Natural child: Any child who is not artificial. Real Parent: Any parent who is not imaginary. Your own child: Any child who is yours to love. An adopted child is a natural child with real parents, who is loved.
-- Rita Laws
When special needs adoption is a passive process for the prospective parent, it is also a very risky process. Special needs adoption begs for active involvement from the parents-to-be because social workers can never know parents as well as they know themselves. Adoption should never be the sit-by-the-phone-and- wait process stereotyped in old movies. It is up to the prospective adoptive parent to choose the type of adoption best suited to home, family, personality, goals, and financial situation.
There are many decisions to be made and concerns to be dealt with when prospective adoptive parents decide to build or add to the family through special needs adoption. Is special needs adoption the right avenue? Can I handle this? How do I get started? This chapter attempts to help future adoptive parents find the answers to these questions--their own answers.
Instead of thinking in terms of "right" and "wrong" or "best" and "worst," the adoptive parent should think in terms of being a fact-finder, or