Recently, someone asked me about the possibility of adopting a special needs child internationally. Being how international adoption and special needs are two issues near to my heart, I decided to do a little leg work and see what I could find. It goes without saying that there are many, many children born internationally with special needs who are looking for an adoptive family. A PAP could always check with his/her agency to see if any children with special needs are available for adoption, but beyond that, where should one turn for more information? Enter Reece’s Rainbow: International Down Syndrome Orphan Ministry.
Don’t let the name mislead you; while there is a large focus on international children born with Down Syndrome (DS), the Waiting Child Gallery also hosts children (of various ages) who were born with other special needs. In essence, this site offers a really comprehensive photo listing of special needs children around the world. Even more so, the site offers clear, step-by-step instructions on how to start the special needs international adoption process, as well as various support groups/systems available. Another element I like to see on all sites offering international adoption services is a country comparison chart. It’s important to know what (if any) limitations you face when choosing to adopt from a certain country, and charts such as this enable PAPs to briefly compare the grand-scale requirements.
One of the really unique aspects of Reece’s Rainbow is the family sponsorship program. In essence, PAP’s submit an application (for a small fee) and open a sponsorship program for the child they hope to adopt. Anyone can contribute to the child’s fund, and once the dossier has been submitted and the PAPs receive a travel date, the funds are dispersed directly to the agency or facilitator of your child’s adoption. This enables others to help fund your adoption through the gift of sponsorship. While some agencies offer discounted fees for the adoption of a special needs child, there is still expense to be found in the process (as there is with all international adoptions). If you peruse the Waiting Child Gallery, you’ll see that each child has a “grant fund” and the amount included in said fund varies from child to child. Anyone can donate through a PayPal account, and has the choice of which child he or she would like to sponsor.
While adopting an internationally-born child with special needs isn’t for everyone, it is important to note there are sites (such as Reece’s Rainbow) available to help take the guess work out of the process. Naturally, it’s important to discuss this interest/possibility with your social worker and agency consultant/facilitator. Many times, your social worker/agency consultant can be one of the best sources of information for furthering your adoption plan, no matter what it entails.