US families are adopting children with Down Syndrome from China
Like any other children, they just need a loving family to take care of them
Dealing with children with Down Syndrome is an intimidating task to take on; they require special needs and necessitates constant attention throughout their lives. More so if you want to adopt them and raise them as your own kids.
This is the reason why in China children with Down Syndrome are labeled "unadoptable". They are simply unwilling to go to such lengths to raise a child they consider disabled. Hundreds of children with Down Syndrome in orphanages wait to be adopted, and only very few of them do.
Chinese adoption policies also stipulate that children in orphanages can only be adopted until the age of 14.
Thankfully more and more families in the United States are looking to adopt children with Down Syndrome from China.
Homes in a foreign land
This is where the Bamboo Project comes in.
It started when 38-year-old Tacoma nurse Desiree White, who has had all her life worked with children with Down Syndrome, explored the idea of adopting one herself.
“When I made the decision that I was going to adopt, I knew I had the skill set and the experience to take care of a child with special needs,” she said.
Desiree reached out to Bethany Christian Services, and through the adoption agency found a boy in Guizhou. Nine months after she saw his photo in November 2011, she knew she needed to close the gap between her and her son.
Thanks to Desiree and the Bamboo Project, around 20 children with Down Syndrome have already been adopted by families across the United States, with more waiting.
She now lives a happy life with Isaac, now five-years-old, and helps other families through the process of finding their future children.
If you're a parent raising a child with Down Syndrome, here are some important tips that will help you along the way.
- Learn all you can. Read about Down syndrome in other sections of this web site and other online sources. Ask questions of the child's pediatrician.
- Build a support system. Seek out local groups and parent network organisations for families that have a child with Down syndrome. Ask your doctor or child developmental specialist for referrals.
- Take care of yourself. Don't forget to care for the caregiver - yourself. You won't do anyone any good if you get burned out. Take regular time to do the things you love, or have a night out with friends.
- Take care of your relationships. Try to make regular adult time for you and your partner. Find a babysitter you like and trust. And don't forget your other children: make sure to keep up with their activities and try to have special one-to-one time with them as often as possible.
- Get help. If you and your partner are consistently burned out or depressed, or if you are not getting along, seek help.
*Pictured above, Desiree and Isaac; photo courtesy: Bamboo Project
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