Adopting A Child With Special Needs


Adopting a child with special needs can be one of the most rewarding and loving experiences of your life. Providing a child with a warm and supportive home, filled with love and care, can make all the difference in the world to their development and well-being. Perfectly healthy children are not the reality of international adoption. There are so many children with special needs that need a loving family to call their own. Research shows that developmental delays are inevitable with international adoption. Developmental delays can manifest in various ways and can impact a child’s physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development. Developmental delays may be due to trauma, institutionalization, and lack of access to early intervention services. We will explore some of the ways in which you can provide the support and love that a child with special needs  and look at just how much joy there can be in raising a child with a disability.

What is Considered A Special Need in International Adoption?

Older children (8 years and older), sibling groups, and any kind of medical, physical or developmental condition may be labeled as a special need. All these factors lead to children waiting for a very long time to be adopted domestically, and even internationally. As mentioned earlier, the definition of special needs children in international adoption varies from country to country. In some cases, it may include children that are over 8 years old or sibling groups. Sometimes special needs labels  pertain to certain medical, physical, or developmental conditions. The following are some of the medical and physical conditions that are usually categorized as special needs in international adoption:
– Correctable or treatable medical conditions like cleft palate, heart defects, hearing or vision impairments, or any other conditions that require surgery or long-term medical treatment.
– Genetic or chromosomal conditions such as Down’s Syndrome.
– Physical disabilities like limb differences, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, or muscular dystrophy.
– Developmental delays like autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, or learning disabilities

Educate Yourself

At CHI, we prioritize your education and provide valuable resources to empower you throughout your adoption journey. We work with Creating A Family to provide online training designed to satisfy pre-adoption home study requirements and educate families on different aspects of adoption. also has articles to educate parents on different special needs. One of the greatest things you can do to support your child is to educate yourself on their specific needs through researching their specific diagnosis as well as learning about any treatments or interventions that may be required. Seeking advice and guidance from support groups, social workers, or therapists who have worked with special needs children previously can also be a great resource. Connecting with other families who have adopted children with special needs may also help to gain additional insight and support. It is also important to research the country-specific requirements for adopting special needs children and the medical, emotional, and financial implications.


We highly recommend that families seeking international adoptions have their referral information reviewed by doctors experienced with international adoptions. Some doctors even also offer pre-adoption consultations and are available for assistance while the prospective adoptive parent is in the child’s country. These doctors have extensive experience in interpreting medical reports and asking follow-up questions to fully understand the child’s medical situation and provide the adoptive parents with accurate information regarding the care the child will need once they arrive home. It’s important to note that these reports may not always be completely accurate and can sometimes be proven wrong once the child is seen by a doctor in the United States. Many times, the child’s special needs can improve with proper care, nutrition, medical attention, and the love of consistent caregivers.


Grants and Financials

CHI partners with a few third-party grant agencies that have assisted many CHI families to overcome the financial barrier. One of those being Brittany’s Hope, a non-profit that provides adoption grants for parents adopting a child with special needs. Adoption costs can seem intimidating, and CHI and Brittany’s Hope never want finances to stand in the way of uniting a child with their forever family. Brittany’s Hope also helps to provide education and training to assure you are well informed. We also work with Lifesong for Orphans, Gift of Adoption, and Show Hope to best assist families through their adoption process. In order to be eligible you must be adopting a child with special needs.

Create a Supportive Environment

Creating a supportive environment is key to providing your child with the love and care they need. This includes providing them with a warm and nurturing home, and a stable routine that helps them to feel secure. Depending on the child you are adopting, you may also need to make some adaptations to your home to ensure that it is safe and accessible for your child. This can include installing wheelchair ramps, grab bars in the bathroom, and other modifications that can make a big difference to your child’s quality of life. Adopting a child with special needs can be challenging, and it is important to build a support network around you. This can include family and friends, as well as professionals such as therapists, doctors, and educators. By building a strong support network, you can ensure that you have the resources and support you need to handle any challenges that come your way.

Encourage Independence

As a parent of a child with special needs, it’s essential to provide them with the necessary care they require. However, it is equally important to allow them to become independent as much as possible. By providing opportunities for them to learn new skills, such as cooking or personal hygiene, you are helping them build confidence and self-esteem. Encouraging their independence may seem daunting at first, but it is a vital step towards their growth and development. Remember, providing them with independence, your child will become more self-sufficient over time, granting them an overall sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. That being said, it is also vital to celebrate your child’s achievements, no matter how big or small. Everyday victories such as making a friend or trying new food can be celebrated! Celebrating their achievements can help build their self-esteem and confidence and encourage them to continue to strive for their goals.

Adopting a child can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.
Our staff is eager to assist you and answer any questions you might have. Please contact us at or call 360-383-0623.