Adoption when birth child has Special Needs

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Hi all

I am at a VERY early stage of looking into the adoption process. So far I have done heaps of internet research, phoned some helplines and have a few adoption events lined up on my calendar to start.

My circumstances are Im a single mum carer of a soon to be six year old. I own my own three bed home outright (has a separate room for a new child) and I am a qualified teacher having worked in education and with children (including SN children) for the whole of my career. Me and my son's dad are on very good terms- he truly is a co-parent to our boy and I have a good support network around me.

I feel I am ready to extend our little family now- for all the reasons any person wants to adopt. I have no interest in having a romantic relationship and I have fertility issues to boot so adoption seems ideal.

My main question/need for advice is the fact that my son has special needs. He is on the autistic spectrum and has moderate learning needs and goes to a special school.

He is VERY easy going (for a child with his diagnosis), thrives being around other children and would make a super older brother. I am very lucky to have such a special little sproglet in my life who has taught me so much.

I am concerned that him having SN would be 'held against us' not to mention the fact that I am a single parent. I know that if my son's need would be an issue to being a parent to another child, I wouldn't even think adoption. Yes there will be different challenges to having mainstream birth children but nothing that couldn't be worked through to give a child a happy, safe life with us.

One helpline I phoned suggested that it might be a bonus as I have 'extra' parenting skills that would suit a child with emotional needs etc. I guess I just need reassuring before I venture into the unknown!

I am wondering if anyone on is in the same position, regardless of where you are in the process?

Lastly I don't feel I would be able to adopt a child with a disability or special need on my own- this isn't really an option for me.

Thanks in advance!!! Smile

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Hi art. I have an adult child with aspergers and we were approved as foster carers when he was 13. It wasnt a massive issue and we have specialised in special needs fostering and adoption and now have a long term foster child and an adopted child both with complex needs ( both pmld children ).

Obviously we are a couple so a bit different and you need to be aware that most children available for adoption have additional needs in one way or the other and often end up with various diagnoses later in childhood. Many have attachment issues that can present in challenging ways and lots seem to be eventually diagnosed with adhd and conditions on the autistic spectrum so food for thought there. However i agree that your experience of parenting your son child could well be a big advantage in the eyes of sw. You would need to be v careful when looking at matching i think in view of your existing childs needs but you seem to have a lot to offer so the best of luck with it all .

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Thanks Wizzywoo that's super helpful information. Really good to hear that a fellow SN mum had a positive experience with this process.

Def food for thought re adopted children having some need in some way.

I think I meant more that I wouldn't be able to adopt a child with more of complex disability, a child who is say at my son's level of need just due to me being on my own. Certainly worth delving deeper into looking at what needs adopted children generally have as the years go on. I would absolutely be up for the challenge and this makes me want to give a child a loving safe home even more.

Thanks again for taking the time to reply Smile

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PS Wizzywoo what an amazing family you sound xxx

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I think a key considerstion for you is that you have no gaurantees in adoption world. You could have a child with no significant issues at placement, and then things become apparent when they get to school, or when they hit the teenage years. You just don't know.

I am a single adopter, my son is 13, has ASD and a mild learning difficulty. Would I have another, I know many single adopters with more than one child, many of those with additional needs. They manage, they make it work, often work suffers and they give up.

I might consider it, but only if I did not have to work outside the home and had proper financial support.

I was at a meeting with other single adopters a few weeks ago. I was the only one with adoption allowance and DLA. They were all pretty much on their knees, trying to maintain work, homes and advocate for their kids, worrying about affording basics like school uniform, school bus fares, school dinners.

Its a tough gig. It can be done. But you need to be aware of the risks

good luck

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No not amazing at all really. Like most people on these forums i am just passionate about adoption ( and fostering ).

I love sn kids and i personally prefer to know what i am dealing with on a long term basis and that is why i made the point that you dont know what you could end up dealing with when you adopt a ( supposedly ) straightforward child !

I think i have it somewhat easier than a lot of adoptors who find themselves dealing with extremely challenging children who have been v damaged by their past experiences . I definitely take my hat off to them !

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Well you sound pretty grand to me Smile

Yes youre right, life is uncertain. I guess me and a social worker would work together to find the right child for me and my son and vice versa. A child having needs and issues (whatever they are) along the way doesn't scare me. My entire motherhood experience has been in this realm- mainstream children are pretty unknown to me if Im honest!

But going back to the original point of us being an existing SN family, I can see more and more how this is a positive. Phew!! Smile

All food for thought ladies, my brain is going like the clappers!!

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