The pressures of being a parent are equal to any pressure on earth. To be a conscious parent, and really look to that little being's mental and physical health, is a responsibility which most of us, including me, avoid most of the time because it's too hard.
-- John Lennon
In the past, many new adoptive parents were told that they should (and could) simply take the adopted child home and love him or her, and everything would go much as it would have had the child not been adopted, but rather born to them. Today we know that the fact of adoption brings both joys and challenges to the adoptive family. Children coming into adoption with special needs have issues to deal with that are unique to adoption. The information in this chapter is designed to give the reader an overview of what experience and research have brought to the adoption process over the last generation.
By the time the average prospective adoptive parent has made the first phone call to an adoption agency, months and even years have already been spent in thought, discussion, research, and sometimes treatment for infertility. The first phone call comes at the end of an arduous and often heartbreaking experience of decision making. Hopeful adoptive parents want anything but another arduous and heartbreaking experience to follow, yet that is what the adoption process most often becomes. Adoptive parents must learn to wait, and wait some more, and wait even longer. There is no easy cure for the