MLJ Adoptions Offers Special Needs Adoption Options


IMG_3570Children in need of families are the world’s most vulnerable children. They are vulnerable to child trafficking, vulnerable to medical illnesses and they live outside of the protection of a loving family. Throughout their lifetimes, they are more likely to experience homelessness, be exploited or turn to lives of crime due to desperation. Families called to international adoption are eager to meet the needs of orphaned children. They want to create a loving familial environment where a child can grow, thrive, and receive the love they deserve.

So who are these children?

They are sibling groups.

They are over the age of 5.

They have additional needs.

MLJ Adoptions has international adoption programs in nine different countries. We can facilitate special needs adoptions in all nine countries, but have specific processes to help families adopt waiting children in Bulgaria, Burkina Faso and Mexico. To view profiles of children who are currently waiting on a family able and willing to meet their needs, visit MLJ Adoptions’ Waiting Child Photolisting.

Bulgaria’s Waiting Child Program is a wonderful opportunity for families to identify a specific child who they wish to adopt and pursue the adoption of that child. Families are often able to
see a photograph and in some cases videos of the child before they commit to his or her adoption. Children move onto a waiting list in Bulgaria when we are not able to be matched with a family currently waiting on a referral due to their age, the size of their sibling group, or their additional needs. Waiting children range in age from one to fifteen years old. Individual children in additional to sibling groups of five and everything in between may wait to be matched with a family. The special needs that children may have include, but are not limited to spinal bfida, down syndrome, cerebral palsy, blindness, epilepsy linked with diabetes, and hearing loss. It is not uncommon for children to have several needs that require attention.

Burkina Faso allows families that do not meet the requirements for a traditional referral to adopt a child with special needs. Families must still meet the marriage requirement of five years with one spouse over the age of 30, but they can have more than one child in their home. To be eligible to adopt a special needs child from Burkina Faso, families need to submit a dossier to the Ministry in country. Once a family’s dossier arrives in Burkina Faso, and is registered with the Ministry, when a child with additional needs becomes legally free for adoption, the family can apply to adopt that specific

While most of the children legally free for international adoption from Mexico are over the age of five, families interested in adopting a younger child may be open to a child with additional needs. Each of Mexico’s 31 states process adoptions and the adoption of special needs children, a little bit differently. In the state of Hidalgo, where a majority of MLJ Adoptions’ families’ dossiers are submitted, periodically a bulletin of special needs children are released to the agencies working in the state. Limited information is available on the children until a family expresses interest in learning more. Like a traditional referral for a child from Mexico, no photo will be provided.

While each country processes adoptions differently, including adoptions of special needs children, the timelines may be expedited. Burkina Faso and Mexico are currently pilot programs for MLJ Adoptions, so we continue to learn more about the adoption process and the adoption process for children with special needs. As we learn more information, we share that information for our families and on our blog. We do our best to keep our Waiting Child Photolisting up to date, so that is always a great place for families to go, if they’re interested in learning more about adopting a child with special needs.

For more information about adopting a special needs child, contact us.waiting child logo with MLJ

Photo #2: David Biesack

Caitlin Snyder works as the Director of Marketing and Outreach for MLJ Adoptions. Working in international adoption has given Caitlin the unique opportunity to pursue both a passion to advocate on behalf of vulnerable people and a profession at the same time.