Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

The National Adoption Center

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

The National Adoption Center

Article excerpt

Finding Homes for Children with Special Needs.

There is nothing eight-year-old Michael enjoys more than playing outside in the sunshine in the yard of his family's rural home with his two older brothers. All of this is done under the watchful eye of their father, Larry Inglese.

Michael's movements are different from those of his brothers when he tries to run across the yard. He has cerebral palsy, broncho pulmonary dysplasia, and a hand deformation. He was also exposed to drugs in utero. Larry first learned about his youngest son's disabilities in his search for the perfect child to add to his family of one birth son and one adopted son. Reading through photo-listing books in his social worker's office, he came across Michael and knew he was the one.

Michael's adoption story is not unique. More and more children with special needs are finding permanent adoptive families and living the same kind of happy lives as Michael. But there are still many children--nearly 100,000 around the country--waiting for someone like Larry Inglese to come into their lives.

Children are waiting

Children who wait for permanent families range in age from infants to teenagers. Some children have physical, emotional, or mental disabilities, while others are sibling groups who want to stay together. Most of the children live in foster or group homes because their parents were unable or unwilling to care for them. Often, personal and family problems made it impossible for their parents to maintain a home for them. Some of these children have been abused, neglected, or abandoned. And in some rare cases, both parents are deceased.

Shattering some myths about adoption

Adoption is not a difficult process, and adopting a child with special needs can be especially rewarding, as Larry Ingelese can attest. In fact, most adoptive parents say that their only regret is that they did not adopt sooner. The major ingredients necessary in any adoption are love and the desire to provide a permanent home and family to a child who needs one.

Adoption agencies recognize that many different kinds of people can be loving, effective parents. It is important that people considering adoption be stable, sensitive, and able to offer a child understanding and patience.

Adoptive parents do not have to be married; single people, such as Larry, make excellent adoptive parents. In the last 20 years, for instance, there has been a steady increase in the number of single parent adoptions. Approximately 25 percent of the adoptions of children with special needs are by single men and women. …

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