Adoption process for children with special needs is the same as the regular adoption process. Except for one difference: you can see the profiles of all children awaiting adoption in the special needs category, allowing you to connect with your child. (Whereas in the normal category, you need to wait for a child’s referral since there is a queue of parents wanting to adopt in the normal category).

Process overview

  1. Prospective adoptive parents (PAPs) register with CARA and indicate their preference about child’s gender, age, location, and health. PAPs who are willing to adopt children with special needs can make the appropriate selection under ‘health’.
  2. After a social worker completes and uploads the home study, PAP’s application becomes active, and they can see the special needs list
  3. There is an additional helpful feature — even if PAPs select ‘normal’ health as their preference in step 1, they can still see special needs list after their application becomes active. (This means that PAPs who were initially unaware of the special needs category can potentially change their mind and accept a special needs child.)
  4. After accepting their child from the special needs list, the parents’ bring their child home under a foster care agreement within 20 days. The adoption agency responsible for the child will schedule a final court hearing to complete the process.

Getting ready for a special needs adoption

The first step is to ask yourself a few questions.

  • Are you willing to handle the medical, physical or behavioural conditions of a special needs child?
  • Do you have the necessary support?
  • Have you fully understood the emotional / physical requirements of the special needs child?
  • Are you financially stable to cover any medical conditions that may arise?

It may feel daunting in the beginning, but talking to other prospective adoptive parents can be useful in mitigating any fears and concerns. If you are considering adopting a child with special needs, you can reach out to us for counselling. Please contact


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