International (MNN) — Adoption can be a complicated road with life-changing results, but what happens when you look overseas? Catherine Lafler, International Services Coordinator at Bethany Christian Services, says things are always changing when it comes to international adoption.
“Historically, younger, healthier children were sent internationally from other countries into the U.S.,” Lafler says. “The reality of international adoption is now it’s predominantly for children who don’t have options in their own country.”
Those children usually fall into two main categories — older kids and children with special needs. Both these groups can present unique challenges that make it harder for local organizations to connect kids to families and monitor their progress.
It’s easier for older children to outgrow orphanages in many foreign countries than it is here in the U.S., which makes them a higher priority for adoption placement. When it comes to special needs, orphanages and organizations often don’t have access to the facilities and specialists required to help these children. However, once they come to the U.S. they can get access to those treatments and, in some cases, one simple surgery can resolve any ailments the child may have faced.
“Children with extensive lifelong conditions also can receive so much therapy here in the U.S., so they have a much higher potential of reaching their full abilities through the care that they receive here,” Lafler says.
Every child presents unique challenges, but Bethany Christian Services has plenty of information and training for families so both the child and their new family can adjust and grow together. Lafler says Bethany will help families prepare to integrate a new culture into their home, make travel arrangements, and even provide connections and training for special medical cases.
“A lot of training and preparation goes into it so the family can learn about the impact of trauma, of the loss of the family the child has come from, and about attachment and adoption,” Lafler says.
A combination of helpful training from organizations like Bethany and a spreading global mindset means international adoption is more realistic of an option than ever. If you’re interested, Lafler suggests that you “reach out to people in your local community or church group who have done that and learn from what their local experiences have been.”
And the best news of all? Bethany Christian Services isn’t the only one on your side. “God designed the family for children. His original design was that children grew up with parent figures, and our children who are being sent internationally did not have that opportunity.”