Special needs kids a priority

By July 31, 2008

International (MNN) — There are many stereotypes about the adoption process which agencies like Bethany Christian Services addresses.

One main misconception is that adoption agencies are looking for one perfect type of family to adopt. Just as there are many different types of children looking for families, there are many different types of families. Bethany’s Janie VanDyke is asking prospective adoptive families to consider special needs children because there’s a backlog of these children waiting for forever families.

VanDyke explains: “The issue is that most families come to Bethany to adopt a normal, healthy child.” And they want a baby. Usually, the most-sought-after children are still in their infancy. There are whole groups of children as young as five years old who are having trouble getting adopted, and many of them are among those listed as ‘special needs.’

Although Bethany does find families who want to love special needs kids, there aren’t nearly enough. VanDyke notes, “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

Without an adoptive family, many “age out” of the foster care system and face an uncertain future.

VanDyke knows it’s not a challenge for the faint of heart. “A lot of the children come with medical issues; some are correctable, and some are not. Some kids come with physical challenges; others come with developmental need… Sibling groups [often] are large and come from negative past history. It takes special families willing to take these children,” which makes the opportunity a perfect one to see the love of Christ make families whole.

Bethany is looking for families who can address the unique needs of the child, which could mean dealing with early intervention, medical specialists, or finding the most appropriate educational setting. They want families who have the desire and talent to help a child flourish — whatever challenges they may face.

Summing up their mission, VanDyke says, “We hope to find Christian families because that’s our goal–to place these children in homes where they can learn the love of Jesus.” If you want more details, click here.

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