Previously, we posted the first-hand account of a MLJ Adoptions client who adopted a teenager through our Bulgaria International Adoption program. She described some of the struggles she encountered during the first year after adopting a teenager. The truth is that adopting an older child or a child who has a special need is not for everyone. But, it’s also true that the landscape of international adoption is changing.
Child placements through international adoption have fallen significantly over the past five years, while placement of children with a special need or who are older or part of a sibling group is rising. We’ve seen the latter at MLJ Adoptions. In 2013, we experienced a 100% increase in referred children considered to have a special need. And we were thrilled to place sixteen children who meet the definition of special needs in permanent, loving homes last year. Our success continues in 2014. We’ve already referred an HIV+ child and several older children.
But, we aren’t content with our past successes. Over the past week our waiting child list has grown by at least ten single children and three sibling groups. That’s twenty children waiting to realize their basic human right to grow up in a family. These children are healthy; however, they are not the Gerber Baby – type. These children are all older and in need of a home and a loving family.
Are older children harder to raise? Adopting and raising a child of any age come with challenges, and difficulties. Yesterday’s post describes some of these difficulties. But, it also describes the joy that comes with the process. Resources such as TBRI training are providing parents with the tools to successfully navigate parenting a child from a hard place. The internet is allowing families in similar situations to connect and offer support to each other. There’s never been a better time to adopt an older child.
For those of you drawn to it, please consider looking at international adoption with fresh eyes. The wait for infants can be long; the wait for a child on our special needs list may be shorter. Ask yourself, if you have what it takes to raise an older child or one with a special need. Reach out to people who have already adopted older children and discuss their experiences. Perhaps, it could be right for you. Those twenty children on our list are waiting.
If you are interested in knowing more about our Special Needs adoption program, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.