Special Needs Adoption
There are many children available for adoption who have special needs, who have been abused or neglected, are members of a racial minority, are older or who have physical, health or emotional problems. These children need love and a safe and loving home as much as any other child and so we ask you to think about adopting a special needs child.
Definition of Special Needs Adoption
The adoption of a child with special needs usually involves a child that fits one of several categories. These special needs categories include children who:
- were prenatally exposed to drugs or alcohol and who have current or anticipated problems as a result
- have documented conditions that may lead to future problems
- have physical, mental or other health problems
- have a history of abuse or neglect
- have siblings and need to be adopted as a group
- test positive for HIV
There are literally tens of thousands of children in the U.S. who have special needs and who are waiting to be adopted. Most of these children who are available for adoption are currently in the public welfare and foster care systems. Special needs children waiting to be adopted are referred to as "waiting" or "adoptable" children and have usually spent some amount of time in foster care.
Foster care adoption offers many opportunities for a transcultural and transracial adoption as well as the adoption of a child with special needs. We suggest you contact your state child welfare agency, your State Adoption Specialist, and your state's Adoption Exchange and Photolisting website for help with foster care adoption and the adoption of a special needs child.
A child with special needs will likely qualify for state and/or federal financial adoption assistance, also called an "adoption subsidy", which is paid to adoptive families to help them defray expenses related to their child's special needs. The costs for the Home Study and other adoption fees for these children are often absorbed by the state.
Additional Help and Resources
To see how your state addresses the issue of federal and state adoption assistance visit the Child Welfare Information Gateway article State standards.
The National Adoption Center has information and online parenting courses to help U.S. citizens with adoption, particularly of children with special needs and children from minority cultures.
For a list of adoption agencies in your state and neighboring states visit the links Adoption Agencies: Domestic and Adoption Agencies: International and please visit our home page to read about our commitment to assist adoptive parents like you as well as pregnant women and birth parents.