Approximately 1 in every 59 children are born with an autism spectrum disorder every year. In addition, boys are four times more likely to get diagnosed than girls. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that affects common action and behavior.” As the rates of autism continue to rise, a parent needs to become prepared, especially if expecting parents are considering adopting a child with ASD.
There are children with special needs waiting to be adopted into loving families. For some adoption agencies, children with special needs are often thought to be more difficult to place than other children. For other agencies, all it takes is finding a family equipped with the resources to care for and the room in their hearts to love a special needs child.
Rebekah McGee and her husband adopted a child from Ethiopia that has autism. Her advice to other transracial families, especially those who have a special needs child, is to “trust your gut as a parent and give yourself a lot of grace. My son’s autism has changed a lot about the way that we parent him as we have learned to be flexible yet prepared”.
When considering adopting a child with ASD, you must make sure you are knowledgeable about every aspect of autism. There are minor and major ways ASD affects brain development. It ranges from difficulties with social interaction, reading or writing difficulties, repetitive behaviors, and more. A common name used to describe ASD is Asperger’s syndrome.
If you and your partner are both comfortable and capable of supporting a child with special needs, write that on your preferred checklist. Consider all the factors of having a child with ASD, such as frequent doctor visits, additional help with school, and the ability to advocate for the child. Once you’ve both made a decision, make sure, to be honest with yourselves. Do not feel guilty if you decide not to.
When considering adopting a child on the spectrum, you need the attributes necessary to raise any child, such as love, nurture, and patience. Once you get picked as the adoptive parents, you would need a complete medical history of the child. Further along the process, you will need to find appropriate schooling and medical assistance for your child.
Ultimately, choosing to adopt a child with special needs can come with some difficulties, but it is a rewarding journey that any capable family should not be overwhelmed to take.