Special Needs Children

Twenty-five percent of domestic adopted children in the United States are reported to be special needs (SN) children. Many parents cannot foresee the impact such children can have on the family. SN children include children with physical or emotional (including behavioral and delinquency) problems. Parental estimates of physically ill or handicapped children's effect on their lives are often more realistic than the outcome projection of adopting children with mental or emotional deficits or handicaps. Families are rarely prepared for the enormous consequences mental illness, acting-out behavior, addiction, and delinquency can have on them. The fact that many of the older adoptees already have multiple rejections behind them further impedes successful bonding and family integration. Family breakups can result from unrelenting stress. Successful outcomes are related to parent/family qualities including flexible expectations, coping and listening skills, resourcefulness, rejection tolerance, sense of humor, willingness to forgive, applause readiness, patience, and love.

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