Blog// LGBT Adoptive Parents

Adoption and Addiction

It’s estimated that every 20 minutes, a baby is born with a drug addiction. Fortunately, the vast majority of those children are separated from their drug addicted parents and available for adoption. This provides disadvantaged babies with a fresh opportunity at life. Unfortunately, children born with drug addiction have a long road to recovery. Much like adults, they experience the same excruciating withdrawal symptoms. These can begin to show in as little as a day after birth. 


When these children are placed with their new family, it is now the responsibility of the adoptive parents to wean their child off of these drugs. This is no easy task, especially when they’re recovering from hard drugs like opioids or heroin. 


This leaves many parents considering adoption concerned for their decision. They may wonder, should they even pursue adoption if the child they’re given is addicted to drugs. If they do follow through, how are they going to get their baby clean?


If you’re considering adoption, don’t feel ashamed if you’ve thought about this. Making the decision to adopt, especially a child addicted to drugs or suffering from hepatitis, is serious. You want to make sure you have the right information and the tools needed to conquer this challenge. To help you make this decision, we’ll explain how babies are weaned off of hard drugs, how to care for them during the withdrawal period and the long-term effects of infant addiction.


How Are Babies Weaned From Drugs?

Methadone is a replacement drug given to addicts to help them break their addiction while lessening the effects of withdrawal. Several pregnant women trying to break their heroin or opioid addiction are prescribed small amounts of this drug. This, in turn, exposes the baby to methadone, making them reliant on this alternative. 


While the debate on whether or not babies should take this replacement drug is still up in the air, several medical professionals administer this to addicted infants with little-to-no side effects. Since each case varies from child to child, it’s best to consult with your healthcare provider to determine the best plan of care. 


How to Care for Them During the Withdrawal Period? 

If you and your healthcare provider choose to treat your child’s addiction with methadone, they’ll provide a schedule of appointments to administer the drug. Often times, they’re kept in a special care nursery during this time for 24/7 monitoring. If you’re allowed to take the baby home, it’s best to keep the child as comfortable as possible. The withdrawal period may be challenging, however, with a patient mind and a willing attitude, you’ll get through it.


Should You Adopt a Child Addicted to Drugs?

The long-term effects of drug addiction is children varies. Some may experience developmental delays while others show no signs of past addiction. That is unfortunately the risk you take as adoptive parents. Therefore, think carefully about if you’re willing to put the time, patience and effort into caring for a child with addiction. This will help you make the best decision for you and your family. 

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