special needs adoption

Creating a family through adoption is a joyous event. Providing a “forever home” to a child who has none is a heartfelt choice that benefits the parents and child. Choosing to adopt special needs children adds additional layers of challenges and fulfillment to the family. There are several things you can do to make this process rewarding for everyone.

1.    Determine the type of special needs your family can best support. Special needs is a broad category that includes children who:

  • Have physical or health problems
  • Are older
  • Are members of ethnic or racial minorities
  • Have a history of abuse or neglect
  • Have emotional problems
  • Have siblings and need to be adopted as a group
  • Test positive for HIV
  • Have documented conditions that may lead to future problems
  • Were prenatally exposed to drugs or alcohol

2.    Educate yourself about the short and long-term needs of the child. Some conditions may resolve over time, and others can worsen. Learn what the child will need, and plan to address those needs.
3.    Establish reasonable expectations. Some children adjust to adoption easier than others. For others, the care they need places a great physical, emotional and financial burden on the family. Be reasonable in your expectations to support your family.
4.    Build a support network. The best networks tap multiple sources, such as families, schools, churches, and community organizations. Give people specific ways they can help, and then let them do so.
5.    Access community resources. Easter Seals, Early Intervention Services, and other Special Education Programs can provide financial, attachment and educational support to special-needs children and their families.
6.    Identify and utilize community medical resources. Establish a team of physicians, nurses, therapists, and other healthcare providers to support the development of your child.
7.    Take advantage of tax deductions. For instance, you might be able to deduct special school instruction, home modifications, and attendant care.

If you are considering adoption in Minnesota, we can answer your questions and facilitate the process. Call us for a free consultation at 763-323-6555.

Adopting a child with special needs in Minnesota is like adopting any other child, with a few differences. Five things you should know about special needs adoption include:

1. “Special needs” can refer to a variety of issues – Special needs children waiting for adoption may have mental, emotional, physical, or behavioral disabilities. MN Adopt considers sibling groups in the “special needs” category, as well. Before adopting, consider the nature of these and determine whether you have the parental skills and the financial and logistical abilities to accommodate those needs.

2. Diverse factors cause challenges with child development – Special needs children may have been neglected or abused; or exposed to chemicals or drugs in prenatal development. They may have a genetic disorder. If abused, their abuse may have been emotional, sexual, psychological, or physical, or a combination of the above. Identifying the root cause of the challenges can help you and your family adapt and nurture the child effectively.

3. You may qualify for expense reimbursement from the government – In some cases, a family adopting a special needs child may be eligible to receive reimbursement for certain non-recurring expenses.

4. Waiting lists tend to be shorter – Many adopting parents don’t feel they are equipped to handle special needs. As a result, the waiting list is generally shorter for special needs children.

5. Support groups abound to help you and your family – These groups welcome adoptive parents and provide resources to help families with special needs. To find one, Google [your child’s special need] + “support group” + [your local town]  (example: “autism support group in Minneapolis”).

Are you and your family excited to open your hearts to a little boy or girl who could benefit from your love and care? Consult a family law attorney with the Brown Law Offices at 763-323-6555 for a private case consultation.