Adoptive Families

The NDSAN is a non-profit program that offers support and information to parents whose child has received a diagnosis of Down syndrome, and may be considering an adoption plan for their child. We offer a listening ear and information. If they choose adoption for their child, we have a registry of families from all over the United States who are interested in adopting a child with Down syndrome within the US. Private adoptions are kept confidential and not posted about; you can only find out about private adoptions if you are on our registry. We are not an adoption agency; our families have to have a completed and up-to-date domestic, adoptive home in order to join our registry. Also, there are no fees for our services.

Please start here by watching our webinar. It will answer mostly all of your questions, and greatly educate you on the special needs adoption process, and how the NDSAN works.

If you have a current, domestic home study that can be used for both public and private adoptions in any state (usually referred to as a “private” home study), and you are immediately available to adopt, we encourage you to register with us. When we are told about a child needing a home in the US, we will do a query in our registry to see what families would best fit the needs of that child. A report is generated and families are contacted. If your home study is through a private agency, please have your worker email your home study to Stephanie Thompson, Adoptive Family contact, at We cannot receive home studies directly from families. Once your home study is received, a registration form will be sent to you.

If you have a home study through your county department of family services, you MUST check with your worker to see if you are permitted to use your home study for adoptions outside of their jurisdiction. If you are permitted to adopt outside of your jurisdiction, you MUST have your worker email your home study to Stephanie at, with verification that it can be used in any adoption. When your home study is received, Stephanie will email you and let you know, then send you a registration form at that time. We cannot receive home studies directly from families.

If your home study is international, you can either get a new, domestic home study, or you can modify your international HS to the United States. When your home study has been modified to a private, domestic home study, please have your worker email it to and Stephanie will send you a registration form at that time. We cannot receive home studies directly from families.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are you an adoption agency?

We are an adoption program, not an adoption agency. We are not able to complete home studies, place children in families, or finalize adoptions.  We are a connecting link between the children with Down syndrome who need adoptive families, and the families that hope to adopt a child with Down syndrome.

Are there fees for your services?

There are NO FEES for our services. All of our support to both birth and adoptive families, as well as the assistance we offer to both public and private agencies, is done at no charge.

Now that I am on your registry, how long will I wait until you contact me about a child?

While we cannot give any family an exact time frame,  we do suggest that families be as open as possible to a variety of situations when they complete their registration form.  For example, an adoptive family may want to consider an older child, a child with additional medical issues, or a child of a different racial heritage.  Carefully consider all of the options on the registration form.  Contact the NDSAN if you need clarification on any category.

I’ve heard there is a waiting list to adopt a child. Is this true?

“Waiting List” would be incorrect terminology.  We hope to always have more families “waiting” to adopt than we have children “waiting” to be adopted!  But an adoptive family who registers with us tomorrow is considered equally with an adoptive family who has been registered with us for months.  That is because all of our queries are based on the needs of the child and the requests of the birth family or agency representing the child.  We refer to our adoptive families as a “pool” rater than a “list”…no family is first, or last, in a line!

I’m older / single / have many children.  Am I still able to adopt? What are my chances of being called about a child that needs a family?

As long as you  have an approved home study, you are  able to adopt and can be included on our registry.  We have many adoptive families registered who are  older, single,  have many children, or are in same sex relationships.  We have been involved with the successful adoption of children with Down syndrome in all family dynamics.

What are the fees to adopt a child with Down syndrome?

We do not charge any fees, but there may be fees associated with the adoption process.  Fees vary from $0 (public agency adoptions of children in the custody of the state typically have no or very low fees) up to a maximum of $20,000.   While the range for a private adoption depends on the agency, and the services provided, they usually average somewhere around $12,000.

Can I support the NDSAN in the work that you do?

There are many ways to assist us in our mission to insure that every child with DS has the opportunity to grow up in a loving family!  Help us spread the word that adoption is a loving choice for a family who is unable to parent a child with special needs.  Help us in our effort to recruit loving families to adopt children with DS.  If possible, support the NDSAN financially so that we can continue our mission all across the US.  (Click here to contribute)