- December 2021/January 2022
- Vol. 22, No. 11
Preparing to Foster or Adopt a Child With Down Syndrome
An AdoptUSKids article offers tips for individuals considering fostering or adopting a child with Down syndrome. The author urges prospective parents planning to care for a child with special needs to do the following:
- Commit to learning about Down syndrome. This syndrome is caused by the presence of an extra chromosome at the time of conception and features physical and developmental growth delays, intellectual disability, and distinct facial characteristics. Children born with Down syndrome can exhibit a variety of health problems, ranging from mild to moderate, such as vision, hearing, gastrointestinal, and skin conditions and heart and thyroid disease.
- Get involved with the Down syndrome community. Most communities have Down syndrome parent-support groups that can help educate caregivers and connect them with other local resources.
- Ask themselves, "How will caring for a child with Down syndrome affect my family?" As with fostering or adopting any child, there is likely to be an adjustment period but also an abundance of shared joy and love. While the same is true for a child with Down syndrome, there are other things to consider, such as medical and other needs, which may extend into adulthood.
The article links to a brief story of an active and thriving Wyoming family that is raising four sons who were adopted as teenagers and live with Down syndrome.
A list of supplemental resources is also provided and includes links to the following:
- Global Down Syndrome Foundation
- National Down Syndrome Adoption Network, including its "Adopting a Child With Down Syndrome" webinar
- National Down Syndrome Congress
- National Down Syndrome Society
- A Guide to Adoption Subsidies and Assistance for Adoptive Parents, published by the National Council for Adoption
To learn more, read "Adopting a Child With Down Syndrome From Foster Care," which is available on the AdoptUSKids website.