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Adopting as a parent with a disability

My husband and I are starting the process to foster to adopt a child but we are running into a lot of issues because I have a physical disability.  The agencies aren’t even meeting with me before telling us they won’t work with us or they just stop responding once I tell them I have a disability.  I have multiple letters from doctors saying my disability would not be a problem and I have informed the agencies of this.  Has anyone else had any difficulties adopting with a health condition?


Thank you so much for replying to me.  It helps to know other people have had similar experiences.  Every agency I’ve contacted so far has said they’ve never had a situation where someone with a disability tried to adopt and they made it seem like it was a really obscure situation.  I’ve tried to be very open and honest so there aren’t any surprises for them.

We have reached out to agencies as well as the counties to try to cover all the bases and the county has been more open to it then the CPA’s but they keep adding odd hurdles each step and it almost feels like they are hoping I give in.

Posted by Jaimes on Jun 30, 2014 at 11:33pm

I have a disability. I’ve adopted, privately, twice. The first time, my doctor simply had to write a note that my disability wouldn’t interfere with my ability to parent. And, for the record, I was on some pretty powerful pain medication at the time of DS’s adoption. 

Coley, one of the founders of the group Birthmom Buds, placed her son with a mom who has a disability. She’s in a wheelchair. So, it does happen.

I don’t see how a state-run agency can legally deny an application to adopt from someone with a disability. That’s discrimination, plain and simple. They can require a doctor’s note, but if your doctor says you’re up to the task of parenting, but to deny you outright? Frankly, I really would sue them.

Posted by rredhead on Jul 01, 2014 at 7:46am

Oh, I understand you! I’m also disable. But people like us also want to be happy! I hope, you’ll cope with it and adopt a child. Don’t give up, keep fighting

Posted by Rina_Barrowman on Jul 02, 2014 at 12:22pm

HI Jaimes,

Some times it makes a difference if your doctors letter says that your disability is not communicable, it does not affect your life span and it will not affect your ability to parent (if that is all true).

Otherwise, perhaps when you contact an agency start with all the positive points you and your husband offer. Really think about what they are so you are not feeling like the agencies are doing you a favor to let you adopt.  Are you open to children of any race? slightly older children then newborn? High risk foster placements? Do you have a lovely home?  Child raising experience? A good income?  Close family? Friends and neighbors of other races? Are you open to fostering a special needs child? Friends of the family who are adopted? Do you or your husband have other skills or experience that are important? You get the idea! Just really think about your own special qualities and state them clearly!

Then after telling them these mention that you have a disability but…tell them why it is not a problem….Have you lived independently or worked? Helped with a friends or relatives children? Has the disability taught you anything that would be a benefit for your child?  Then state that you have letters from doctors saying (and list all the items in paragraph one that are in your doctor’s letter).

Either way I would be really strong and just let them know you won’t stand for discriminatory treatment.  If they ask you for something that they clearly don’t for able bodied folks I’d comply if it was minor and complain if not.  You can always ask them whether that is a standard requirement for all applicants?  Tell them you expect to be treated just like every other applicant.  You know people who are disabled and have adopted.

I’d also keep bugging them that you want to sign up for classes, have the application sent to fill out, set up an appointment for more information,  visit an adoption group if they could recommend one, have them schedule a home visit…etc. Right along in the process just keep asking that you move forward with the next step. Some of these things they might just agree to to get you off their back.  Eventually once they know you they will just go ahead with everything as you will no longer be some unknown, entity that they fear and only see as defective, but likable potential parents to them.

I guess if this does not work you could try not mentioning your disability till they ask!  Or sending a lawyers letter.  Best of luck to you!  We need more parents that can empathize with a child’s issues and a hard life.

Posted by Happy Camper on Jul 03, 2014 at 7:59am

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