Special Needs Adoption

The Special Needs Adoption Program at Spence-Chapin began in 1995 to help ensure that children with severe medical challenges have the opportunity to thrive in a permanent, loving family who can care for their ongoing needs.  The program offers the following: free counseling and support services to parents who are considering adoption for their child and no professional service fees to adoptive families. It is the only program of its kind in the country.

Learn more about how birth families drive the matching process and how adoptive families are chosen on our blog. 


Birth Parents

Expectant parents who are given an unanticipated diagnosis, or who experience a complication during pregnancy or after birth and are unsure about parenting may not be aware of all their options. Spence-Chapin is available to help families consider and explore all permanency options for their infant or child. Our social workers will meet with parents in a confidential and convenient location in Arizona, New York, New Jersey, or virtually. Spence-Chapin’s services are confidential and we can work with any client regardless of age or immigration status.

The Children in Need of Adoption

The infants and children we serve have a variety of special needs, from significant developmental delays to serious medical and congenital conditions.

The conditions usually require therapeutic and/or medical interventions during the child’s entire life. These non-correctable conditions can include:

  • Genetic Disorders
  • Brain Anomali
  • Neurological Disorders
  • Rare Syndromes
  • Cardiac and Pulmonary Disorders
  • Shortened Life Span
  • Excessive Drug and/or Alcohol Exposure
  • Significant Risk of Psychiatric Disorders

Children may be eligible for early intervention services, Social Security Disability, Adoption Subsidy, and Medicaid.

Adoptive Parents

Adoptive parents live across the country and often have experience caring for or parenting a child with medical needs. Their wish is to provide a loving home for an infant or child who is medically fragile or terminally ill. Adoptive families are carefully screened and receive specialized training to ensure they are well equipped to be excellent parents to the child they adopt. There are no professional service fees to adoptive families. The only fees incurred by adoptive families are for getting a home study and finalizing the adoption.

Through the generosity of our supporters, Spence-Chapin is able to waive all professional services fees for the Special Needs Adoption Program. This ensures that there are no financial barriers for families who wish to adopt, allowing each child in our Special Needs Adoption Program to be placed with the perfect family, who can focus on providing ongoing care for their needs right away.

Learn more about Spence-Chapin’s Special Needs Program:
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand honored Spence-Chapin with an ANGELS IN ADOPTION™ AWARD: