Adoption:

Getting Background Information

No matter what type of adoption you are pursuing, it is important to obtain as much information as you can about your prospective child. You should know your child’s history, medical, genetic, and social. The benefits of this knowledge are considerable, and include:

Informed Decision: When you are able to accurately assess the needs of a prospective child, then you are better able to know if you can provide for those needs. Knowing the financial and emotional commitment that you are making will result in a better adoption experience, both for you and the child.

Subsidies: There are both Federal and State adoption subsidies (adoption assistance) available for families adopting children with special needs.

Personal History: It is best to provide children with accurate information concerning their birth families. It will help them form an accurate and complete sense of personal identity, can aid in conquering feelings of guilt for separating from their birth parents, and can also prevent them from forming unrealistic and harmful fantasies about their birth parents.

Early Diagnosis: Knowledge of your child’s medical and genetic history are very helpful in the diagnosis and treatment of disease and illness throughout his or her life.

Information about prospective children should be available from adoption agencies. It is also wise to speak with the child’s caseworker, foster parents, teachers, and anyone else that knows the child, in order to form as complete and accurate a picture as possible.

It is advisable to be cautious when browsing national online adoption directories and photolistings; their brief descriptions can be misleading. An “active and impulsive” child may have ADHD or a “developmentally delayed” child may be mildly retarded. “Decoding” this type of language is important in determining if your family is a good fit for the child. Obviously, no child is perfect and each has his or her own strengths and weaknesses. Nevertheless, it is advisable to be meticulous and thorough when researching a child, for the child’s sake as much as for your own.

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