All children and adolescents experience stressful events which can affect them both emotionally and physically. Their reactions to stress are usually brief, and they recover without further problems. A child or adolescent who experiences a catastrophic event, or events that cause intense fear, helplessness, or horror, may develop ongoing difficulties known as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The stressful or traumatic event involves a situation in which someone’s life has been threatened or severe injury has occurred.
Special needs database
AFABC has prepared this special needs supplement on trauma because, whether we like it or not, trauma is inextricably linked to adoption. Of course, not all children who join their families through adoption have experienced trauma, but many have.
This information applies to any individual who is functionally dependent on others in some specific areas, and who does not learn from correction, or who does not “get” why people are distressed with their behavior.
Parents, teachers and support persons of individuals with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) are sometimes faced with episodes of extreme behavior. The first instinct we all follow is to use “common sense” methods for controlling the disruptive behavior of any child.
The parents of biological children know their child’s prenatal history and most of what we might call their medical inheritance. Adoptive parents, even those who adopt “healthy newborns,” usually have far less information. They must take a leap of faith that all will be well and, that if the child has unexpected disabilities or challenges, that they will adapt and cope.
Our adoption story started in the fall of 1984 when I experienced a near fatal health emergency as a result of a genetic illness. My wife and I decided not to have biological children, as there was a strong possibility that my illness would be passed onto our children. We were aware of adoption, but never considered it seriously — we’d heard that it could take years and years.
Attachment theory and children in care
- Work with informed professionals in adoption agencies that the community regards as offering quality adoption services.
- Take the time to explore your own feelings about substance abuse in general and your experiences with substance abuse—in your own personal background, with family and friends, and in the work place.
- Take the time to explore your own feelings
Why did you adopt special needs children?
At the time we had three birth children who were boys and we wanted to experience raising daughters. We had fostered special needs children for many years and felt we were able to meet the challenges that come with parenting special needs children.
How long did it take?