Skip to main content

10 things to know about adopting special needs children

1. You don't need to be a hero, a saint, or a shrink to adopt special needs children. Yes, it can be hard, but if you're willing to love, the work becomes much lighter.

2. Like all adopted children, special needs children have something missing. Adoption means that a child couldn't be raised by their biological parents, and that is difficult. There are always questions in their minds about that.

3. We need support, not criticism. As parents of special needs kids, we know our children are going to act out, misbehave, get out of control, and generally be difficult sometimes. Don't judge. Don't give advice. Offer help, support and prayers.

4. It isn't all horrid.  Sometimes, people look at us with pity: "How hard it must be for them!" Yeah, ok, sometimes it is hard. But it's also great fun, a great joy, and we laugh a lot.

5. Have a solid, professional support team is a must. Finding the right doctors, counselors, social workers and therapists for your children is a must. If something isn't a good fit, keep looking. You'll know when you find the right people.

6. Mom and Dad need a break. It is essential, as in every marriage, that Mom and Dad gets breaks, but with special needs kids, it is even more important. The parents should encourage each other to take time alone to spend on hobbies or go out with friends, and even more importantly, Mom and Dad need to take time regularly to date. Want to do something really helpful? Offer to watch the kids for a few hours. It will mean the world!

7. The place we need to the most support is our faith community. Our church family has been great at supporting our family, but it is also the place where we've gotten the most criticism. "Suffer the little children to come unto me" doesn't apply only to the well-behaved kids who are stellar students and never cause a ruckus in church or catechism classes.

8. Spiritual support is not an option; prayer is not an option. Trust me on this; both parents and children need to know that God is in charge, even when things seem out of control.

9. Special needs doesn't mean a lifetime of woe. People can assume that a child with special needs will never amount to much, can't contribute to society or will always be a "burden". Nothing could be further from the truth. Every child is different, but every child is made in God's image and likeness and has skills, talents and something to offer.

10. Expect to make mistakes, and learn from them. It's tough raising any kid, but special needs is a whole other ball game. You're not going to get it right every time, and neither are the kids. However, everyone can learn, get better, and move forward.


  1. Now, I read the first suggestion and I said, "I agree, give me more!" Then, I read read the second through ten and I loved every suggestion. My favorite was number nine, though... We are all unique, and if we are still alive, here on earth, God must still have a plan for us to accomplish!


Post a Comment

I love comments, even if you don't agree, but please don't leave anonymous posts. A well-mannered reader leaves a name!

Popular posts from this blog

Trying to "end run" God

If you're a football fan, you know what an end run is. From Merriam-Webster:
a football play in which the ballcarrier attempts to run wide around the end of the line We try to "end run" God a lot. I do. I figure I know better. I've got this - no need to worry the Big Guy about such a trivial thing.

Of course, it never works.

Like the puppy above, when we try and evade the tough obstacle (even though we KNOW we will eventually have to do it), we end up - well, off in the bushes.

But oh! How I wished my way worked. I'd love to take a flying leap and land smoothly and gracefully. People would be in awe, as if watching Simone Biles nail a balance beam routine that no one else would even attempt. I would shyly look down and blush - just lightly - and acknowledge (But humbly! Oh so humbly!) my achievement.

But no: I am the one pulling myself out of the bushes, scratches all over my legs and twigs in my hair. I'd hear that gentle but loving voice of God saying, &quo…

Crossing Guard

I saw you
as you guided
your little man across that busy street.

You were wearing some
big man boots
watching cars and lights.

Your little man had on
black sneakers and
a Mickey Mouse hat
that bounced
as he walked.

He wasn't watching nothing but
your big man boots
the white stripes of the crosswalk.

Just before
he got to the sidewalk again,
his step bounced a bit
- he hopped over
a spot where the asphalt broke.

You turned to look,
holding out a hand to
your little man.
Not rushed or angry,
just making sure
he got up
on that sidewalk.

Then you walked on,
in your big man boots,
face into a cold Michigan wind,
with the little man behind,
his hat bouncing.

Be Transfigured

From today's readings: 

Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother, John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the and his clothes became white as light.

...we possess the prophetic message that is altogether reliable. You will do well to be attentive to it as to a lamp shining in a dark place until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

Today we celebrate the Transfiguration. For whatever reason, Jesus brought three of His disciples to Mount Tabor to witness this miracle. They weren't sure what they were seeing, but they knew enough to throw themselves to the ground in the presence of Almighty God. St. Peter (who never did anything halfway) excitedly declares that he will erect tents on the mountain as a way of memorializing the event. But Jesus tells him and the others that they are not to tell people what they witnessed - at least not yet.

In the second reading, the requirement to be quiet has bee…