International (MNN) ― "Special needs" children can wait a long time for a "forever" family.
Bethany Christian Service's Janie VanDyke knows many people get scared off by special needs. To be considered "special needs," the child often is 10 years old or older, a member of a sibling group of three or more, has moderate or intensive emotional, behavioral, or physical care needs, or is a member of a minority race.
Many times, potential adoptive families don't feel like they're equipped with the skills they would need to provide a stable, loving home for children who fit the special needs description.
However, she says they are looking for families who are open to this kind of ministry. "Bethany gets just as many children with special placement needs as they do normal (and) healthy (children). In fact, they get more than even the normal, healthy children. So it's hard to find families to consider these."
Over 100,000 children are waiting to be adopted right now out of the more than half million U.S. children in foster care. That's in the U.S. alone. In many countries, special needs children "age out" of the system and face an uncertain future.
Bethany also has many support ministries that help adoptive families develop tools to cope with the demands of emotional, physical or spiritual needs.
VanDyke says they look to place children with Christian families so that they are introduced personally to the love of Christ. Especially challenging are the children they're working with in Ethiopia and Haiti. "We just started taking in HIV-positive children, and we're looking for families who might be interested in that. As families are educated and awareness is shared with them, they know that children now with HIV can live a long, healthy life."
Bethany also believes prayer is an essential part of their ministry to children. Pray for families to come forward for these children that have lost parents to HIV/AIDS. These children will not stay healthy without medication or nutritional food that is vital for their health. Only a family can give the love, medical care and nurturing these precious children deserve.Click here for details.