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Old 06-03-2012, 02:21 PM
 
Location: Liberal Coast
4,271 posts, read 4,999,944 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CraigCreek View Post
There are several American non-profits which assist parents who want to adopt orphaned children with special needs who live in other countries. Search for "Down syndrome" "adoption" "eastern Europe" and you should find one especially well-regarded such organization, which lists children under pseudonyms to preserve their anonymity, and assists families with information and preparation, red tape, fund-raising and with facilitators once they are in-country (facilitators serve as translators, make hotel or apartment and transportation arrangements for the traveling families, and assist with adoption courts and all the additional legal work and documentation which must be completed before a family can leave their child's birth country for the US (or Canada).

This award-winning organization is NOT an adoption agency, but raises awareness of the plight of orphaned children with special needs in the developing world, and facilitates international adoptions of children with many kinds of special needs in addition to adoptions of children with Down syndrome.

Considering that developing world (particularly eastern European) children with Down syndrome or many, many other physical and developmental special needs are routinely given up at birth by their birth parents, sent to baby house orphanages (which vary widely in quality or lack thereof) for their first four years, and then are sent to bleak adult level mental institutions for the rest of their days, starting at age four, adopting these children saves lives. It's a situation not well-known in the western world, unfortunately, where many people unknowingly frown upon international adoptions as they claim that adoptive parents should instead adopt the many children who lack families in this country. True, sadly enough, there are such children - but few of them are available for adoption and negotiating the foster care system is a nightmare in most states.

It seems to me that an orphaned child deserves a family, regardless of where that child happens to live, and that nationality does not automatically make one child more deserving than any other child.

I have extended family members who were adopted from eastern Europe as school-age children with mild physical special needs. Their parents were well-informed about the various issues involved, and their children have done very well as a result, and have blessed our family.
Yep, hubby and I plan to adopt a child, or two, or three from that site once we can.
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Old 06-03-2012, 03:19 PM
 
Location: Chicago area
1,105 posts, read 2,752,532 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CraigCreek View Post
It's a situation not well-known in the western world, unfortunately, where many people unknowingly frown upon international adoptions as they claim that adoptive parents should instead adopt the many children who lack families in this country. True, sadly enough, there are such children - but few of them are available for adoption and negotiating the foster care system is a nightmare in most states.
There are actually a lot of special needs kids available for adoption in the US many of whom live in institutions. Adopting these kids is usually a lot easier than adopting internationally.
Of course all kids, regardless of where they live, deserve a loving family and I'm by no means against international adoption. But it's not accurate that adopting special needs kids domestically is more difficult in any way.
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Old 06-03-2012, 03:25 PM
 
578 posts, read 843,112 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nimchimpsky View Post
LOL!



Yeah, definitely.

People often ask me if I have memories from the orphanage, not realizing how awkward of a question that is--given the answer is probably a bit more serious than they were expecting.

Too many adoptive parents of older children act like their children were born the day of adoption. Abuse is rampant in orphanages, and even if there isn't any abuse, just the fact of not having one's own parents alone has profound effects.

Attachment disorder - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
People ask stupid questions not really realizing how insensitive they sound. it's a shame this crazy one off makes it harder for potential parents to love a child that would otherwise be living a tough life.
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Old 06-04-2012, 01:09 AM
 
Location: Chicago area
1,105 posts, read 2,752,532 times
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Why is it awkward or stupid to ask someone if they remember the orphanage they were in as a small child?
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Old 06-04-2012, 01:33 AM
 
Location: Liberal Coast
4,271 posts, read 4,999,944 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lizita View Post
There are actually a lot of special needs kids available for adoption in the US many of whom live in institutions. Adopting these kids is usually a lot easier than adopting internationally.
Of course all kids, regardless of where they live, deserve a loving family and I'm by no means against international adoption. But it's not accurate that adopting special needs kids domestically is more difficult in any way.
The institutions here do not in any way, shape, or form compare at all to the institutions in some other countries. Those kids have absolutely no chance at life.
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Old 06-04-2012, 09:35 PM
 
9,827 posts, read 7,719,688 times
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Lizita, do a search for Pleven orphanage in Bulgaria, and look for recent news articles and blog entries, if you want to know how eastern European orphanages and institutions differ from those in the western world. Children with no other special needs than Down syndrome who were in Pleven were kept in bed 24/7 for years and years. A nine year old girl with Down syndrome - and no other special needs or complications - was adopted from there last fall. She came home weighing less than twelve pounds (and was immediately taken to the hospital).

Children were fed a slop from beer bottles with nipples intended for feeding lambs or calves, with the openings cut to enlarge them. The bottles were propped up so that the "caregivers" (who gave precious little care) didn't have to bother to hold the children. Neglected children with Down syndrome usually have weak mouths and enlarged tongues which tend to thrust forward, making swallowing difficult. Imagine a little one lying flat in a crib, with only a mixture of oatmeal and weak tea from a bottle propped so that they choked and aspirated, leading to respiratory infections. No wonder these little one, who were hidden away on the top floor and rarely seen by visiting charities, were starved nearly to death!

And many did die...

Thankfully, the little girl who came home last fall is thriving and has become a beautiful child - she has grown five inches in six months, has almost tripled her weight, is close to walking, and has a wonderful, loving family now. Her adoption story, recorded on her mother's blog, has not only opened doors for other children at Pleven to find families, but has finally brought the attention of the Bulgarian press and government to this atrocious place, so changes are underway at last, but the damage done to these innocents cannot be fully undone.

US foster care or residential homes cannot be compared to such places, thankfully...nor are children with physical or developmental special needs routinely given up by their birth parents, taken to orphanages for their early childhood years, then at age four, sent to bleak adult-level mental institutions in this country, as habitually occurs in most of the former Soviet Union and former Soviet allied countries (a carry-over from Stalinist attitudes which viewed people with special needs as being of no use to the state).

Not all foreign orphanages and institutions are as bad as the one I described, of course - but even the best cannot be compared with having a loving family. Most fall somewhere in the middle - underfunded, well-intentioned, perhaps kindly but uneducated staff, inadequate food, clothing, shoes, toys, poor education - and 16 year olds turned out on their own meager resources when they "graduate" from the internats, or boarding school orphanages for ages seven to sixteen or seventeen.

Look at the Youtube videos of orphanage "graduations" - they will break your heart, with young girls dressed in their pitiful best, holding each others' hands, while the tears stream down their faces. Young boys, looking no more than 14 in most cases, whose bravado cannot hide their fears. Orphanage staff trying to make the occasion celebratory, with music, party foods, diplomas...perhaps a few grandparents who cannot afford to house their grandchildren in the small audiences. Such graduations are happening right now in Eastern Europe's internats. I wonder how many of the young graduates will still be in this world in another ten years. The majority fall prey to drugs, alcohol, prostitution, AIDS, addictions, and crime.

It sounds incredible, I know. But it's all too true. Until my young relatives joined our family, I, too, was largely unaware of the plight of the orphaned children of eastern Europe.

Now that I do know, my conscience will not allow me to leave this story untold.

Last edited by CraigCreek; 06-04-2012 at 10:28 PM..
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Old 06-04-2012, 10:02 PM
 
9,827 posts, read 7,719,688 times
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In regard to American special needs adoption, it is true that at present, there are waiting lists of people wanting to adopt children with Down syndrome. But there are very few such children available in this country.

At present, over 90% of babies with Down syndrome who are diagnosed prenatally are aborted. So few expectant parents and apparently, obstetricians seem to know that with proper education, most people with DS habitually learn to read, to write, hold jobs, play instruments, engage in sports and other hobbies, often drive, sometimes marry, and live productive, happy lives. Siblings of children with DS consistently state that their sibling with DS has made them better people: more gentle, more considerate, more compassionate, more understanding, more loving.

I wish some of those Americans waiting to domestically adopt American children with DS also would consider international special needs adoption. There are so many, many children who have absolutely no opportunity in their native countries, but who would thrive and bring so much joy to adoptive families, given a chance.

Much of the same could be said for the thousands of waiting children with other special needs, as even mild physical issues are viewed similarly: children with special needs are seen as defective, and few if any accommodations are made for them. Things like mild cerebral palsy, spina bifida, cleft palate/cleft lip, deafness, blindness, even amblyopia, arthrogryposis, limb differences, dwarfism, club foot, not to mention HIV (which now can be treated effectively in children with just a few pills given twice a day)...those who have any of these conditions are viewed as defective and of no use to the state.

So much education is needed, both here and abroad...
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Old 06-04-2012, 10:26 PM
 
578 posts, read 843,112 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lizita View Post
Why is it awkward or stupid to ask someone if they remember the orphanage they were in as a small child?
Obviously people have post traumatic stress from some of these orphanages. Did you read the thread? Asking someone about a brutal past they'd rather forget is not only heartless it is stupid.
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Old 06-04-2012, 11:33 PM
 
Location: Liberal Coast
4,271 posts, read 4,999,944 times
Reputation: 3862
Quote:
Originally Posted by CraigCreek View Post
In regard to American special needs adoption, it is true that at present, there are waiting lists of people wanting to adopt children with Down syndrome. But there are very few such children available in this country.

At present, over 90% of babies with Down syndrome who are diagnosed prenatally are aborted. So few expectant parents and apparently, obstetricians seem to know that with proper education, most people with DS habitually learn to read, to write, hold jobs, play instruments, engage in sports and other hobbies, often drive, sometimes marry, and live productive, happy lives. Siblings of children with DS consistently state that their sibling with DS has made them better people: more gentle, more considerate, more compassionate, more understanding, more loving.

I wish some of those Americans waiting to domestically adopt American children with DS also would consider international special needs adoption. There are so many, many children who have absolutely no opportunity in their native countries, but who would thrive and bring so much joy to adoptive families, given a chance.

Much of the same could be said for the thousands of waiting children with other special needs, as even mild physical issues are viewed similarly: children with special needs are seen as defective, and few if any accommodations are made for them. Things like mild cerebral palsy, spina bifida, cleft palate/cleft lip, deafness, blindness, even amblyopia, arthrogryposis, limb differences, dwarfism, club foot, not to mention HIV (which now can be treated effectively in children with just a few pills given twice a day)...those who have any of these conditions are viewed as defective and of no use to the state.

So much education is needed, both here and abroad...
Yep, those are the kids we're going to adopt. All they have to look forward to in their home countries is death.
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Old 06-05-2012, 06:06 AM
 
10,452 posts, read 10,258,530 times
Reputation: 12496
Quote:
Originally Posted by CraigCreek View Post
In regard to American special needs adoption, it is true that at present, there are waiting lists of people wanting to adopt children with Down syndrome. But there are very few such children available in this country.

At present, over 90% of babies with Down syndrome who are diagnosed prenatally are aborted. So few expectant parents and apparently, obstetricians seem to know that with proper education, most people with DS habitually learn to read, to write, hold jobs, play instruments, engage in sports and other hobbies, often drive, sometimes marry, and live productive, happy lives. Siblings of children with DS consistently state that their sibling with DS has made them better people: more gentle, more considerate, more compassionate, more understanding, more loving.

I wish some of those Americans waiting to domestically adopt American children with DS also would consider international special needs adoption. There are so many, many children who have absolutely no opportunity in their native countries, but who would thrive and bring so much joy to adoptive families, given a chance.

Much of the same could be said for the thousands of waiting children with other special needs, as even mild physical issues are viewed similarly: children with special needs are seen as defective, and few if any accommodations are made for them. Things like mild cerebral palsy, spina bifida, cleft palate/cleft lip, deafness, blindness, even amblyopia, arthrogryposis, limb differences, dwarfism, club foot, not to mention HIV (which now can be treated effectively in children with just a few pills given twice a day)...those who have any of these conditions are viewed as defective and of no use to the state.

So much education is needed, both here and abroad...
Amblyopia--seriously? For those that don't know, that just means that someone has a strong preference for one eye and their brain tends to block out the image in parts of the weaker eye's visual field. For all intents and purposes, though, a child who has amblyopia (and no other blinding) eye problems is sighted. At the very most it's like being blind in one eye.
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