Special Needs

(WSVN) — Making the decision to adopt is life-changing. But if that child has special needs, are you ready for those challenges? 7’s Lynn Martinez gets some expert advice in today’s Parent to Parent.

Gabriel Achoa never pictured himself as a parent.

Gabriel Achoa: “I actually never thought I was going to have kids.”

But after becoming a foster parent, he fell in love with his two boys 5-year-old Elijah and 3-year-old Evan.

Elijah has cerebral palsy and little Evan’s birth mother was addicted to drugs.

Gabriel Achoa: “Evan was born exposed to methadone and the first 9 weeks of his life was actually detoxing.”

Gabriel knew having two boys with disabilities, would not be easy.

Gabriel Achoa: “I used to say anyone can do it, the truth is not anyone can do it.”

So, how do you know if you’re ready to adopt a special needs child?

Charlotte Mather-Taylor runs the Ann Storck Center, where they care for people with disabilities.

Charlotte Mather-Taylor: “When adopting a special needs child you want to look at your motivation.”

First she says ask yourself why do you want to adopt this child.

Charlotte Mather-Taylor: “It has to be because you want to give to someone else that you have a lot of love and caring in your heart and you want to give to another human being.”

Next, she says make sure you have a good support system in place.

Charlotte Mather-Taylor: “Your support system is critical in getting them the resources that they need early on so that they can thrive and do as well as possible.”

And Charlotte says you must be willing to give of yourself 100 percent.

Charlotte Mather-Taylor: “You really are sacrificing that free time you had for yourself before, because your time is going to be taken up with caring for that child.”

Gabriel admits raising two children with special needs brings new challenges, every day.

Gabriel Achoa: “You have to be the best advocate for your kid.”

But when he sees his sons making progress and the smiles on their faces, he knows he made the best decision.

Gabriel Achoa: “I’m giving back to someone, I want to better the life of a child, I think that’s the right reason.”

Lynn Martinez: Charlotte adds you must also be able to adapt to the changes your child is going through.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Ann Storck Center:
Tel: (954) 584-8000
www.annstorckcenter.org