Program helps families adopt foreign special-needs children

December 2, 2012 7:13:04 AM PST
Traditional adoptions from foreign countries, including China, can take many years, but adopting children with special needs often only takes about a year.

There are more than 2,000 Chinese children with special needs waiting for a family to love them.

A Chicago-area couple adopted four from China. One of the children is from the program with a mission to find homes for kids with disabilities.

The children of Al and Becky Cormier are active and happy.

"Hannah is 13, Rachel is 10, Abbie is 8 and David is 4 and a half, and they were all adopted from china," Becky said. "We adopted our first three girls through the traditional program-- just healthy infant girls referred to us."

"For some time, our agency Sunny Ridge has not been receiving lists of waiting children. So, when we applied for our fourth adoption:" Becky said...

Instead, the agency started receiving a list of children with special needs.

"We knew that there were a lot of boys available with clefts, and so we were very open to that and it was going to be a big switch for us," the mother said.

"Kids from foreign countries with special needs are hard to place," said Jessica Augsburger, the waiting child's program coordinator at Sunny Ridge. "The majority of families who have adopted these kids will tell us that their special need is not that big of a deal to them. It's just not defining who their child is. Their child deserved a family no matter what their health condition was."

David was adopted March 2010.

"Besides the cleft, he had some developmental delays. He had spent time in an institutionalized setting. So, he had some developmental delays associated with that and he had some speech delays learning the new language, as well as working around his cleft," said Becky.

"The first time I saw him, I saw intelligence in his eyes, but everything is special about David. He's smart, he is witty and he has high energy," father Al said.

"It's been a blessing to our daughters who have watched the process and who have met other children and adults with special needs. It's really changed the way they look at people," said Becky.

If you are interested in learning more about the China Waiting Child Program at Sunny Ridge go to www.sunnyridge.org.

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