Charles: A Special Needs Adoption Program Story


Charlie’s giggling is contagious, but his journey to toddlerhood has been a remarkable and challenging one. At birth, Charlie was diagnosed with Prader-Willi Syndrome—an incurable condition that affects cognitive function, appetite, and growth. Charlie’s birth parents, realizing that they would be unable to care for his lifelong needs, contacted Spence-Chapin.

Over the course of the next few months while looking for a perfect adoptive family for him, Spence-Chapin coordinated his specialized medical care, including: daily growth hormone injections administered by a visiting nurse, and frequent specialist appointments with his endocrinologist, pulmonologist, gastroenterologist, cardiologist, and nutritionist. He also received physical therapy in the home of the Interim Care family two times a week.


Spence-Chapin utilized numerous nationwide networks to help identify an adoptive family for Charles. In the end, a local family that had recently completed their home study with us reached out after seeing Charles’ picture in one of our newsletters. They were currently parenting a child with autism and knew that certain autistic symptoms are common among children with Prader-Willi Syndrome.  We arranged for them to meet with Charles’ biological parents, and the two families connected immediately.

Spence-Chapin began transition visits with the adoptive family to familiarize them with Charles’ treatments and to help them identify specialists where the family lived to ensure that his care continued without interruptions.

This past June Charlie went home with his forever family. He is receiving the care he needs, and his parents, who are thrilled with his progress, share news of the joy he brings others with his laughter. He has bonded with his older sister and has visited with his biological family. Both families are in frequent contact with Spence-Chapin for guidance and support but are delighted at the progress Charles has made and how well he is adapting in his new home.

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