Will My Illness Stop Me From Adopting?

With the recent adoption of Zoey by Bill Klein and Dr. Jennifer Arnold, stars of the popular television series, The Little Couple, many people have wondered if health issues impede one's ability to be able to adopt. Dr. Arnold's battle with cancer has been well documented on the show and she is, thankfully, in remission from gestational trophoblastic neoplasm stage 3.

As an adoptive mother, founder of an adoption agency and cancer survivor I am often asked:

  • I'm HIV+. Will my partner and I be able to adopt?
  • I had breast cancer 2 years ago and am now cancer free. Can I adopt?
  • I am bi-polar and under the care of a psychiatrist. Will my husband and I be able to adopt?
  • I am a quadriplegic. No one would want to place a baby with my wife and me, would they?
  • I have Multiple Sclerosis - will this prevent me from adopting?

The answer to all of the above is yes, you will be able to adopt. Your health issues would be addressed in a confidential document called the homestudy. It is our recommendation that if a family is able to, they let the biological family know of their health issues. I have witnessed incredible bonding between birth and adoptive families as they share the challenges they have all faced in making important life decisions. Beginning your adoption journey on a foundation of truth frees you from worrying about the "what if's."

If you have questions or concerns about anything in your history you think might prevent you from adopting, it is always best to discuss this with the agency or attorney you are working with. Peace of mind comes when your fears are addressed with accurate information.

May good health and happiness surround Bill, Jen, Will and Zoey.

Dawn Smith Pliner is the founding director of Friends in Adoption ~ a nationwide, pro-choice Compassionate Adoption agency. Dawn is proud to be on the advisory board of Path2Parenthood.


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