Moms of Special Needs, Adoptive, or Foster Children


Hi moms!  I’m working on my first book, which will be (of course) for Catholic Moms.  The chapter I’m writing this week is specifically aimed at nurturing and supporting mothers who have either adopted, fostered, or have special needs children. 

I would love your insights on what types of things moms in these situations can and should do to nurture themselves and their families, both through prayer but also just common sense types of things.  If you would be willing to share your advice and insights, I would love to hear from you!  What would you say to a mom facing these types of situations – either one who has adopted or moms who are raising children with illness or disability?

I’d truly appreciate your help and insights – if you prefer to comment off the site, feel free to email me at – Thanks, in advance, for any words of wisdom you can share!


About Author

Lisa M. Hendey is the founder and editor of and the bestselling author of the Chime Travelers children's fiction series, The Grace of Yes, The Handbook for Catholic Moms and A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms. As a board member and frequent host on KNXT Catholic Television, Lisa has produced and hosted multiple programs and has appeared on EWTN and CatholicTV. Hendey hosted “Catholic Moments” on Radio Maria and is the technology contributor for EWTN’s SonRise Morning Show. Lisa's articles have appeared in Catholic Digest, National Catholic Register, and Our Sunday Visitor. Hendey travels internationally giving workshops on faith, family, and Catholic technology and communications topics. She was selected as an Elizabeth Egan Journalism Fellow, attended the Vatican Bloggers Meeting, the “Bishops and Bloggers” meeting and has written internationally on the work of Catholic Relief Services and Unbound. Hendey lives with her family in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Visit Lisa at for information on her speaking schedule or to invite her to visit your group, parish or organization.


  1. Tara Patterson on

    Hi Lisa,
    My name is Tara Patterson, I have four biological sons ages-10,7,5,and 2. For the last ten months our family has been fostering a beautiful baby girl. I am so glad you are thinking of bringing attention to this special calling. Some called us crazy when we decided to bring this drug exposed, premature baby into our already busy life. We had no choice because God was calling us to it! We knew that there are more than half a million foster children in this country and that so many are needing loving famlies to care for them. We knew that God asks us to use our gifts, and give what we can to others. The love of a family is somthing we had to give. It certainly is not always easy, but loving this girl has been one of the most important journies our family has taken on so far. Falling in love with her was the easy part. The hard part is being so attached to her and not knowing if she will stay another week or forever. I feel that even though she may leave, we have all been so blessed to learn a real, tangilble lesson about loving someone in the moment ,because truthfully we never know how much time we will have with those whom are so precious to us, This has been a true opportunity for my husband and I to teach our boys about sacrificial love, the kind God has for us. I have constantly asked our lady to please stay with us every step of the way, and of course, she has. I would encourage anyone who thinks God is whispering to them about these children, to please look into it. Blessings await!

  2. Tara – you are truly an angel! Thank you so much for your heartfelt response to my plea for information. May I email with a follow up question or two? Thanks! Lisa

  3. When my son was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, I really didn’t know what it was so I educated myself all about it. It helped me come to terms with his life long disability and what I should do as a parent. As they say, “Knowledge is power” and knowing how to help your special needs child allows you to feel more in control of the situation and lets you know that there is hope. Find local support groups to talk and learn from others on how they cope with having a child with special needs. Meeting others like yourself enables you to feel that you are not alone and that there are people who can help. Remember to take time for yourself and allow yourself mistakes in dealing with your special needs child. No one is perfect and having a special needs child does not come with a manual on how to best help your child. Having a child with special needs is a life long battle that parents will have to deal with from day to day. Recognizing that there is no way to anticipate the unexpected you should just take one day at a time and pray for guidance and understanding.

    So how does one nurture and support a mother of a special needs child? Be open minded and think what would Jesus want you to do?

    You may not come in contact with many special needs children, but some may come to your church or want to. Is your church a welcoming place for them?

    Jesus said, “Let the children come to me.” What does that mean? It means all children are loved by Jesus and that they are welcome. Ask yourself; are special needs children and their families welcome at your church? It is a hard question to contemplate and can be very troublesome to most. Children with special needs and their families want to come to church, but many feel that they will not be welcomed and that there are no religious education classes that are available.

    Jesus also said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” What does this mean? It means we should treat others the same way you want them to treat you. That is easier said than done. Do you respect everyone and treat them kindly at all times? During our daily contact with others we can show compassion and generosity by treating them with respect and courtesy. This dignified and respectable behavior that we give to others is part of what Jesus was talking about. Try your best to treat others as you would like to be treated and you will find that it will help you so much in everyday life with getting a long with others. This also goes for children with special needs and their family. We need to show them compassion and generosity and treat them with respect and courtesy.

    Jesus also said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Who is my neighbor, who I am to love? Who isn’t my neighbor? Everyone is your neighbor. Your neighbor lives next door, the person you go to school or work with, the person who lives far away, even someone you don’t know. “Love your neighbor as if he was you” means to look at someone and realize that you are just like them, vulnerable, and different. We are all different and God loves each and every one of us and we should love others too because they are just like us.

    So is your church a welcoming place for families whose children have special needs? It can and should be. All it takes is a little love and understanding from all for it to happen.

  4. Laura,
    thanks so much for taking the time to share all of this! It’s so helpful to have informed perspectives on this!! You’re a treasure and your family and parish are lucky to have you!

    Tara, now that I have your email, I’m going to delete your comment so that you don’t get spammed. Thanks for your willingness to share!


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