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Choosing Adoption for a Child with Special Needs

Can You Place a Sick or Disabled Child for Adoption?

If your child has significant medical, developmental or other special needs, you may not feel prepared to provide for him or her. You might be wondering: "Can I put a sick baby up for adoption? What if my child has special needs? Can I place a special needs baby up for adoption?" The answer is, yes, you can. Call 1-800-ADOPTION now to learn more.

While most of American Adoptions’ placements are of healthy newborns and infants, we have also helped many new and expectant mothers make an adoption plan for their sick or special needs children. Know that you absolutely can place a “handicapped” child up for adoption. If you are currently wondering about “giving your disabled child up” for adoption, read on to learn more about the process of placing a special needs baby for adoption or get free information here.

You Are Not Giving Up

Before we begin, please note that the term “giving up a child” with disabilities (or without, for that matter) is adoption language that can be considered offensive. Know that in no way are you “giving up” on your child or “giving them away” by choosing adoption. Rather, you are making a completely selfless choice to ensure your baby gets all of the opportunities that he or she deserves.

This is a term that we continue to use on our website because many birth parents, adoptive parents and even adoptees use it in common adoption language, which means this is what they’re searching for online. We don’t use it lightly, nor do we believe that birth moms are “giving up.” We’re simply using the tools we have to make sure as many people as possible have access to accurate adoption information.

Also, know that the same concept applies to reference people with special needs. We may use terms like the word “handicapped” throughout this article, not because that is the correct way to write about a person with a disability, but because that is a commonly searched phrase, and it may be more likely to reach more people. Again, we’re utilizing the tools available to us to help as many people as possible.

With that in mind, read on for answers to common questions about the process of putting a sick or disabled baby up for adoption.

“Can I put a special needs baby up for adoption with American Adoptions?”

During the adoption planning process, we ask all of our waiting families to indicate the types of adoption opportunities they are interested in, including the types of needs they feel they can meet. Many of our hopeful parents are open to adopting children with a variety of special needs and could potentially work with you in the process of placing a special needs baby up for adoption.

However, in some cases where the child has very significant needs, American Adoptions may not be the best resource to make an adoption plan for him or her. If we feel that we are not the best professional to assist you in the process of placing a handicapped baby up for adoption, we will provide referrals to help you find the specialized professionals who are. 

Even if an adoption specialist determines that we are not the best professional to meet your needs, we believe that there is a home for every child. Many professionals can assist the process of putting a special needs baby up for adoption, including: 

  • National Down Syndrome Adoption Network: This is a wonderful resource for women considering “giving up” a Down syndrome baby for adoption. Their website offers detailed information about parenting a child with Down syndrome so you can consider all your options and make a loving plan for your child.

  • Special Angels Adoption: Special Angels Adoption is operated by adoptive parents raising children with special medical needs, making this organization uniquely equipped to help women through the process of putting a sick baby up for adoption (or placing a special needs baby for adoption).

  • Spence-Chapin: Spence-Chapin specializes in the process of putting a disabled baby up for adoption. They can assist prospective birth families in making an adoption plan for children with a variety of needs, including genetic and neurological disorders, rare syndromes, significant drug or alcohol exposure and more.

These specialized agencies may be a great resource for you. However, if you would like to speak with one of our adoption specialists, you can contact American Adoptions at any time.

“When you put a child up for adoption, do they have to be healthy? Can I give a sick baby up for adoption?”

If your baby has certain medical needs or conditions, you may be wondering, “Can I place a sick baby up for adoption?” The answer is yes. Adoption is always an option, no matter the health of your baby. Every mother has the right to make an adoption plan for her child if that is what she wants to do.

The process of putting a sick baby up for adoption is similar to the process of putting any special needs baby up for adoption — which, as you’ll read below, is not much different than the adoption process for any other prospective birth mother.  

“How can I put a disabled child up for adoption?”

The process of putting a disabled baby up for adoption (or the process of placing a sick baby up for adoption) is not much different than for a woman placing any other baby. You will still have the same rights, choices and access to services as any other expectant mother who works with our agency, including:

  • Control of the Adoption Process: You can determine the type of adoption experience you want for yourself and your baby. You get to choose your child’s adoptive family, what kind of relationship you have with them, and more.

  • Professional Counseling: It is important to find counseling and support services so you can receive the information and emotional support you need during and after the process of placing a disabled baby up for adoption. 

  • Free Adoption Services: All of your legal and counseling costs will be covered for you, and, depending on the laws in your state, you may also receive assistance with medical and living expenses during your pregnancy.

  • Post-Adoption Contact: You may choose to maintain a relationship with your child and the adoptive family with open or semi-open adoption. This way, you will always know that your child is safe, happy and loved.

  • A Personal Adoption Specialist: As a prospective birth mother, you will work with your licensed adoption specialist to guide you through each step of the process of placing a sick child for adoption. You’ll be able to work with the same social worker throughout your entire adoption process.

Choosing adoption for your child is rarely easy, and the process of “giving a sick baby up” for adoption will undoubtedly be one of the most difficult decisions of your life. But, with the right adoption professional, you can get the support and services you need to ensure your baby is placed with a loving family who is equipped to meet his or her needs.

“Putting my baby up for adoption was the best way I could give him everything I wanted for him. I don't feel that I actually gave him up. I feel that I have given him more,” said Kariane about her adoption experience.

If you are interested in creating an adoption plan for your child, a good place to begin may be reaching out to one of the special needs adoption agencies listed above. In some instances, American Adoptions may also be able to assist you.

To learn if American Adoptions can help you place a sick or special needs child for adoption in your unique situation, or to get more information about your other options and resources relating to the process of placing a special needs baby for adoption, you can reach a licensed adoption specialist any time at 1-800-ADOPTION.

Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. American Adoptions, Inc. provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is American Adoptions the right adoption agency choice for many birth mothers?

American Adoptions is one of the largest licensed adoption agencies in the United States. Each year, we work with thousands of women who are facing an unplanned pregnancy and offer assistance to these women. Our large, caring staff is able to assist you seven days a week and provide you with one-on-one counseling about your pregnancy and available options.

You should choose an adoption agency where you feel completely comfortable with their services and staff. With American Adoptions, you will work with an Adoption Specialist who is on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Adoption Specialist will be your advocate and will provide support and guidance as you create an adoption plan that is right for you.

How will the family tell my child about me and the adoption when my child is older?

Each family has their own style of introducing adoption to the child. When you are matched with an adoptive family, you can ask them this question. If you would like your Adoption Specialist to discuss it for you, just let her know. He or she can share your wishes or provide good ideas from other adoptive families.

You will also be able to share what you want your baby to know about you. You can complete a keepsake booklet to share hobbies, stories, photos of you and your family and a letter to your baby. The adoptive family can provide this to your child as he or she grows older. Be as creative as you like! Some birth mothers have even knitted a special blanket as a gift to their baby or given a similar symbol of their love.

The father of your baby can fill out the birth father's keepsake booklet or write a letter too. You may have other family members who would also like to share photos or a letter to the baby. This is your opportunity to pass on your and your family's love and to share your personality, history and reasons for choosing adoption. The adoptive family will treasure whatever information you provide and will share it with the baby at an appropriate age. In most adoptive homes, the word adoption is in the child's vocabulary early on, and adoption is celebrated in their lives.

Additional Resources

Teen Pregnancy - Information for Young Women

While not every woman who chooses adoption is a young mother, many are. Through adoption, many young women have found an ability to give their babies the best life possible, while finding the opportunity to realize their own dreams, as well. Call American Adoptions today at 1-800-ADOPTION.

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Adoption Glossary

Do adoption terms and phrases leave you feeling confused? Learn the meaning to key adoption words and phrases with our comprehensive adoption glossary.

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