Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Let's not play favorites among Special-needs orphans

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Let's not play favorites among Special-needs orphans

    http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/lif...D6244C72DC5527
    3486256E3F00370E4F?OpenDocument&Headline=Let's+not +play+favorites+among+Sp
    ecial-needs+orphans

    Let's not play favorites among Special-needs orphans
    By Betty Cuniberti
    Post-Dispatch
    02/22/2004


    Almost 15 years ago, my husband and I filled out the saddest questionnaire we
    had ever read.

    Will you accept a child who is blind?

    Will you accept a child with a correctable visual handicap?

    A child with a facial deformity? A child born to an addicted mother? To a
    mother with AIDS? Born in a mental hospital?

    Will you accept a child missing a hand? An arm? A leg? Two?

    With a correctable heart defect? A non-correctable heart defect? With
    hepatitis? Mild retardation? Severe retardation?
    On and on, our hearts ached a little more with each question. Behind these
    dispassionate lines of little black type were very real children with no homes,
    no parents, suffering, waiting.

    What kind of world is this?

    What kind of heartless, selfish woman checks "No. No. No. No. No."

    I was weary from failed infertility treatments and a recent early cancer
    diagnosis. In our mid-30s, we were turning to international adoption because
    the wait was impossibly long - years - for a healthy American baby. I wanted no
    more medical drama, and was somewhat terrified of parenting any child. I even
    answered "No" to twins.

    A couple next to us answered, "Maybe," to twins. Two weeks later, they had two
    beautiful boys.

    We became parents of a 9-month-old, malnourished, South American girl with
    huge, laughing eyes and what we were told was a heart murmur. Her "murmur"
    turned out to be something more, a slightly tricky, narrow pulmonary valve that
    was repaired in a top American hospital.

    Had some American not adopted her, had she remained in a Third World orphanage,
    her misdiagnosed heart would have stopped beating by now. A couple years after
    we got her, we discovered she also had hearing and cognitive defects, probably
    caused by untreated meningitis. We became special-needs parents, without even
    meaning to.

    We were so, so lucky. What if we had known more about her from the outset, if
    our lists of interminable "No's" had kept her from us?

    We were also lucky we had the money for such an adoption.

    What brought all this to mind was a story last week about a Missouri audit of
    tax credits for "nonrecurring" expenses of adopting special-needs kids. Auditor
    Claire McCaskill found that 90 percent of the $2 million Missouri gives in such
    tax credits is claimed for international adoptions. This tiny drop of our state
    budget is gone on the first day it becomes available, with hundreds turned
    away.

    McCaskill said helping people adopt international children is "bad policy,"
    given that the intent of the program was to encourage adoption of the
    approximately 2,000 children in state custody, all of whom are considered
    special needs.

    Children come to be in state custody after abuse, abandonment or neglect, often
    quite a bit of it. The average age is 10. They often are in sibling groups.
    They tend to have fewer physical limitations than international special-needs
    kids, and more emotional problems.

    The problem with the current tax-credit law is not that it goes to the wrong
    children. They are all Missouri children of Missouri families. It is that there
    is not enough money for all the Missouri people willing to welcome a
    less-than-perfect child into their hearts.

    House Speaker Catherine Hanaway, who has adopted internationally, is working on
    legislation that would lift the cap. The average income of couples adopting
    through the state is $21,000 to $30,000. The Legislature should make any
    procedural changes necessary to ensure that this group of adopting parents who
    most need the money have the easiest access to it.

    Sifting through the thousands of children who need parents and selecting only a
    few is among the hardest things a human being is asked to do. We shouldn't
    categorize and pit groups of troubled orphans against each other. And we don't
    have to.


    -------------------------
    A good friend will come and bail you out of jail . . . but, a true friend will
    be sitting next to you saying, "**** . . . that was fun!"
    -----Unknown

  • #2
    Let's not play favorites among Special-needs orphans

    >Subject: Let's not play favorites among Special-needs orphans
    From: [email protected]ospam (LilMtnCbn)Date: 2/23/2004 9:47 AM Eastern Standard TimeMessage-id: <[email protected]>http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/lif...D6244C72DC55273486256E3F00370E4F?OpenDocument&Headline=Let's+not +play+favorites+among+Special-needs+orphans
    Thanks for posting this, Marla.

    Dad
    Let's not play favorites among Special-needs orphansBy Betty CunibertiPost-Dispatch02/22/2004Almost 15 years ago, my husband and I filled out the saddest questionnaire wehad ever read.Will you accept a child who is blind?Will you accept a child with a correctable visual handicap?A child with a facial deformity? A child born to an addicted mother? To amother with AIDS? Born in a mental hospital?Will you accept a child missing a hand? An arm? A leg? Two?With a correctable heart defect? A non-correctable heart defect? Withhepatitis? Mild retardation? Severe retardation?On and on, our hearts ached a little more with each question. Behind thesedispassionate lines of little black type were very real children with nohomes,no parents, suffering, waiting.What kind of world is this?What kind of heartless, selfish woman checks "No. No. No. No. No."I was weary from failed infertility treatments and a recent early cancerdiagnosis. In our mid-30s, we were turning to international adoption becausethe wait was impossibly long - years - for a healthy American baby. I wantednomore medical drama, and was somewhat terrified of parenting any child. I evenanswered "No" to twins.A couple next to us answered, "Maybe," to twins. Two weeks later, they hadtwobeautiful boys.We became parents of a 9-month-old, malnourished, South American girl withhuge, laughing eyes and what we were told was a heart murmur. Her "murmur"turned out to be something more, a slightly tricky, narrow pulmonary valvethatwas repaired in a top American hospital.Had some American not adopted her, had she remained in a Third Worldorphanage,her misdiagnosed heart would have stopped beating by now. A couple yearsafterwe got her, we discovered she also had hearing and cognitive defects,probablycaused by untreated meningitis. We became special-needs parents, without evenmeaning to.We were so, so lucky. What if we had known more about her from the outset, ifour lists of interminable "No's" had kept her from us?We were also lucky we had the money for such an adoption.What brought all this to mind was a story last week about a Missouri audit oftax credits for "nonrecurring" expenses of adopting special-needs kids.AuditorClaire McCaskill found that 90 percent of the $2 million Missouri gives insuchtax credits is claimed for international adoptions. This tiny drop of ourstatebudget is gone on the first day it becomes available, with hundreds turnedaway.McCaskill said helping people adopt international children is "bad policy,"given that the intent of the program was to encourage adoption of theapproximately 2,000 children in state custody, all of whom are consideredspecial needs.Children come to be in state custody after abuse, abandonment or neglect,oftenquite a bit of it. The average age is 10. They often are in sibling groups.They tend to have fewer physical limitations than international special-needskids, and more emotional problems.The problem with the current tax-credit law is not that it goes to the wrongchildren. They are all Missouri children of Missouri families. It is thatthereis not enough money for all the Missouri people willing to welcome aless-than-perfect child into their hearts.House Speaker Catherine Hanaway, who has adopted internationally, is workingonlegislation that would lift the cap. The average income of couples adoptingthrough the state is $21,000 to $30,000. The Legislature should make anyprocedural changes necessary to ensure that this group of adopting parentswhomost need the money have the easiest access to it.Sifting through the thousands of children who need parents and selecting onlyafew is among the hardest things a human being is asked to do. We shouldn'tcategorize and pit groups of troubled orphans against each other. And wedon'thave to.-------------------------A good friend will come and bail you out of jail . . . but, a true friendwillbe sitting next to you saying, "**** . . . that was fun!"-----Unknown

    Comment

    Working...
    X