Friday, July 24, 2009


Last night I attended a class (support group) with a speaker from the Minnesota Organization for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Most of the people there had already adopted children that have been diagnosised with FASD or some other similier syndrome. We watched a movie that showcased four children affected by fetal alcohol exposure and their adoptive parents. The speaker talked about her two adopted children that have both been affected also and many participants shared parts of their stories. I have read about it and learned about it at my agency but this is the first time I have met real parents and children affected by it.
To be honest, it was pretty scary.
The kids were actually all very cute and mostly loving but they really had some bad moments and they required very different parenting than "regular" kids. The most scary part to me was when they grow up to teen and adult years--these are kids that will be affected their whole lives and will not accomplish the typical dreams that all parents have for thier children (graduate from college, get a good job, get married,and have a family). They may accomplish some of these things and live on their own successfully but in a different way than our normal dreams for them.
All of the parents were amazing and seemed to deal with this with great calmness, lots of love, and even some humor. But..they did express how hard it was and how important it was for them to have some support also. All the parents stated that they would absolutely choose the same children over again even knowing everything upfront.
I do worry about this--mostly my worries are for the child. I know that I could handle some difficult times and would do what I need to do but I don't want my child to have to go through such tough times and I would mourn the loss of those dreams I talked about. I also worry about who would help her when I am gone.
But..I am still glad I went. Children adopted from foster care in the US and children from Russia have a very high liklihood of some fetal alcohol exposure (there are all different degrees) so it is good to be knowledgeable. I do believe that Knowledge is power and the unkown is far more fearful than being prepared.
Although though I hope I never need them, it is good to know an organization like this exists if I ever do.


Kimberly said...

sounds like a great organization! But I hear ya - I feel the same way - how would I ever handle it? how would I be enough?

Karen said...

I am very familiar with this fantastic organization as we were considering adopting a Russian boy whom we were hosting back in the summer of 2006. He was diagnosed with FAS by Dr. Johnson. Although I already had fallen in love with this cute boy of seven I had to turn down the referral. Being older parents with little family support, I worried who would care for him after we were gone. It was the most pain wrenching decision of my life. It took nearly nine months before I was ready to start the adoption process again. My husband was also angry at his birth mother who had abused alcohol. In the end, this boy did find a forever family here in Minnesota. I constantly pray for his family that they have the strength, support and love to parent Vova. Although I love Garrett with all my heart, I still miss and think about Vova.