Adopting a child with disabilities is life changing, and there are many things to consider beforehand. By doing research and preparing, prospective adoptive families can make a more informed decision, learn how to navigate the adoption process, and be ready to provide a stable and loving home.
Thousands of children and youth are waiting in foster care to be adopted. Children in foster care have been removed from their families for a variety of reasons, including abuse or neglect, and they may have experienced trauma as a result. Many of the children who wait the longest to join a new family have disabilities, which may involve mental, physical and/or behavioral challenges. Children who are adopted from the foster care system are also at greater risk for developing learning, emotional, behavioral, or physical disabilities in the future.
Many children adopted internationally also have special needs or disabilities. These adoptions may involve medically correctable conditions, chronic medical conditions, physical disabilities, or other factors. If you’re interested in learning more about adopting a child with disabilities, use the following resources.
Adopting a Child With Special Needs
Special Needs Alliance
Discusses the process of adopting a child with special needs and things for parents to consider relating to choosing an agency, adoption assistance programs, international adoption, and more.
Adopting a Child With Down Syndrome From Foster Care
Presents information on adopting a child with Down syndrome, the most common chromosomal issue diagnosed in the United States. The blog post describes how adopting a special needs child can affect the family, gives information on the home study process, and links to additional resources and communities for support.
Adopting a Special Needs Child From Foster Care
Describes the adoption of special needs children from foster care, which includes children with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities.
Adoption of Children With Special Needs
Summarizes the adoption process for children with special needs, including disabilities, and presents an overview of the steps involved. The webpage also links to information and support services for parents.
Resources Especially for Foster or Adoptive Families
Center for Parent Information and Resources
Offers information for parents who have adopted children with disabilities and lists fact sheets on commonly occurring disabilities in the United States. The webpage also provides links to organizations focused on adoption and foster parenting and disability support groups.
Special Needs Adoption
Creating a Family
Presents information on adopting children with special needs through domestic infant adoption, foster care adoption, and international adoption. The webpage also links to resources relating to parenting special needs children, risk factors in international adoption, and more.
Special Needs in Children
Presents information for parents considering adopting a child with a medical or developmental disability. The webpage offers a listing of special needs in children along the left side of the page that parents can use to learn more.