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>How Do We Prepare to Parent Kids With Disabilities?

May 22, 2011

>Dorothy wrote a classic post this afternoon, Island or Oasis…Living Openly as a Family With Hidden Disabilities.

I’m only snipping a bit of it here: “When we started adopting we were required  to read books and demonstrate our ability to be sensitive to racial diversity before our first AA child was placed with us.  Never did we have to prove our preparedness to parent a child with undiagnosed brain damage, autism, serious learning disabilities or mental health challenges – I am glad that we are where we are today – parenting kids under each of those categories – but laugh at the thought that ‘race’ was the big concern about us adopting them.”

This isn’t even her main point and I urge you to read it in context. But it resonates because my own adoption training,”With Eyes Wide Open,” (nine years ago) was all about transracial adoption. Every time we’ve renewed our home study since then, we’ve had to update our “transracial parenting plan.” But no one asked, “So what is your plan if Hope turns out to have FASD and ADHD?” According to my training, the questions in the grocery store were supposed to be about the mismatch between my girls’ eye shape and mine, not about my raging six year old or why my four year old is too floppy to sit up in a grocery cart.

So I’m thinking about resources that have opened my eyes about special-needs parenting in general. Have you read or seen or done anything you would recommend? Are there ways we can help those coming behind us do it better –or at least, with a learning curve a little  less steep?

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