If your family is open to adopting a child who has special needs, you must prepare to provide the education, medical care, and emotional and social support to help him or her thrive. The Special Needs Alliance reports that approximately 134,000 children who have special needs, most commonly developmental disabilities, are available for adoption in the United States.
Review these key considerations when preparing to adopt a child who has special educational, medical or developmental needs.
Your family may qualify for state adoption subsidies if you adopt a child who has special needs. North Carolina offers this program for parents who adopt a child who has a physical disability, psychiatric condition, emotional or behavioral condition, or cognitive disability.
Possible medical conditions
Many adoption agencies use a medical condition checklist when families determine whether they are open to adopting a child who has special needs. Before completing this type of document, carefully consider your capabilities in caring for a child who needs this type of support. When you decide what types of conditions are within your parenting abilities, you can prepare specifically to parent a child who has those specific challenges.
Your preparation process should include research about support groups and resources in your area for parents who have children with special needs. You will need to develop relationships with doctors, therapists, teachers and others who will become part of your child’s care team. You will also need to rely on a close circle of family members, friends and other parents, whether in-person or online.
Thinking about these and other aspects of special needs care can help your family make an informed adoption decision.