I read an excellent article by Heather Forbes titled "Issues Facing Adoptive Mothers of Children with Special Needs." I nodded so hard my neck got sore.
If you have time, I highly recommend reading it.
Here are a few tidbits from their survey of adoptive mothers of special needs kids that really resonated for me:
- Traumatized children may first perceive the adoptive parents’ love, not as a reward, but
rather as coercive and frightening. The child then works to attain safety through avoidance of the relationship the parents are working to develop.
- Of the mothers who were married, 100 percent of them agreed, and most strongly agreed, that their child targeted them more than he or she did the father.
- Adoptive parents were often dissatisfied with the (post-adoption) services available and used their own resources and experiences to educate the professionals who were supposed to be helping them.
- Many Americans still consider adoption as a second best to having children by birth. This prevailing mindset continues to leave adoptive parents to experience social stigmatization in their everyday lives.
- Several of the mothers identified their social service agency that placed the child as one of the most prevalent sources of adoption stress. One mother stated that social services ‘made it as hard as possible’. Another mother stated that it took almost two years to uncover the history of her child.
- In the area of grief and loss, an overwhelming percentage [of adoptive mothers] (79%) felt sad for not being able to protect and nurture their child before the adoption, indicating
that the mothers do experience the pain of not being available to their children prior to being adopted.
- Eighty-six percent stated that they have become better persons since the adoption of their child.
- ...[I]ndividual and family counseling services for special needs adoptions were less than adequate...possibly due to the fact that families who seek these services often experience difficult behavioral problems not easily remedied by any kind of intervention.
A great and thorough piece of writing on a little-understood topic that should be of great concern to anyone looking to support permanency for older children needing parents.