Adopting a Child with Special Needs

by Disability Benefits Help Outreach Team

Adopting a child with special needs

Adopting a child requires a considerable amount of patience to see the goal of parenthood come to fruition. If you want to adopt a child with special needs, you should answer a few questions during one or more soul-searching sessions.

The questions might be tough to answer, but in the end, adopting a child with special needs is just like adopting a healthy child. The only difference is you have to overcome more challenges to enjoy more rewards.

Two Tough Questions to Answer

Two questions sit at the top of the list for parents considering to adopt a special needs child. First, what disabilities are you prepared to address on a daily basis? Taking care of a special needs child who has limited cognitive skills is much different than taking care of a kid who struggles with severe physical limitations. Second, how will you take care of the education needs of your adopted child?

Answering these two difficult questions honestly can set you up for success as parents of a special needs child.

Collect and Organize the Child’s Medical Information

The adoptive parents of a special needs child should gather and organize as much medical information as possible. Medical information is the key to addressing most issues that arise because of the unique needs of a special needs child. You have to go well beyond the medical information provided to you by the adoption agency.

Here is the medical information of your adopted special needs child that you should obtain:

  • Birth height and weight
  • The length of the gestation period
  • Family history
  • Vaccination records
  • Health and developmental issues
  • Therapeutic services required

Know Your Financial Responsibilities

Do you have the financial resources to care for a special needs child? The answer to this question involves considering many more factors than what parents consider for raising a healthy child. In addition to the daily expenses associated with raising a child, does your health insurance policy cover all of the child’s mental, physical, and/or emotional issues? For financial assistance when adopting a child, there are different tax credits and financial support options available. You should also factor in any contributions that you receive for Social Security insurance benefits.

Special needs kids can become eligible Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for disability benefits for a wide variety of disabling conditions such as speech, hearing, and/or vision impairments. Permanent systemic medical conditions like Down Syndrome also qualify the parents of special needs children for financial assistance. Genetic conditions and developmental disabilities require the submission of persuasive evidence that the SSA takes into consideration when reviewing a disability benefits claim for a special needs child. You can complete an application for your child online, over the phone or at your local SSA office.

Get Accustomed to Spending Time with a Special Needs Child

One of the most important tips for parents adopting a special needs child is about familiarity. Are you ready to handle the stress that is associated with raising a kid who has special needs? The best way to answer this question is to spend time with children that have similar special needs. For example, if you want to adopt a child who is recovering from cancer, spending time with one or more children recovering from cancer can give you keen insight into what the child you want to adopt needs to adjust for in a new home.

You will probably feel overwhelmed at times raising a child who requires focused daily attention. Parents can limit the moments when they feel the most vulnerable by preparing to be adoptive parents long before taking in a special needs child.