Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Olympic standard?

So I was talking with my husband tonight, and he was sharing a conversation he had earlier with a friend.  He realized that part of his trepidation is that in all the stories I have been sharing with him about adoptive families, these people seem like "saints".   He said, "It's like you ask me to run a 4-minute mile and you tell me that all these Olympic athletes do it, so I can too, and it feels like an unrealistic standard."

So we talked, about what it was like to have 5 kids.  After all, most people who know us think that is way over the top.  And we agreed that while each kid adds some amount of stress, we had time to adjust to a new normal at each step.

"But isn't an adopted child with special needs a whole level beyond that?"

Depends what your expectation is.  I think that if you expect it to be analogous to a newborn, then those expectations will be met or exceeded.  A newborn arrives with unknown medical needs. A newborn requires frequent check-ups.  A newborn does not sleep through the night, eat solid foods, or interact in an intelligible fashion.  A newborn will not be mobile for 6-8 months, will not walk or talk for 12-18 months, and will not be potty trained for 2-3 years.  Your average adopted child with special needs will beat at least some of those milestones.  With this situation, as with an ordinary newborn, a new normal will be found.

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