Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Jojo's 1st year. There are some things you need to know....

Jojo had an amazing year!

We have said time and again that we can't remember a time when he was not a part of our family. He just fits and we are all so in love with him!

Expecting a baby with Down syndrome? 

One of the biggest challenges of having a baby with Down syndrome is working with them to meet their milestones. Things that "typical" babies do naturally don't happen as easily for our babies. We have to work for them. So, for those expecting a baby with Down syndrome, or thinking of adopting, I thought I would share some of Jojo's first year milestones with you.

9 weeks- rolls over
3 months-bringing hands to mid line
4 months-ate first solid food and started sleeping through the night
6 months- started sitting up in a propped position and learned to hold his own bottle
7 months- sitting up without being propped
10 months- started pulling up
10 1/2 month- finally figured out how to crawl!
1 year- army crawling all over the house!

Of course those are just the broad strokes, and every baby is different, but you may notice that he really isn't behind at all! That is because we go to therapy twice a week, and work on his goals at home. Another contributing factor is that he hasn't had any major health problems, which does set many babies back.

Considering adopting a child with special needs domestically?

These are the things "they" don't tell you.

They may not sound like a big deal to some people, but to me they were HUGE so I wanted to share just in case it could help someone else.

I was actually in the process of finishing my foster care licensing when I got chosen to be Jojo's mom. I had only 2 months to get my home study done, lots of paperwork filled out, and lots of money raised! So I really didn't have time to ask a lot of questions. But, if I had been in a position where I was considering adopting a child with special needs from the US, these are the things I would have wanted someone to tell me:

-If you are a foster parent to a child, and that child cannot be re-united with family, you can adopt them. And it is FREE. Free. (this goes for non special needs kids too)

-When you adopt a child with any special need (emotional, behavioral, physical etc) from the US, you qualify for an adoption subsidy from your State. You can learn more about what your state offers here. Let me be clear, this amount of money will not make you rich lol but it is helpful when paying for therapies etc.

-Adopted children who have special needs and many kids who are adopted from foster care get FREE insurance. Like as in I pay nothing for Jojo's health care. Free.

*Disclaimer: this is clearly not an exhaustive list of all the things you should know. I am also NOT suggesting that these things should motivate anyone to pursue adopting a child with special needs. That would be cray. No representation is made that the quality of adoption advice by me is better than the quality of adoption advice from others. Some exclusions may apply. Tax, title and tag not included. 

This I know to be true: Jojo has forever changed us all. He blesses people in ways I would have never imagined. People tell me ALL THE TIME that just seeing pictures of him makes their day. He it truly a blessing to many!!

This kid is one of the best things that has ever happened to me.

If you are considering adoption or just want to have your day made, watch this video. It will shed some light on what "special needs" REALLY means when it comes to adoption! I am proud to have had a part in making it, my kids are in it, and Aidan is the narrator!



Project Hopeful: Adoption is Redemption from Lantern Vision on Vimeo.