If you are considering Special Needs Adoption, there are a lot of things you need to learn. You must do a lot of research and a lot of soul searching. The term Special Needs Adoption means that you will most likely be adopting an older child, a sibling group, or a child with physical and or mental disabilities. I personally am in the process of adopting three "special needs" children. Two of them form a sibling group and the third is a 15yr old.
- Research the different types of adoption. Domestic adoption means that you will most likely work with a private agency that handles the adoptions of infants for money. There is usually quite a waiting list and a substantial cost. International Adoption is the adoption of a child or children from outside the United States. Special Needs adoptions are at little or no cost to the adoptive parents.
- Contact your local Department for Community Based Services. They should have an information packet that they can email or mail to you.
- Attend a MAPP (Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting) training course. In the state of Kentucky, the MAPP training lasts 10 weeks. During this training you can decide whether or not you want to become a foster/adoptive home or just an adoptive or foster home. There is a lot of paperwork involved.
- At the end of the MAPP training, you will be assigned an R&C Case Worker. This worker will come to inspect your home. He or she may request additional documents at this time. If you have attended the MAPP trainings you will have already received a list of the required documents.
- Once your training is complete, the R&C worker will do a second home visit. At this time they will inform you as to whether or not you will be approved as an adoptive home.
- Once you are approved, the R&C worker will match you with one or more children based upon your individual preferences.
- After you accept a match, the child will be placed in your home on a trial basis.
- Once the trial period is over, you will then sign a form stating your intent to adopt. At this time, all financial reimbursement must be discussed. Most states offer medical coverage, financial support and a college scholarship to special needs children. Most states also offer reimbursement of any costs obtained during the adoption process, such as attorney's fees.
- Obtain an adoption attorney. The attorney will work with the court system to set a date for the adoption.
- You will then go to court. During the court hearing, all aspects of the adoption will be discussed including the child's name change. If you are adopting an older child, they may not want to change their name.
- And last but not least, the child or children will be accepted as a legal member of your family. This means you will incur all debts and responsibilities for the child or children. They will be your legal responsibility.
Special Needs Adoption is a very rewarding experience. Most of the children that are available have faced many trials in their young lives. An open heart and a lot of patience is needed. I wish anyone who is considering Adoption a lot of luck.