Special Needs Adoption

Lifeline Children’s Services special needs adoption program exists to help support and care for the most vulnerable children by finding wonderful, stable families and homes.

Every child deserves to thrive. 

At Lifeline Children’s Services, we believe that every child, no matter their abilities or needs, is worthy of love, family, and belonging. 

Because adoption comes through trauma and loss, all children who join families through adoption have unique needs and challenges, but we are seeing an increased need for families to step out and show children with a variety of special needs that they are worthy of love. 

As state laws in the U.S. change concerning abortion, the number of children with special needs waiting for a family is growing. Internationally, many older children, sibling groups, and children with moderate needs are waiting for families. How is God calling your family to help a child thrive?  

Domestic Special Needs Adoption

Each year, there is an increasing number of women who are seeking to make an adoption plan for a child with medical complexities. Lifeline desires for these expectant moms to know their child’s life is valuable and made in the image of God. We also want them to know there are amazing, well-equipped families who will value, love, and care for these precious children. 

These women and children need well-equipped families to partner with Lifeline in ministry and demonstrate the value of life. We are looking for gospel-centered families to partner with us in caring for these image-bearers through open adoption. 

Some special needs that arise include the following: 

  • Cerebral Palsy 
  • Down Syndrome
  • Other genetic conditions that will significantly impact cognition and development or could cause significant physical limitations 
  • Life-limiting diagnoses

Lifeline is here to equip willing families on this journey. 

As with all adoptions, we provide education and support for the entire journey and beyond. For those considering children with special needs, we will provide education specific to the needs for which you are called and equipped to parent. We will also help you assess your capacity and ability to care for various needs. 


Commonly Asked Questions

As you consider adoption, there may be many questions that come to mind. Take a look at some commonly asked questions below.

We are accepting applications from families in any state for our special needs program. If you are not in one of our licensed states, we will help you identify a local contract agency that can work with you on your home study. 


The types of needs you may expect to see in this program would be diagnoses of Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Autism, or any other genetic disorders or syndromes that would significantly impact cognition, development, or could cause significant physical limitations. 

Lifeline will conduct a home study assessment and help you complete education. You will have a domestic specialist working with you on your family profile book; sharing info summaries with you about expectant mothers; and walking you through matching, placement, and post-adoption.  

We offer education beyond our domestic infant program because we know this parenting responsibility will require resilience and endurance under stress, flexibility, and a strong marriage. While these characteristics are important for any parent, we know that navigating surgeries, therapies, medical equipment, and other considerations that may come with parenting a child with special needs can be challenging. We want to help prepare you and equip you for this role! 

There are great financial resources available for parents who adopt a child with medical needs, including several grant organizations with which we can connect you. We also have an internal grant at Lifeline for any family that is matched through our special needs program; they will qualify for at least $500.

If your family feels led to adopt a child with special needs domestically but is concerned with your financial ability to give them the care they need, Lifeline can help you apply for adoption subsidy for many children needing families. 

International Special Needs Adoption

Adoption becomes necessary when brokenness has impacted a family. Being separated from, abandoned by, or neglected by a birth family leaves a lasting impression of trauma on a child, even those of very young ages. Living in an orphanage, as many international orphans do, also often leaves imprints of trauma. Therefore, all children who come into a family through international adoption experience unique emotional, social, physical, and mental needs, even if they are medically healthy.  

Additionally, special needs in the international community can encompass more than medical or cognitive special needs. Special needs can indicate children who wait longer for families. Thus, sibling groups and older children can be among those who are considered in greatest need of advocacy.  

At Lifeline, we believe in finding families for children where they can be known, loved, and belong. Currently, the greatest needs in international adoption are for families who are open to sibling groups, older children, and children with more moderate medical or cognitive needs.

The average age of a child adopted internationally through Lifeline is 7 years old, and 42% of the children who come home through international adoption are part of a sibling group. Some common medical special needs we see include:

  • Developmental delays 
  • Behavior and emotional disorders
  • Cognitive delays
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Down syndrome
  • Speech and language delays
  • Hearing and vision loss 
  • Neurological disorders

We are committed to providing education, resources, and support for our families, equipping them to follow God’s leading in adoption. 

Connect with us to talk with us more about special needs international adoption.


The number of children who were adopted internationally by Lifeline families last year


The percentage of those 122 children who came home as part of a sibling group


The average age of children coming home through international adoption

How to Fund Your Adoption

One of the biggest hesitations families express as they approach adoption is the financial cost. Lifeline is here to support you as you take the next step in faith. Find out more about our Hope Adoption Fund scholarship below. For more help, visit our resources page.
Apply now to receive an additional $1,000 scholarship towards your application fees.