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Readiness to Adopt Children with Special Needs: User Manual

Readiness to Adopt Children with Special Needs: User Manual

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Published by Jane Gilgun
This document serves as a users manual for the Readiness to Adopt Self-Survey (RASS) and the Interview for the Readiness to Adopt Self-Survey (IRASS). The RASS is for prospective adoptive parents to fill out on their own. The RASS is designed to help parents prepare for the adoption of children with special needs. The IRASS is for adoption professionals to use when conducting home studies for adults who may want to adopt children with special needs. Both the RASS and the IRASS are at the end of this document.

This document describes how we developed the tools and provides definitions of the categories of the tools. The document also reports on the experiences of parents who have adopted children with special needs--in their own words.
This document serves as a users manual for the Readiness to Adopt Self-Survey (RASS) and the Interview for the Readiness to Adopt Self-Survey (IRASS). The RASS is for prospective adoptive parents to fill out on their own. The RASS is designed to help parents prepare for the adoption of children with special needs. The IRASS is for adoption professionals to use when conducting home studies for adults who may want to adopt children with special needs. Both the RASS and the IRASS are at the end of this document.

This document describes how we developed the tools and provides definitions of the categories of the tools. The document also reports on the experiences of parents who have adopted children with special needs--in their own words.

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Published by: Jane Gilgun on Nov 05, 2009
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IRASSPage 1 of 75
TheDevelopmentofanAdoptiveParentSelf-SurveyandaStructuredAdoptionInterviewGuide
TowardaUsersGuide
JaneF.GilgunUniversityofMinnesota,TwinCitiesSusanKeskinen,St.Paul,MNMuchofthematerialinthisdocumenthasnotappearedelsewhere,butsomeispartofapaperpresentedattheannualconference,NationalCouncilonFamilyRelations,Orlando,Florida,November22,2004.JaneF.Gilgun,Ph.D.,LICSW,isprofessor,SchoolofSocialWork,UniversityofMinnesota,TwinCities,USA.E‐mail:jgilgun@umn.edu.SusanKeskinen,MSW,isaconsultantinSt.Paul,MN.E‐mail:skeskinen@yahoo.com.ProfessorGilgunhaschildren’sbooks,books,andarticlesrelevanttoadoption,childrenwithspecialneeds,andothertopicsonAmazonKindle,scribd.com/professorjane,andstores.lulu.com/jgilgun.TheauthorswouldliketothankBrandiHill,LaurieKarp,andSamanthaShermanfortheircommentsonpreviousversionsofthispaper.
 
IRASSPage 2 of 75
ABSTRACTThisdocumentpresentstwonewlydevelopedinstrumentsusefulinadoptionpractice:TheReadinesstoAdoptSelf‐Survey(RASS)andtheInterviewfortheReadinesstoAdoptSelf‐Survey(IRASS).Bothtoolsaredesignedtobeusedwithparentswhoarethinkingaboutadoptingchildrenwithspecialneeds.Theitemsofthetoolsparalleleachother.Thisdocumentdescribeshowweconstructedtheinstruments.Weshareexcerptsfromadoptiveparents’interviewssothatreaderscanlearninadoptiveparents’ownwordswhatitmeanstoparentchildrenwithspecialneeds.Wealsodiscusstheitemsofthetoolsinsomedetail.Theseitemsincludecommitmenttothechildren,capacitiestomanageone’sownemotionalresponsiveness,andwillingnesstoengageinservices.Theinstrumentsareattheendofthisdocument.
 
IRASSPage 3 of 75
TheDevelopmentofanAdoptiveParentSelf-SurveyandaStructuredInterviewGuide
Thegoalofthisresearchonwhichthetoolsarebasedwastodevelopatool,anadoptiveparentself‐assessmenttool,thatcouldbeusedbyprospectiveadoptiveparentstohelpthemtopreparethemforthetasksofparentingspecialneedsadoptedchildren.ThecreationtheReadinesstoAdoptSelf‐Survey(RASS)grewfromconversationsamongmembersofanadoptionadvisoryboardaboutaneedforguidelinesforassessingprospectiveadoptiveparents’willingnessandcapacitiestoparentchildrenwithspecialneeds.Parentingthesechildreninvolveshavingmorethanordinaryparentingskillsandresources.Wedevelopedtwotools:theReadinesstoAdoptSelf‐Survey(RASS)andtheInterviewfortheReadinesstoAdoptSelf‐Survey(IRASS).Webasedthesetoolsoninformationweobtainedfromadoptiveparentsandadoptionprofessionals.Specifically,usingresearchandtheoryweusedtheinformationobtainedfromindividual,couple,andfocusgroupinterviewsthatweconductedwithadoptiveparentsandfocusgroupinterviewswithadoptionprofessionals.WereconstructedthatinformationintotheRASS,atoolforadoptiveparents,andtheIRASS,atoolforadoptionprofessionals.TheRASS,asitstitlestates,isaself‐surveydesignedtohelpprospectiveadoptiveparentsreflectupontheirwillingnessandcapacitiestoparentadoptivechildrenwithspecialneedsandtoidentifyparents’strengthsaswellastheirareasforgrowth.Thetoolallowsparentstodoself‐reflectionabouttheircapacitiesandwillingnesswithoutfearofbeingjudgedbyadoptionprofessionals.TheIRASSisastructuredinterviewthatparallelsthetopicsintheRASS.AdoptionprofessionalsconductthisinterviewafterparentshavecompletedtheRASSandhavediscussedtheirresponseswithsignificantothers.Adoptionprofessionalscanofferparentssupport,counsel,referralfortraining,andotherformsofself‐developmentinordertopreparethemtowelcomechildrenwithspecialneedsintotheirfamilies.
ChildrenwithSpecialNeeds
SincethepassageoftheAdoptionandSafeFamiliesAct(ASFA)of1997,thenumberoffosterchildrenplacedforadoptionfrompublicsocialserviceagencieshasalmostdoubled,from28,000to51,000(Testa,2004).However,thenumberofchildreneligibleforadoptionstillexceedsthenumberplaced;asmanyas128,000childrenwereeligibleforadoptionin1999.Thesechildrenlingeringinfostercarearemorelikelytobechildrenofcolororolderchildrenthanthosechildrenwhoareadopted(Green,2003).Inaddition,theyoftenhavemoreseriousbehavioral,emotional,andmedicalissuesthanchildrenwhohavebeenplacedinadoptivehomes.InDecember2003,PresidentBushsignedintolaw

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