I've been reading up on Special Needs adoption and learning that it's not as scary as you might think. We have a tendency to hear "special needs" and think, "Woah there, I'm not a doctor or a nurse or a developmental specialist. What in the world could I do to help a child with special needs?" But there is a LOT you can do. For one, older children are often considered as having "special needs," even though they don't have any specific medical, emotional, or developmental challenges. Sibling groups are also often considered "special needs," again without having any other medical/emotional/developmental issues that would need to be addressed. Often kids with "special needs" in poorer countries have problems that can be easily corrected here in the US, where we have greater access to high-quality medical care. Additionally, many special needs are not so scary after all. For example, Cerebral Palsy can sound like a pretty scary diagnosis, but like many conditions, it's a spectrum disorder that can range from quite mild to quite severe. So do your research! You may be fully capable of parenting a child with special needs. Does anyone here have experience adopting a child through an international special needs program?
Yes, I have a daughter who we adopted just over one year ago who has special needs. We were open to almost anything except for severe mobility problems and cognitive problems. Pretty much our only criteria was to grow up and be independent. We really wanted to adopt a waiting child who needed a family, not wait years competing with other families. We are now going back for #2! Personally I think developmental delays are totally a non-issue. They are just that, delays in development. Kids catch up very fast. Our daughter was non verbal when we adopted her and 14 months later she speaks perfect English at her age level (every child is different, she is just very bright!) She also has some medical needs but random people would never know that she is classified as having "special needs." The only obvious thing is how teeny tiny she is, but that is all part of her charm :)