Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Finding the Way Home

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Finding the Way Home

Article excerpt

Adopt A Special Kid places children with loving parents

Adopt a Special Kid--History and services

Adopt A Special Kid (AASK) was founded 27 years ago by Dorothy and Bob DeBolt, who are parents of 14 adopted children with disabilities as well as six birth children. Since its grassroots beginning in the DeBolt's garage, AASK has placed thousands of children with special needs, including children with a range of disabilities: from mild cerebral palsy to fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) to conditions requiting extensive medical intervention. AASK also places many children who have issues not so clearly classified as disabilities: emotional/behavioral disorders, drug and alcohol exposure, a history of many foster placements, or brothers and sisters who need to be adopted together.

Throughout its history, AASK has been dedicated to finding homes for these children, who are often called "unadoptable," and the agency continues to answer this challenging call today.

AASK is a private, nonprofit agency committed to increasing public awareness about the need for adoptive families through events, legislative action, and the media. Staff members make presentations to community groups and publish two quarterly newsletters. Specifically for adoptive parents, AASK holds monthly workshops, quarterly parent preparation trainings, free family events, and parent support groups. Staff are avail able on an ongoing basis to help our families, wherever they are in the adoption process.

Putting children and parents together

The number of waiting children across the country is enormous: It is estimated that 125,000 children need adoptive homes. Twenty to twenty-five percent of these reside in California. The need for parents to come forward is immense. Many people question whether they might meet the qualifications or standards to become adoptive parents, which may prevent them from coming forward. To increase the number of available families, AASK promotes Equal Opportunity Adoption. This philosophy encourages inclusion of a diverse range of parents. Despite variations in age, ethnicity, marital status, sexual preference, or physical ability, all individuals should be considered as potential adoptive parents.

AASK encourages parents to experience the gifts and challenges of children with disabilities and to share their knowledge and skills with these waiting children.

If you know a family who lives in Northern California that is interested in adoption (AASK's service area is 21 counties in Northern California), AASK invites them to attend the next adoption workshop. …

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