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Reece's Rainbow- International adoption of children with disabilities

(37 Posts)
DennyDifferent Sun 23-Nov-14 10:09:58

Reece's Rainbow is an American charity that raises money to help people adopt children with Down Syndrome and other disabilties from Eastern Europe and other areas of the world. In some of the countries the children will age out at 9 and end up in adult "asylums" reading about this has really affected me. My husband and I have wanted to adopt a child with DS for a long time.

Could anyone tell me is it possible to adopt a child from abroad who has a disability such as Down's and may have related health issues such as a heart condition? I know some people on here have adopted from abroad and it could be said that all adopted children have additional needs of one sort or another but I guess Downs is a more visible and "obvious".

Really struggling to find anything on Google, so even just some help with how to phrase my search to help me find some info on my own would be ace!


Lilka Sun 23-Nov-14 14:21:07

Hi and welcome smile

You can, yes. There are several countries that might be possibilities for you, which all have different criteria for couples, different children available and different adoption processes. So if you meet the adoption criteria here (you have to be approved by British social services for interncountry adoption before your papers are sent abroad), you need to work out which country you would like and qualify to adopt from.

Most of the information on the web is geared towards Americans adopting, but obviously the process will work differently for you here. I would start with the Intercountry Adoption Centre, and ink{\]]/} as well.

Foreign countries will set the same requirements for adopting parents whichever country they are from, so some US based sites will help you work out which countries you qualify for.

When it comes to additional needs, remember that if you adopt a child with these physical special needs who has been in an orphanage for years, you are almost certainly also going to be parenting a child with emotional special needs as well. They are very likely to have difficulties forming secure relationships, may have sensory, social, and/or behavioural issues etc. It's important to research those just as much as DS/heart conditions.

I do completely understand your desire. I chose to adopt two older children (domestically) with emotional and behavioural special needs, and despite how very difficult it's been, I don't regret it at all and there's been plenty of happiness as well. I read a blog of a mum who adopted a girl with DS who had been neglected so appallingly she weighed only 10lb at 9 years old and I'm glad she was adopted. But it's important to go into adoption eyes wide open, and Reece's Rainbow romanticise it IMHO. Also it's illegal in some countries to photolist the children, yet RR are quite happily flouting their laws. However it's a bit irrelevent over here since the process will work differently

And I wish you the best of luck smile

DennyDifferent Sun 23-Nov-14 14:34:18

Thank you very much! I really appreciate the info!

We fostered children with learning disabilities on a respite basis and have had lots of training on attachment, the biggest eye opener for me was that the disability doesn't protect them from issues around attachment! I was extremely naive but did learn the hard way through our placements! I also teach at a special school and we are lucky enough to have an SLT who have bought into some bespoke training from Kate Cairns, so I think I at least know enough to realise how little I know at this point, if that makes sense!?!

I do agree that RR definitely romanticize the process and the reality of what life will be like when children are home. I just hope the home study process prepares prospective adopters enough to see past that. I too follow the blog of a mum matching that description. Its gut wrenching. Most of the children moved to the adult facilities don't see their next birthday.

Thanks again!

lougle Sun 23-Nov-14 14:39:32

There are lots of children with disabilities in this country who need adoption.

DennyDifferent Sun 23-Nov-14 14:55:05

And domestic may very well be the route we take, but the fate of children who are not adopted in some countries is utterly horrifying.

Lilka Sun 23-Nov-14 15:59:31

Sorry I had a linking fail there - meant to link you to OASIS, their website is here

I'm glad to hear you have some experience with special needs, that will definitely stand you in good stead, and yes it makes complete sense! It's a surprisingly common belief, that physical disability is somehow a protection against attachment issues, but nothing coul be further from the truth, but obviously you know that. The image of children with DS as all being happy and joyful most of the time doesn't help either, again, not the truth especially when you have neglect and abuse in the mix as well.

I'm afraid I can't really give a lot of help about thr international adoption process beyond the very basics, because I haven't got any experience of it, but I hope one of our intl adopters will be along soon smile

Kewcumber Sun 23-Nov-14 17:57:53

There are indeed lougle, there are generally children who need adoptive parents in this country and I suspect that OP knew this hmm but undoubtedly the outcome for children not in families in some countries can be a great deal grimmer than here. I know an adopter who adopted two children with DS in this country (separately over a 3 year period). BUt Lilka is right to point out the added issues of institutional care - many countries have homes 0-4 age ranges and certainly the tend to be a great deal better than the 5-9 age homes and 9+.

Personally I don't think most children chose to be born in places that don't have a good record of caring for people with disabilities so I personally don't think we should be discriminating against those who weren't born here. Luckily the Hague COnvention agrees with me. (Obviously I'm biased as an intercountry adopter).

If you are particularly drawn to this OP then good luck to you. Adoption isn't an easy road and if it is something that you really feel drawn to do then that will help you trudge along the road. Intercountry adoption from the UK can also be quite a lonely road.

Specific programmes which are a bit more predicable would be my advice - I'm not sure what state the China special needs programme is in but that be worth asking after.

Kewcumber Sun 23-Nov-14 17:58:37

PS I went to the Kate Cairns conference in London on Friday - I'm a chewed up wreck of a woman but she is good isn;t she!

DennyDifferent Sun 23-Nov-14 20:16:14

thanks Kew, NSN at first glance looks promising. Although, there was a post from a few years ago I found in a search that said China was pretty backed up and taking years to process applications. I wonder if that is still the case.

DennyDifferent Sun 23-Nov-14 20:18:57

just realised I'm getting NSN and SN mixed up. No special needs is backed up, not Special needs which I'd what we want to pursue.

Kewcumber Sun 23-Nov-14 21:46:35

Yes thats my understanding - I have no idea what the back-log is (if any) for SN for China but the NSN backlog is about 200 years I believe. Latest reports are that you have to apply before you are born to stand a chance of being matched whilst you are still alive.

Italiangreyhound Sun 23-Nov-14 23:01:11

DennyDifferent no wisdom from me, but all the very best for whatever you decide to do.

KristinaM Mon 24-Nov-14 22:59:11

Hi Denny

You will want to check that you meet the general requirements for adopting from China. These are quite specific on age, marriage, health and income.

DennyDifferent Tue 25-Nov-14 19:03:20

Thanks all!

Italiangreyhound Tue 25-Nov-14 21:10:08

Please do keep us updated if you do it, it sounds very interesting and you sound very compassionate (as well as well informed).

DennyDifferent Fri 28-Nov-14 20:16:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Devora Fri 28-Nov-14 20:41:54

Good luck Denny.

Italiangreyhound Fri 28-Nov-14 23:08:57

Wow Denny how exciting. Your compassion is amazing. A lot of adopters would feel quite daunted by that, I would! Good luck with whatever happens. Adopters of faith, can you say more, please?

DennyDifferent Fri 28-Nov-14 23:36:09

I think the agency was previously affiliated with the catholic church and although it no longer officially has those ties it still recognises that being part of a faith group can be beneficial for adopters, in terms of emotional support. It is for adopters of all faiths, not just the Christian faith, although that is my personal brand ;-) I'm not 100% sure what it will all be about but I will report back tomorrow!

Italiangreyhound Fri 28-Nov-14 23:40:05

Great. Enjoy. wink

definitelynotaweirdstalker Sat 29-Nov-14 17:13:08

umm. fairly sure you should not be posting such identifying information about children from BMP on an open forum....

DennyDifferent Sat 29-Nov-14 17:22:36

Reported my post, thanks.

DennyDifferent Sat 29-Nov-14 17:24:45

Although both children were on a This Morning feature a couple of weeks ago, with all of that info plus their names made public too, I think that made me think it was already out there in the public domain. But you cant be too careful so hopefully post will be pulled.

Italiangreyhound Sat 29-Nov-14 20:12:30

It's on the be my parent website, which anyone can access. But it is best to be cautious because if you did adopt one, and wanted to continue posting under your current name here, then your child would be identifiable (if you see what I mean).

definitelynotaweirdstalker Sat 29-Nov-14 22:21:08

and as it's just common courtesy to extend the kind of basic privacy we demand for ourselves to others? and mn is far less private than BMP?

and just maybe we could go a step further and say that it's not very nice to reduce children to an ethnicity and a medical condition?

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