International (MNN) — A year after the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, a trend is emerging. Many countries are making special needs
adoptions a priority, and families are educating themselves about various special
Bethany Christian Services says, "We have well over
300 children with a great variety of needs. Some of them are healthy and just
older. Some of them were born premature; some of them are wheelchair-bound.
Some of them are members of large sibling groups." Others come because of extreme poverty in their country, which can cause
malnutrition, developmental delays, and medical issues.
Bethany often has children with
physical, developmental and medical challenges. There are children with missing limbs,
paralysis, spina bifida, cerebral palsy, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and other genetic
conditions or diseases. Children also come from backgrounds of neglect,
abandonment, mistreatment, and parental alcohol and drug abuse.
Zuidema says with so many challenges
presented, "Every time I look at a child, I wonder, 'Are we going to be able to
find a home for them?' And every day, somebody steps up to place one of
There are many advantages to adopting a waiting child on the
special needs lists. For example, there is
no wait time for a referral of a child. The child is your direct referral. Also, there are opportunities for single women.
Some organizations provide grants to help parents afford the
adoption of specific waiting children. Most countries reduce fees for the
children with special placement need, and families have an opportunity to apply
for a grant through Bethany's Caring Connection Fund.
This is not for the faint of heart. Some children will have lifelong needs and
will require lifelong care. Zuidema adds
that many children are abandoned, so there is only limited social and medical
information about them.
However, Bethany needs families willing to accept the
limitations and challenges of these children. When a family adopts one of these
children, it's not a journey they'll walk alone. Bethany's experienced staff will prepare,
train and help find resources specific
to the children.
God uniquely prepares the families who are
taking on the challenges that come with adopting special needs children. Zuidema says, "We are called to adoption
and feel the support and the love of what the Bible teaches about adoption. Our
families rely on the fact that we were adopted by God. We are part of that family and have that
Biblical example of love, care and support. God asks us to care for the 'least
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