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Adopting a Child with Serious ADHD: Challenges and Resources

DiPietro Law Group, PLLC

Parenting is never easy, but raising a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be uniquely challenging. Children with ADHD are not merely inattentive; they're impulsive and may suffer co-occuring disorders such as depression or anxiety. While biological parents often successfully predict whether they'll raise children with ADHD, anything goes in adoption. The good news? Raising an adopted child with ADHD can be deeply rewarding — and with the right strategies, not nearly as difficult as you assume.

Risk Factors

It's impossible for adoptive parents to predict whether their child will have ADHD. However, some factors indicate a greater likelihood of ADHD diagnosis. For example, experts at Parents Magazine explain that children from China, Russia, or orphanages in developing countries are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD. Other risk factors include alcohol use during pregnancy and premature birth.

ADHD Adoption Challenges

Impulsivity lies at the heart of most challenges you'll face raising a child with ADHD. Limited prefrontal cortex development can lead to ill-conceived snap decisions such as contacting a birth parent on Facebook without permission. Additionally, you'll face many of the same issues striking other parents of kids with ADHD: poor grades, struggles with socializing, and predisposition to drug use. Children with ADHD tend to be emotionally sensitive, so how you address the issue of adoption can play a huge role in their self-esteem. No matter your efforts, your child may feel rejected by his or her birth parents. Accept these feelings as valid and discuss them openly.

Acceptance of your child's unique personality is also critical; the disorder's genetic component means that non-adopted children see inattention in their parents or siblings at home. In adoptive families, however, ADHD can make already-alienated children feel even more out of place.

Resources

Take advantage of these resources as you educate yourself on the interplay of ADHD and adoption:

Don't hesitate to work with a therapist — ideally somebody familiar with the challenges of both ADHD and adoption. Additionally, seek educational accommodations; the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act mandate your child's eligibility.

No matter your adoptive child's diagnosis, you can count on DiPietro Law Group, PLLC for support. Contact our Maryland law firmat your earliest convenience to schedule a consultation with a lawyer who cares.

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