Choosing an adoption agency, completing the Medical Conditions Checklist (MCC), assessing a special needs child’s financial needs, and addressing the child’s long-term future needs are crucial steps to adopting children with disabilities. Adoptive parents should keep in mind that children with special needs include those born with physical, mental impairments, or syndromes as well as those with a history of abuse or prenatal drug exposure.
After deciding to adopt a special needs child, the adoptive parent may choose either local or international licensed adoption agencies depending on his or her preferences. He or she should settle on a reputable adoption agency that provides long-term, effective communication. The agency should be transparent in the entire adoption process and offer pre-adoption training to the adoptive parent.
Once the adoptive parent has settled on an adoption agency, he or she must fill the Medical Conditions Checklist (MCC). MCC contains a list of physical disabilities, mental disorders, and many other special needs. This informs the agency what medical special needs in a child the adoptive parent prefers. When filling the MCC, the adoptive parent must be honest with himself or herself in what special needs he or she is comfortable with the child he or she is seeking to adopt.
Spending time with children with disabilities can help the adoptive parents prepare themselves to adopt a child with a disability. Finding parents with special needs children offers the best chance to learn what it entails to care for a child with special needs every day. The parents could either have adopted the special needs child or have a child who acquired a disability after an accident.
The adoptive parent should weigh carefully if he or she can meet the financial needs occasioned by adopting a special needs child and whether he or she would need assistance. The parent should also check whether his or her insurance policy covers all the child’s physical issues, pre-existing conditions, and required therapies.
Children with special needs may qualify for adoption assistance that is paid to the adoptive family to aid in offsetting expenses related to the child’s special needs, including therapy and treatment. The major funding sources are the Federal Title IV-E program under the Social Security Act and state programs that vary from one state to another. Adoptive parents should ensure that they adopt children from licensed agencies, as the state will only enter into an adoption assistance contract with legal agencies.
Once the special needs child is adopted, the adoptive parent should update his or her personal estate planning. This helps to address a plethora of issues, from guardianship to financial support in the long term. A family law attorney understands the relevant federal and state regulations and can help in establishing a special needs trust. The attorney can tailor the trust to the family’s situation while also preserving the disabled child’s eligibility for public assistance programs. The attorney can also guide the adoptive on finding the right trustee to manage the special needs trust.