO agree on what constitutes reason for institutionalization? Are you willing to fight the school board-- your bosses, and possibly your friends-- for your child's rights to a free and appropriate public education?

Are you aware of the statistics that link special needs families and a high incidence of divorce?

I know that's a lot. May sound harsh. But it's also a big part of reality for some of us.

So are the little things. Parents of "normal" kids don't have the joy of knowing "hey, my kid made a friend!" because it's a given. They don't have any of the extreme highs and lows, the attempts not to laugh when your kid says something so incredibly profoundly OBVIOUS that no one else has bothered to consider.

Other questions: do you know you can get pregnant? A lot of couples put it off for ten years, thinking they have time, then spend a fortune in IVF when they discover they can't. OTOH, do you want to juggle a high-need preschooler and an infant? Or a kid in kindergarten and a baby on oxygen (which can seriously hamper any plans to volunteer for the Dr Seuss Day green eggs & ham festival)?

Lots to consider. And I'm not trying to talk you out of it-- I think it's great-- but I'm hoping you're prepared enough to be successful.

Anyway...soapbox done, and thank you for listening.

Last edited by Aconite; 03-10-2011 at 06:15 AM..
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Old 03-10-2011, 07:17 AM
Status: "Never have a battle of wits with someone who is unarmed." (set 5 days ago)
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
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First of all I would be very leery of an adoption agency which is "wiling to work" with you at this pint. You aren't even married yet, you are very young. Many adoption agencies are only in it for the monry and I caution you to NOT give them any money for a long time.
International adoptions usually have specific requirements about how long you have to be married, age, etc and it varies from country to country.

Be careful about adopting to "save" a child. They will not be grateful or appreciative. Many adoptive parents go into it for the wrong reasons.
We have adopted internationally 3 times and we were healthy mature parents who adopted healthy babies. Still it is hard and depending on the part of the country you live in can be difficult on the child and family if it is interracial adoption.

My advice would be to get yourself settled into a comfortable marriage for at least 5 years. Save your money, buy a house, pursue your careers before you even think about a family. You will have so much more to offer your child then.
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Old 03-10-2011, 09:10 AM
 
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What no kudzu said. Be very careful about any agency that will work with you at this point. I'm an adoptive parent of two healthy kids as well and even then there are hurdles to overcome. Also agree about "saving a child" no one should adopt for anything but selfish reasons imo. Frankly some adoptive parents drive me nuts

Be married a few years, save money and really look at your life. If your special needs child needs a particular private school can you afford it? What if they can never live independently...ever? Are you really ready for all of that?

We were very young first time adoptive parents at 29 and were given a hard time about it at court. I think a lot of international judges would frown on a new marriage and so young a couple.

Good luck! Adoption is a wonderful way to build a family just take some time
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Old 03-10-2011, 10:00 AM
 
Location: S. Florida
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I am a mommy to both a bio and adopted child. We adopted domestically through an infant open adoption plan. Although I commend you for your altruism, I would think long and hard, and do a TON of research about adopting a special needs child (especially internationally). You really don't know what your getting as many international agency's do not know 100% or tell the whole truth about the special needs of these children.

Also, being a parent in general (even with "typical" children) is a FULL TIME job in itself. It puts a strain on a marriage and changes the entire dynamics of what you and your husband are accustomed to. Add a special needs child in the mix, and you need to remember there is NO RETURN POLICY!

I suggest you and your husband sign up first as foster parents for special needs children in your area. Believe me, there are plenty of special needs children in the United States. You really don't have to leave this country.
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Old 03-10-2011, 11:44 AM
 
Location: Mid-Atlantic
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hml1976 View Post
What no kudzu said. Be very careful about any agency that will work with you at this point. I'm an adoptive parent of two healthy kids as well and even then there are hurdles to overcome. Also agree about "saving a child" no one should adopt for anything but selfish reasons imo. Frankly some adoptive parents drive me nuts

Be married a few years, save money and really look at your life. If your special needs child needs a particular private school can you afford it? What if they can never live independently...ever? Are you really ready for all of that?

We were very young first time adoptive parents at 29 and were given a hard time about it at court. I think a lot of international judges would frown on a new marriage and so young a couple.

Good luck! Adoption is a wonderful way to build a family just take some time
I am also the adoptive mom of 2 internationally adopted children. I have to agree completely with everything that both hml & no kudzu have said.
Please be sure that you are going into adoption for the reason of wanting to be a parent. Not to save a child.
I too cannot stand to listen to adoptive parents who talk about how deprived their child would have been,etc.... YOU have to want to parent this child no matter what is brought to you....
I think it is wonderul that at such a young age you are willing to start a family so soon and take on the challenges that you seem to be willing to take on.
I can honestly tell you that when I was your age, I was fresh out of college and marriage & definitely being a parent, were far from my radar.
I didn't get married until I was almost 30 & we adopted our first child when we were almost 36.

I think that you obviously have to do what feels right for you, but I would also question an adoption agency willing to work with you. I know that for our process w/China, we had to be married at least 3 years (I belive it was that long) .

This is not in any way to discourage you from what you want to do , but it is just advice from people who have been there and I think that you should concentrate on you, your marriage & your career and having some stability before bringing any child into your family, whether that be biologically or through adoption.

You sound like an extremely mature person for your age and that is wonderful! I am sure you will make a wonderful parent.
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Old 03-10-2011, 01:45 PM
 
Location: Eastern time zone
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One more point that I forgot to bring up...please be aware that having a "home grown" child is no guarantee that s/he will not be special needs, either from birth or because of some misadventure.
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Old 03-10-2011, 03:02 PM
 
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Thank you all for your advice. As far as the agency goes, they said they would be willing to work with us AFTER we have an approved home study, and we do have a home study agency that will complete one for us--so nothing is for sure until we are APPROVED. We have definitely considered and discussed what special needs we think we could handle and which we don't. We are learning towards Down syndrome. I have a lot of experience with kids with Down syndrome, but I do realize that they are all not the same. I teach 3 this year and they are all very different.

We cannot adopt from many countries, but Ukraine and Bulgaria are both lenient on age and marriage length. We would fit the requirements for both countries. I have done research on adoption, and a lot of it scares me, like attachment issues and unexpected needs, but it is still something I want to do. I'm not doing it to save a child, although it does make me sad what happens to them. I'm doing it because I genuinely want to parent a child with special needs. I LOVE the kids I work with, and absolutely think I can parent kids like them. I know it will be very difficult. This is why we were thinking of adopting FIRST. So we would be able to focus ALL of our attention on the needs of the child.

I know this is something I want to do in my life along with having biological children. I'm just trying to figure out which to do first.
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Old 03-10-2011, 03:32 PM
Status: "Never have a battle of wits with someone who is unarmed." (set 5 days ago)
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
22,693 posts, read 14,320,073 times
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please be aware most countries want every document no older than 6 months. home studies are not cheap and if you don't submit soon after you would have to get it updated or get a new one.

I know you have your heart set on this but may I ask you what you are in such a hurry about? Don't you want to get settled in your marriage. There are so many adjustments to be made in marriage and parenthood and to put them together seems like a really inordinate amount of stress.

I would have a bio kid first. Assuming this child is healthy it could be a great deal of help to you with a special needs child and you would be able to concentrate on each child if you space them apart 3 to 4 years. also an older sibling to a special needs kid could make a good guardian for the SN kid later in life.

1 thing to think about. most people assume folks adopt because they can't have kids of "their own". If you adopt first and then have bio baby, some ignorant people might even say something like "don't you wish you had just waited instead of adopting first"
I'm certainly not one to live my life on what people might say but you have to be ready for ignorant remarks and nosey people.

Also with taking care of healthy bio baby you will learn alot about cild care and may be more prepared to handle what you are signing up for. I'm not being mean, but there is a big difference between taking care of SN kid for a few hours a day and actually raising one.
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Old 03-10-2011, 03:35 PM
Status: "Never have a battle of wits with someone who is unarmed." (set 5 days ago)
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
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I think you should post your questions on the special need children forum. it would be interesting to see what those folks have to say.
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