For families that are adopting, everything is BIG. The members of the family have big hearts and big dreams, but they also have big questions, realizing that there are big unknowns. At the University of Chicago Adoption Center we do what we can to make big questions and concerns a little bit smaller. As we saw special needs adoptions increase, we knew that more families would have big questions that return big search results when googled on the internet. To help, we created a series of videos to quickly and succinctly answer parents’ questions about some of the most common special needs we see in our clinic. These videos provide a wealth of information to parents in about ten minutes and give families insight into what it would mean to adopt a child with this special need.
Parents with more questions about a child’s needs can speak with one of our providers during a pre-adoption consultation. These consultations are available for families anywhere in the country. Our providers schedule a one-hour phone conversation and start by asking to hear the families’ big questions. What information stands out most to them? What are their biggest worries and concerns? Dr. Larry Gray or Linda Walsh, NP, interpret the information they see and explain it in a way that is easy to understand. They acknowledge the unknowns but try to make them a little bit smaller by exploring various possibilities and explaining what they will want to look for if the child is to come home to the family.
Families generally come to our clinic for a post-adoption evaluation after about a week of being home. They have had time to rest up and have begun to create a regular schedule. A different set of big questions has begun to develop by this time. Where should our child sleep and how should we respond to him during the night? How often should she eat and how much? Is his vaccination record accurate? Parents have long lists of questions, and, as providers, we have a series of evaluations that we want to perform. At the Adoption Center, we believe that answering all of the family’s questions and completing all of our work is too much to accomplish in one visit. We recommend that families see us once a week for four weeks and then again in six months to complete our work together.
In adoption, hearts and dreams should be big. Worries and concerns shouldn’t and, at the University of Chicago Adoption Center, we do what we can to help.
You can also watch the University of Chicago Adoption Center video library here.