Down Syndrome Adoption Guide

An extra chromosome is anything but a disability.

Ellen Haws June 20, 2017

One of the greatest joys of every day is waking up to the sound of my son happily singing in his room. He doesn’t speak yet, but the happy noises he makes cannot be mistaken as anything but singing. As you enter his room he jumps to his feet, grabs the side of the crib and starts jumping up and down cheering at the sight. He is so happy to see me he literally jumps with joy. The next few minutes are filled with kisses, snuggles, and then he is off and running. His extra chromosome continues to prove to be anything but a disability. It is just a different ability and we are lucky enough to learn from him.

If you are considering adopting a child with Down syndrome, my hope is that this guide can help answer some questions for you.

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Should I adopt a child with Down syndrome?
1. Should I adopt a child with Down syndrome?

If Down syndrome itself is what concerns you, please watch this incredible video: Dear Future Mom. But there is also more to be discussed. Children with Down syndrome have trials and those trials will affect your family. This is an important conversation to have not only with your spouse but also with your children and close family. What I want to tell you is yes! Absolutely you should! But in truth, it might not be right for everyone. Look at your family’s flexibility, patience, and endurance. Can you do hard things? Can you rely on each other for help? Are you willing to step out of your comfort zone to do what is best for your child? Are you okay with the fact you’ll be educating others daily about your child and the Down syndrome community? Will you be okay driving past 100 doctors’ offices to get to the right doctor? I can tell you that all of these things are worth the love, the smiles, the child but it is an important discussion to have before adopting.

What kind of paperwork is involved?
2. What kind of paperwork is involved?

The same adoption home study and paperwork that is required for any adoption is also required for an adoption of a child with Down syndrome. In my opinion all the additional paperwork comes following placement. Paperwork in regards to your child is going to become a regular part of your life. There will be paperwork for Medicaid, Early Intervention services, and therapy services. In addition, most states offer a special needs adoption subsidy. Not to mention doctor’s appointment paperwork. I like to call it my Mom Homework. If there were an Olympic event for filling out medical forms, special needs parents would dominate the field.

What are the costs associated with adoption and parenting?
3. What are the costs associated with adoption and parenting?

It makes me sad to type this, but typically adoption costs for special needs kids are incredibly less than neuro-typical kids. In some cases, there might not be any fees involved. Cost of parenting can be offset by special needs adoption subsidy; however, in our experience, because of the additional services your child with Down syndrome will receive, the out of pocket cost for parenting is similar to a neuro-typical child.

Things You Should Know
4. Things You Should Know

Like every kid in the world, each individual with Down syndrome is different. Each will have different health concerns; each will have individual developmental concerns. Most of which cannot be diagnosed until after birth and as they grow and develop. As a parent you have to be ready and willing to accept anything that can come. The other thing you should know is that the Down syndrome community is incredible. Parents are eager to share their knowledge with you. They are eager to love and accept you, your child, and their siblings. This is a community filled with love and courage, echoing the individuals whom it supports.

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Ellen Haws

Ellen Haws is a writer and stay-at-home momster to two boys. She is an advocate for special needs individuals and special needs adoption. She created and is administrator of a thriving Facebook group that promotes and hosts events for special needs individuals and their families in Arizona. Once her hausfrau duties are finished, Ellen can be found creating sarcastic cross stitch art for her loved ones.


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