"Hello? May I speak to Jamie's mom?"
--Social worker, to newly-chosen adoptive mom
Prospective adoptive parents preparing for a special needs placement know, intellectually, that eventually they will become adoptive parents. Even so, most adoptive parents describe as the thrill of their lives the telephone call notifying them that they have been chosen for a child they applied to adopt. The social worker for the child or children you applied to adopt will probably tell you the dates on which the child's case will be staffed and a decision made. Many an adoptive parent has spent hours hovering near the phone, waiting to hear if they will be chosen as the parents for a particular child. Prospective adoptive parents experience anxiety, doubt, fear, depression, hope, anticipation, excitement, dread, and joy as they wait for The Phone Call. When the telephone call comes, and the social worker on the other end of the line says, "Congratulations!" adoptive parents experience a thrill and joy as intense and abiding as that of any new parent.
After the celebration, it's time to get to work. Experienced special needs adopters have learned that their most important and difficult work begins only after they have been chosen for a child. The task for the adoptive parents and their adoption worker is to decide whether the parents will still choose the child, after complete disclosure of the child's history and special needs.