How do You Adopt a Special Needs Child?There are several routes that you can take when trying to adopt a special needs child. These include:
- Independent Adoption: In which you use your own contacts and an adoption lawyer to finalize the adoption.
- Agency Adoption: In which you use a public or private adoption agency to help match you with a child.
Agency adoptions are typically the most popular when it comes to adopting a child with special needs. Adoption agencies are licensed and must follow strict standards and procedures. They can also advise you on appropriate legal procedures and on the medical background of your adopted child. Public agencies are typically run by state or federal government agencies, while private agencies are licensed bodies that operate on a profit or non-profit basis.
What Information Do You Need?If you are adopting a special needs child, it is important that you receive as much information as possible about her medical and personal history. Your adoption agency should provide you with a complete medical background as well as information regarding your child’s birth and family history. If you are adopting an infant, be sure to get specific information regarding:
- gestational development at birth
- mother’s medical history
- development since birth
If you are adopting an older child, it is important to ask about their personal and family history, including any incidences of drug abuse, sexual or physical abuse, or emotional abuse.
Costs of Adopting a Special Needs ChildMost special needs adoptions are free of charge or very inexpensive. Government agencies often waive legal and court fees, while private agencies may only ask for a nominal payment. Your state or country may also allow you monthly or yearly benefits to help you to support an adoptive child with special needs. In the United States, adoption assistance benefits are available monthly and are tailored to your child’s needs. They are not taxable and are not linked with your income.
Deciding on Special Needs AdoptionAs with any type of adoption, special needs adoption is not something to rush into. Special needs children often require extra medical attention, behavioral therapies, or emotional assistance. If you are unwilling or unable to provide this, then special needs adoption may not be right for you. Be sure to assess:
- the stability of your family
- your finance income
- your physical and emotional health
By taking these factors into account, you will be able to ensure that you have a successful adoption experience.