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Adopting children with special needs

When many people hear the term "children with special needs," they often think of kids who have physical or mental disabilities. However, when it comes to adoption in North Dakota, "special needs" has a broader meaning. One thing that these kids have in common, though, is that it is generally harder for them to find loving, permanent adoptive families who can and want to take care of them.

Kids who fall under the "special needs" category include those with physical, mental or emotional disabilities. Siblings also fall into this group because it's best if they are adopted together.

North Dakota residents who adopt children with special needs may be able to receive an adoption subsidy. This can help pay for medical costs, legal fees and other expenses like special education costs, psychological care or the installation of things like ramps to make their home accessible for the child.

Many special needs kids tend to be older than some adoptive parents prefer. A lot of couples want to adopt an infant. Therefore even young grade school age kids can be considered "older" by potential adoptive parents. However, some of these kids are in their teens.

In many cases, children with special needs are living in foster homes and are adopted by their foster parents. North Dakota has a program called Adults Adopting Special Kids, or AASK. It provides services to kids who are in the foster care system and to the people who adopt them.

If you are seeking to adopt a child with special needs, whether you are his or her foster parent already or not, it's important to get legal guidance from an experienced North Dakota adoption attorney. This can help the process go more smoothly and allow the child to become a permanent, legal member of your family as soon as possible.

Source: North Dakota Department of Human Services, "Types of Adoption," accessed March 03, 2016

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Commandments of Family Law

  1. The only truth your children need to know is that you both love them unconditionally, and that this isn't their fault.
  2. Take the high road — everyone wins when you do what's best for your kids.
  3. Negotiate but don't capitulate — if you are being pushed toward something detrimental for your children, stand your ground.
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