What Does Special Needs Look Like in Burkina Faso?


As international adoption has evolved throughout the years, many children in need of families are considered hard to place because they have additional medical needs. Some are considered hard to place merely due to their ages. Countries advocate for their vulnerable children in various ways. Burkina Faso releases special needs lists quarterly in an effort to find forever families for these children. These lists provide children with additional or medical needs that the adoption authority considers hard to place or the child may be considered not healthy. Some medical needs may be slight or correctable while other medical needs may be lifelong requiring lifelong medical care.

In Burkina Faso specifically, we have found children of all ages ranging from infancy to teens can be listed on the special needs list. Sometimes their only “need” is age, but others may haveĀ  diagnosed medical issues. We continue to see a need for families who are open to children with the following medical conditions:

  • Hepatitis B
  • Sickle Cell Trait
  • Sickle Cell Disease
  • Children born of an incestuous relationship
  • Children born to a birth parent who is considered ā€œmentally illā€
  • Children with mental handicaps
  • Children with developmental delays
  • Children with deformed limbs
  • Deaf-mute
  • Children suffering from the effects of malnutrition

Families open to children six and older are also needed to pursue adoptions from Burkina Faso! Last year, we had a family matched with an older child with no known medical conditions because of Burkina Faso’s special needs list. Since many of the children in need of families through international adoption are older, it is not uncommon for families to experience shorter wait times.

MLJ families have successfully been matched with children from these special needs lists. We had a family pursue the adoption of a child off the first special needs list we received, and he should be arriving home in January 2018! This will be our second child home from Burkina Faso! Other children matched last year from the special needs lists issued by Burkina Fasoā€™s Central Authority, included older children with no known medical conditions, children with the Sickle Cell Trait (but no active disease) and Hepatitis B. Many times, families matched with a waiting child will greatly reduce their wait times to be matched with a child.

Since special needs not only impact the child, but the whole family, families considering a child with additional needs should fully research and investigate the medical conditions they are open to by speaking with medical professionals. How the medical condition will impact your family, necessary treatment (if any) and costs and insurance coverage should all be examined.

Sonja Brown works as the International Program Director for MLJ Adoptionsā€™ programs in Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti and Samoa. Sonja is also proud to work directly with our Individualized Country Program families who are adopting from countries where no adoption service providers currently operate.