April 22, 2024

Children with Moderate to Severe Special or Medical Needs


Nightlight believes that every child deserves a loving and permanent family, regardless of their age, gender, ethnicity or health status.  Over the last twenty years, the landscape of adoption has changed.  While many families are hoping to adopt a healthy infant, the focus now by agencies and governments, is on adopting older children, sibling groups and/or children with significant medical or special needs. The children included in these categories is where the need is desperate for adoptive families.   Even if a child is considered healthy at the time of adoption, this does not negate the possibility of a health condition becoming known later after the child is brought into your family. All adoptions are special, but those families choosing a special needs child are taking an extra leap of faith. It’s a risk, but one that can offer many rewards, including providing a forever, loving and permanent family to a child in need of medical treatment that may not be offered in their birth country (if you are adopting internationally) or even being adopted at all.  Children with moderate to significant medical needs are termed hard to place because many families will not consider these children in their adoption plan. Sadly, a child with special or medical needs can be categorized and statistically have a much smaller chance of finding a forever family. While the prospect of adopting a child with a medical need can seem daunting and scary, adopting a child with a need can also bring joy and fulfillment to your family.

The idea of adopting and parenting a special needs child can seem overwhelming on the surface, and while not something to be taken, lightly the reality may be different from what you would assume or imagine. Overcoming challenges of adopting a child with medical needs means preparing and educating yourself and your family on such things as how to care for the child’s needs.  Things to do and consider include:

  • What supports (community, family & friends) do you have?
  • Are there support groups nearby?
  • Do you have a church community willing to assist you?
  • Investigate insurance coverage of the medical condition.
  • Is there a medical professional and facility able to treat the medical condition need near you?

Things you should do to prepare:

  • Consult with a physician who specializes in adoption and/or the medical need.
  • Educating yourself and your spouse on the medical condition and treatments needed.
  • Speak to another family who has adopted a child with a significant medical need for insights.

We hope that some of the stigmas and misconceptions about adopting a child with medical needs can be dismissed so that you and your family are able to clearly see if this is the right path for you. Adopting a child with a medical need means this child finally has a permanent and loving family and quite possibly will receive the medical treatment that is needed and not available to them. In an effort to advocate for these children, Nightlight invites you to view our waiting children on the Adoption Bridge website.

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