All adopted people, whether adopted as infants or older children, through voluntary relinquishment, from foster care, or through intercountry adoption, suffer losses. Some children have more losses than others (e.g., children adopted from foster care may lose multiple families; children adopted internationally may have the additional loss of language, country of origin, and culture). It is important to be informed of potential challenges and know which challenges your family is prepared to face. This section contains resources about some of the parenting challenges you may face with adopted children and youth. Note: The term "special needs" has a unique meaning in adoption that is different from how this term is used in education or health care. Although the term "special needs" can refer to children with disabilities, many healthy children without disabilities who are in foster care meet their State's definition of having "special needs," which qualifies them to receive subsidy.
Parenting Adopted Children With Challenging Behavior
Creating a Family
Offers information about parenting a child with challenging behavior, including behavior issues that may result from experiencing abuse, neglect, other trauma, or prenatal exposure to substance use. This webpage includes blogs and suggested books on the topic.
Prenatal Exposure to Alcohol or Drugs
Creating a Family
Offers information on the effects of prenatal alcohol and drug exposure and how to parent a child who has experienced this type of exposure. This web section also provides interviews with adoption professionals and adoptive parents, factsheets, suggested blogs, and other resources.
Resources for Families and Caregivers
National Child Traumatic Stress Network
Offers resources to help families learn about child traumatic stress, a child's healthy development, and ways to seek help.
Suggested Pre-Placement and Time-of-Placement Questions (PDF - 86 KB)
Iowa Foster and Adoptive Parents Association (2007)
Lists questions foster parents should ask before agreeing to the placement of a child in their home in order to determine if the placement will be a good fit.
When the Bonding Cycle Is Broken
Illustrates the bonding cycle and the impact of its disruption.