5 Things No One Told Me About Being A Special Needs Parent.

*Editors Note- This is a guest post by Jessica Graham. She is a mother of three kids, all of whom have been adopted and two of whom have significant special needs. Her book Beautiful Paradox: Musings, Marvelings and Strategies of a Special Needs Parent is available on Amazon and is free September 15-16, 2016.

As foster and adoptive parents, many of us are also parenting children with major special needs. Many of us are constantly looking back, before we began this journey, wishing someone would’ve told us what to expect.

child cute little girl and mother holding hand together

Being a parent to a child with medical or developmental needs is as much like being a parent to a typically developing child as it is different. Parenting is hard no matter who your kid is – and no matter who you are. Also, no matter how much you prepare, experience will be your greatest teacher.  But often for those of us who became special needs parents through adoption or foster care, there is an underlying frustrating – why didn’t someone tell me how it really is!

Who Should I Include On My Adoption Team?

5 Key Players That Enhance The Journey

*Editor’s Note- This is a guest post by Anthony Zurica, who works as an adoption attorney in New York City. Since becoming a solo practitioner in 2007, he has dedicated his practice to being a strong ally and advocate for his clients. His work and knowledge of Adoption law has made him a go to resource for both clients and his peers. Mr. Zurica is an active participant in the Adoption community throughout New York. You can visit his website here or check out his Facebook page here.

Adopting a child is a monumental decision for you and your family and it’s just the start of a long journey to bringing home your new family member. To make the process as smooth as possible, it’s vital to carefully choose your adoption team and understand the roles they’ll play.

All hands together, racial equality in team
When forming your adoption team, make sure that you fill the spots with individuals who support your wants and needs. Know ahead of time what kind of adoption you’re interested in, and be honest with yourself about your limitations. Think through race and culture differences, gender, special needs, and whether you want an open or closed adoption. Set your convictions on those issues and stick to them. It’s in the best interest of your family and your child-to-be. Once you’ve made those decisions, choose players that will work within the parameters you’ve set.

7 Ways Adoption Costs Us Everything.

This is a guest post by Ellen Stumbo who is the founder of Disability Matters. She is a writer and speaker who focuses on sharing the real, sometimes beautiful, and sometimes ugly, aspects of faith, church, disability, parenting, and adoption. Ellen’s writing has appeared on Focus on the Family, LifeWay, MomSense, Not Alone, Mamapedia and the Huffington Post. Ellen blogs at ellenstumbo.com,​ you can also find her on Twitter and Facebook

Looking at the fees and expenses associated with adoption can be overwhelming. How can anyone afford to adopt? The dollar sign is big, but make no mistake, that is not what adoption costs.

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Adoption costs more than money can buy, because adoption is an all or nothing choice.

Adoption costs your time.

From the moment you decide to adopt, till the day you die! It’s not only the paperwork, and the waiting. It’s not dealing with the foster care system. Not even the traveling to a foreign country and being away from family and your support system. It is a lifetime commitment to another human being whom you choose to make your very own.

I Used To Be A Good Mom.

*Editor’s Note- This is a guest post by our good friend Lisa Qualls. She is a writer, speaker, mom of 12, and the creator of Thankful Moms, where she writes about motherhood, adoption, faith, and grief. Lisa is a mom by birth and adoption. Along with her husband Russ, their adoption journey has been marked by joy as well as challenges of trauma and attachment. You can visit her blog here, and connect with her on Facebook here.

Sometimes the adoption journey can leave us questioning our ability as parents. But the trials may lead to personal growth that we never thought was possible.

Silhouette of helping hand between two climber

I was pouring a cup of coffee when my friend called. She asked if I had a minute to talk and when I answered, “Yes,” her resolve quickly faded and she began to cry. She told me about a conflict with her newly adopted son. Despite her best intentions, she was convinced she had failed to handle it well.

6 Ways To Deal With Rejection From Wounded Children.

*Editor’s note- This is a guest post from our good friend Jennie Owens. She and her husband Lynn, support foster and adoptive families through their nonprofit organization, www.foreverhomes.org. Jennie also speaks to parenting groups and leads retreats for foster and adoptive families. She provides training and one-on-one coaching services to parents through their clinic, Canyon Lakes Family Counseling, in Kennewick, WA. You can also visit her blog here.

Dealing with rejection from your child is an uphill battle. No parent wants to face this. We want to believe we can love them through their trauma. How do you successfully parent your child but deal with their rejection at the same time?

mother and teen daughter after quarrel

“WE had FUN with DAD,” hissed my daughter, as she met me at the door with an angry sneer. Her glare and belittling tone once again communicated, what seemed to be, sheer hatred of me. We had just returned from camping at the Lewis and Clark Trail State Park. My husband had secretly given me the choice of driving the nice, newer car with our three children or the old, Ford Escort carrying the smelly Newfoundland dog, whose rancid stench had come from playing in the river all weekend. I chose the dog.

One Phrase You Must Never Say To An Adoptive Mom.

and 8 reasons why!

*Editor’s Note- This is a guest post from our good friend Rachel Lewis. She is a foster mom, biological mom and adoptive mom. She started her fostering journey before enduring recurrent loss and infertility, and shares transparently about her journey to creating a family on her blog The Lewis Note. Connect with Rachel on Facebook and Instagram.

Adoptive parents are no strangers to inappropriate statements from others. But some statements that should never be uttered, regardless of the situation, or how well you know the person saying them.

Power of the sea

I’ve heard it. You’ve heard it. Maybe you’ve said it. You know someone. I know someone. Maybe you know 10 someones. And yet saying it is seriously not cool.

“As soon as you adopt, you’ll get pregnant.”

Why I’m Not Hiding The Fact That My Child Has HIV.

*Editors Note- This is a guest post from our good friend Michelle McKinney. She is an adoptive mother and blogger. She describes herself as an imperfect wife and an even more imperfect mom who decided long ago, “Why bring more kids into the world when there are so many here already who need forever homes?” She believes ALL KIDS deserve a family. Every single one. You can read her work with HIV advocacy by visiting thoughtsfrommichelleskitchen.com.

It’s a disease that comes with lots of stigmas and judgement: HIV. Even parents who’ve chosen to adopt children who are positive receive raised eyebrows. But the stigmas and judgement could not be further from the truth.

Man stands inside of old dark tunnel with shining sun

This month, my husband and I celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary. This month also marks the 35th anniversary of the first reported cases of AIDS in our country. I never in a million years thought I would care 17 years ago. But I do.

8 Ways To Help A Struggling Family.

*Editor’s Note- This is a guest post by our good friend Lisa Qualls. She is a writer, speaker, mom of 12, and the creator of Thankful Moms, where she writes about motherhood, adoption, faith, and grief. Lisa is a mom by birth and adoption. Along with her husband Russ, their adoption journey has been marked by joy as well as challenges of trauma and attachment. You can visit her blog here, and connect with her on Facebook here.

Even through our own difficult life circumstances, we often have the ability to help others who are struggling on this journey. But where do you begin, and how do you know what to do for someone in great need?

Female medicine doctor reassuring her patient

Last week I heard from a woman whose friend adopted a child and the family is struggling. Her heartfelt note asked what she could do to help. She wrote, “The mom looks sad and frustrated all of the time.”

She closed her email with, “What can I do to help? What can our church family do to help?”Let me offer a few thoughts…