Angela: A Special Needs Adoption Program Story


Angela, a beautiful, sweet baby girl, had a rough start. She was born in December of 2016 and immediately transferred to neonatal intensive care with acute respiratory distress and intrauterine growth restriction.  At the NICU, Angela was stabilized and diagnosed with Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome with Chromosome 4p deletion. Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome is an extremely rare genetic condition that can cause a variety of symptoms, including intellectual disability, delayed growth and development, unusual facial features, low muscle tone, seizures, and other congenital abnormalities. Angela’s birth parents loved her very much, but felt they could not give her everything she needed while parenting her for a variety of financial, familial, and emotional reasons, so they contacted Spence-Chapin to make an adoption plan for Angela.

While they worked with a Spence-Chapin social worker, Angela received full-time care at a pediatric hospital where it was discovered that she has no rooting reflex (a reflex seen in newborn babies who automatically turn the face toward the stimulus and make sucking or rooting motions with the mouth when the cheek or lip is touched), but displayed an ability to drink from a bottle with no aspiration. Angela began receiving occupational, physical, and speech therapy services she will need long-term to address her delays and bolster her development. Angela has left eye ptosis (drooping upper eyelid) and Coloboma (missing a piece of her eyelid). She has no blink response, although she does respond to light, and will require follow-up with an ophthalmologist.


Spence-Chapin identified a forever family for Angela who had already adopted a child with special needs from Spence-Chapin. They immediately connected with Angela and brought her home on May 2, 2017 where she was welcomed by her new siblings.

Angela is thriving with her family. Her mother acknowledges that she has been through a lot in her few years, including an open-heart surgery two years ago, but that her big personality shines through it all.

This story is part of our Special Needs Adoption Program Story series, commemorating 25 years of our Special Needs Adoption Program. We are celebrating these stories and more throughout the month of November for National Adoption Month.  If you would like to support programs for children and families like our Special Needs Adoption Program, please visit or contact our Development Office at 212-360-0263. Thank you!

To find out more contact us at

212-400-8150 or email us at