India Program Reopens

india family

The Cartright family has found special blessings from special needs adoption in India. Now the program is reopen to family applications.

In the Werre household, Daya’s the girlie-girl. She’s calm, creative and passionate about pink.

Her sister Shaili’s just the opposite: feisty, outgoing, ever-ready with her hilarious sense of humor.

Their younger brother Ajay is a smiling, happy guy. Five minutes with him is a sure-cure for anyone’s bad mood!

These one-of-a-kind kids share a common trait: They joined their family through Dillon International’s India program to find families for children with special needs. After a three-year pause while India implemented changes to its intercountry adoption process, Dillon is again able to accept applications from families.

“We definitely feel adopting children with special needs was the path we were supposed to take,” said Mom Kristi Werre, whose family also includes two biological sons. “Our lives may be different from many families, with therapy and medical appointments, but it’s all so worth it.”

A Special Need

Although domestic adoption is increasing in India, a country with an estimated 25 million orphans, intercountry adoption remains the primary hope for children with special needs to have a forever family, said Program Director Jynger Roberts. “Children with special needs are not as likely to be adopted domestically.”

“While in India, we saw a huge need for more families to bring home children with special needs,” said Jessica Cartwright, whose daughter, Sarah, joined their family two years ago. “There are so many children who need mothers and fathers to love them unconditionally.”

“It was a leap of faith for us to pursue adopting a child with special needs,” recalled Cartwright, also the mom of Ethan, who joined their family as a healthy infant in 2008 via adoption from Vietnam. “After almost two years of praying, we learned about our daughter. She had several unknowns about her future and was diagnosed with several special needs. After spending time with doctors, we realized that many of our fears were not realistic. We learned that with therapies, modern medical technology and a loving home, our daughter could live a beautiful life. And she does!”

Children Waiting for Adoption

Children available for adoption reside in orphanages throughout India and have a broad range of special needs. Common needs include missing an eye or ear, hearing loss, cerebral palsy, ADHD, atrial septal defect (a repairable heart condition), cleft lip/palate, and kidney problems. Children younger than 3 typically have more serious conditions, Roberts added.

Flexibility Matters

“Prospective families need to be flexible and prepared for possible process changes and delays,” Roberts said. “Although the process is new and may have its challenges, the most important thing remains unchanged: Children still need families.”

“Special needs adoptions from India do come with unpredictability,” said Amanda Phillips, the mom of three children—Varsha, Ananya and Prasun—from India who have special needs. “You can’t know the impact of early neglect. You can never know the impact of a loving family, either. It makes a huge difference. It is a risk with uncountable blessings.” — by Susan Serrano

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