What Are Special Needs?

Driver DS 2 OPTIt’s time to readjust what many families think it means to adopt a child with special needs! What many adoptive parents don’t realize is that special needs, or medical conditions, fall on a spectrum—a child with a medical condition could mean something as simple as a hearing or vision impairment. It can also mean Down syndrome, a difficult family history, or developmental delays. Being open to adopting a child with a medical condition does not mean you have to be open to any and all needs, you get to determine what you are open to and it’s part of a continuing conversation about what’s best for the child and your family.

The reality is, the vast majority of children waiting to be adopted have minor or correctable medical conditions—and all children tend to improve by leaps and bounds with the love of a family!

Being open to adopting a child with a medical condition means being open to embracing a child’s potential. Mild to moderate needs, which are the kinds of needs that the majority of children AGCI places have, are often correctable, do not affect a child’s cognitive abilities, are strictly physical, and do not affect a child’s life expectancy or ability to live independently. Examples of these medical conditions range from cleft lip and palate, minor heart conditions, orthopedic issues, or Hepatitis B. AGCI works closely with families to help them really refine what’s best for your family. It’s important to remember that we will never contact you for a referral for a child with needs that your family isn’t open to.

James Family 2Understanding medical needs also means understanding the range of those needs. For example, cerebral palsy is often considered a severe medical condition that many families initially do not feel equipped to handle. However, a label doesn’t recognize the range—mild CP can simply manifest as weakness in a certain area of the body. No matter what level of severity, CP isn’t degenerative; it doesn’t worsen over time.

We know this can feel overwhelming! We are here to answer any questions you may have about what adopting a child with a medical condition can look like for your family!

Begin your journey here!