Families Needed for Older Children Adoption by Stephanie Thompson, Director of NDSAN


The National Down Syndrome Adoption Network had a great year in 2019. We helped with the adoption of over 25 children with Down syndrome into adoptive families.

At present, we have 45 families on our registry. Families who are home-study ready, and want to adopt a child with Down syndrome. In order to be included on our registry, you must have a home study, which is a legal document that approves you to adopt.

45 families may sound like a good amount of families for our registry, but let me explain further how our process works.

Close to 90 percent of the situations we help with are newborn, private adoptions. That means that birth families have contacted us, considering an adoption plan.

The first thing we do when a birth parent contacts us is to just be present and sit in grief with them, while they share their diagnosis story. After they process their grief, we make sure they are educated on Down syndrome, and we refer them to updated resources and local supports. It’s at this time where they decide to parent or make an adoption plan.

The remaining 10% of the situations we help with are older child adoptions, either private, or public adoption through the foster care system.

And this is where you come in!

Yes, we may have 45 families on our registry, but an overwhelming majority of those families want to adopt a newborn. More families are needed who feel called to adopt an older child, age 12 years old and up.

A family who wants to adopt an older child may have the following parameters:

-The potential adoptive parents (that’s you!) may be over the age of 40
-The potential adoptive family be “Empty Nesters”
-The potential adoptive family may have children older than the age of 12

Most children in foster care who are older do best when they are the youngest or only child. This is because they have been through a LOT of transitions in their life; they will need to be in a family where they are given the most attention for the first few years.

One of the ongoing goals of the NDSAN is to always have a diverse and wonderful pool of adoptive families on our registry, from every state across the US.

And here is where you come in. We are seeing an increase in older kiddos. We need families who feel called to provide a forever home to these children.

You’ve probably never thought about adopting an older child with Down syndrome. It probably never occurred to you that it may even be needed.

So I am here to plant that seed with you.

First, take a look at our website, ndsan.org. You’ll find it’s a great introduction to what the National Down Syndrome Adoption Network does for birth and adoptive families. Take a look at the Adoption Process section for a little more information on the how we work.

Second, head over to our Foster Kiddos page, https://www.ndsan.org/adoption-process/children-in-foster-care/, to see all of the children currently in foster care, who are ready to be adopted into a forever family. Please know that older children in private care situations are kept confidential and only shared with families on our registry.

Third, head over to our Facebook page, facebook.com/dsadoption. Make sure to “Like” the page. You will see posts about adoption resources, stories from families who have adopted, and children who are in public custody who need families. If you do not feel called to adopt, please consider sharing their posts!

Fourth, contact me. You may have questions about the adoption process, or you may just need to talk about this “feeling” that you have after reading this article. I would be happy to talk with you and answer any questions, and if you decide to take the journey of adoption, I will walk you through the process. Feel free to email me at stephanie@ndsan.org or call me at

I look forward to hearing from you!


Thank you so much to our friends at NDSAN for all the amazing work they do!  DSAGSL would be happy to talk to anyone who has questions prior to reaching out to NDSAN.  Please call 314-961.2504 or email our Family Support Coordinator, Christy Klaus at christy@dsagsl.org