Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

More about older children

There are many children out there whose main "special need" is that they are "older".  No longer "cute and cuddly", but rather laden with baggage, pain and mistrust from years of loss.  I want to look at 3 different 16 year old boys who had families come for them recently.

In February, Renee raised the alarm about Sam and Duncan, due to age out of the orphanage from which she adopted her daughter at the beginning of the year.  Both boys had expressed an interest in being adopted by American families, apparently.  Sam has only a minor disability -- a deformation of one hand.  Duncan has Cerebral Palsy, and his mobility is impaired, although he is not restricted to a wheelchair.  Two families stepped forward for these boys (actually there was another family, but they ran into delays getting their paperwork together).  Both boys got cold feet after meeting the families, and decided to take their chances on life in Ukraine rather than take the opportunity to come to the United States, go to college, and have a piece of the American Dream.   Both families went home empty-hearted and confused.

Another story started similarly. Last December, Adeye raised the alarm about Jonathan, who was aging out of a different orphanage in the same country.  No special need was noted, just an older kid about to find himself out on the street.  To this day I don't know why he was singled out to be advocated for.  Like "Sam" and "Duncan", he hesitated about going home with the family that came for him.  Like the others, he was urged by his peers and caretakers to beware of the horrors of American adoptive parents, who were likely to cut him up and sell his organs....  At the last moment, he said yes.  Two months later, he (now known as Andrew) is happily integrated into his new family.

Why???  What makes the difference?  How does one approach the adoption of an adolescent so as to avoid chasing a dead end?

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