Telling people that the children are adopted.(15 Posts)
I have reluctantly written a letter today to my youngest daughters Rainbow leader.
Dd2 and 3 both have FASD.
The trouble is that it is very difficult to tell people that is their diagnosis and not say they are adopted!
Not many people are aware that our girls are adopted, very
Much a need to know basis, so, when dd3 started Rainbows I told the leader she had a condition similar to ADHD, as many people recognise this condition.
I have always felt the leader was not very understanding or supportive to her behaviours, and it came to a head today when the leader said something along the lines of " time to grow up "
So, I decided that nobody will ever understand FASD if we are not prepared to stand up and talk about it.
I hope the letter and leaflet I enclosed will help her leader to understand dd3 better.
I would not share such information with the leaders. You can just tell them that they have learning difficiulties or diagnosed medical needs and so their behaviour is not unusual with that diagnosis, and the leaders need to accomodate that. You arenot forced ot explina what they have specifically or why - it is no-one else's business unless your DD ar athreat to other children, which I very much doubt.
I have just reread your post, and you have decided to tell them about FASD which is good and brave, as long as you know the leader will handle that info sensitively. Round here, you could not be sure of that, and the brownie leader sounds very similar to yours.
I have no knowledge whatsoever to base this on but I do have 3 DD who have all been through rainbows and brownies.
Moomoomie I agree with whodunnit (not because I have any specific experiene of talkative Brownie or Rainbow leaders, I found our ones very nice) but because if you say FAS you either leave the leader thinking you drank in pregnancy and caused the condition (which you did not, obviously!) or you could say your child is adopted.
I know a lady whose adopted child was quite a handful and she found it difficult at church with everyone knowing that he had been adopted and so moved church and didn't tell people he had been adopted. She just explained what his behaviour was like and how to deal with it without explaining exactly what his condition was.
Your child has a medical condition you did not cause, if I were in your shoes (in my humble opinion) I would not want the leaders to think I was responsible for the condition and I may well not want to tell people they had been adopted, although I am not sure about that one. I know a lot of people in my area and have no plans to move so if/when our little one is placed I expect most people I bump into will know that my child is not a birth child.
Anyway, is it possible to just describe her behaviour, the fact it is caused by problems in her brain which happened when she was in vitro (I am not sure if this is an accurate descritpion of FAs but if it is anywhere like the truth this would be enough for me as a lay person to know what it means). I am not technical medical terms would help the individual person to understand it more.
I think it is totally your call here and you will have to decide what is best but I would be careful how much you say because you can always add more information but can never take it away, IYSWIM.
According to this website
(don't know if you know this one, I just had a quick look) no amount of alcohol is safe in pregnancy.
I certainly do not think people know that at all! They know you should not drink or drink much but some people may not now for weeks or even a couple of months that they are actually pregnant.
Is it true that it is not necessarily alcoholics or women who drink excessively in pregnancy that may cause FAS?
If so and if you do decide to tell people that your child has FAS and not that they have been adopted then I think it would be helpful to you get accross the message that it is not necessarily alcoholics or women who drink excessively in pregnancy that may cause FAS.
If it only affects the pregnancy of women who drink excessively then you are kind of labelling yourself as that, which I think would be difficult for your Brownie leader to understand, it may affect the amount of credance she give to your opinons and in a way to the amount of help she is willing to give if she loses empathy with your child. Does that make sense?
Anyway, not sure if I am making sense.
Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
I'm going to disagree slightly but with the caveat that I don't know this leader so I think your own experience of her would be a better guide.
I don't have a problem with explaining to an adult in a position of authority that DS is adopted in order to explain some of his behavior. I think there is a danger that you tie yourself up in knots trying to explain without referring to the adoption and end up lying by omission. I also subsequently can't remember what I've said to whom.
Whodunnit is right it is nobodies business except yours and your children but on the flipside, it isn't anything to be ashamed of or secretive about and where it helps their understanding of a situation I have in the past explained his adoption.
The problem I guess is that Brownie leaders are not professionals in the same way that teachers, doctors etc are so you need to rely on theor personal discretion more than their professional duties.
You can ignore some of what I say because DS's adoption was very well known where we live because it was unusual so we have never had the luxury of privacy. Adoption knowledge here is more about managing peoples comments than keeping it private (to be fair we don't hear many comments these days - I rode out most of the storm when DS was too young to remember it).
I come to this from the point of view of a parent and a cub leader.
As a parent, I'm reluctant to share the fact that my children are adopted with others, though I did always tell class teachers in case the topic came up in school. As they got older I realised that it wasn't such a big deal, most people knew, the kids were open about it and so it became easier to talk about.
Though I still don't mention it if it isn't relevant to the conversation - yesterday a parent at school commented on how like me dd is and I didn't feel the need to say "she isn't really like me, but that's because she is adopted".
But as a leader, it is important that a child who appears to behave "badly" is supported by their parents, and part of that support is giving us the information so that we can deal appropriately with the child. For example, it is useless to deal with a child with Asperger's discipline-wise in the same way as we would deal with a NT child. If the behavioural issues and effective methods of dealing with FAS are the same as ADHD, then you can avoid the issue by saying "she has ADHD". If, however, you have to explain that it is FAS in order for them to be able to manage her appropriately I don't think you can avoid mentioning adoption.
I suppose our cub group might be a bit different in that we take in a lot of children with varying SN, including many who have been rejected by other groups. But scouting and guiding are meant to be inclusive and the leaders should be bending over backwards to support children with SN of any kind. They can't do that if they don't know the facts.
And, re-reading your point about speaking up about FASD - that is a very valid point.
Teachers/sports coaches/youth leaders all now know what ADHD is, and many of them bend over backwards to make allowances and deal with behaviour rather than punishing it. Knowledge is increasing of other SN, for example AS and OD.
The spread of knowledge comes from parents who are brave enough to speak up. To state that their child isn't "naughty" or "bad" and to go to great lengths to explain effective management of their children. I suppose we all have a responsibility to educate others so we can improve the world for our children, and also for children yet to come.
You speaking to this leader will hopefully help your dd. But it might also help some future rainbow coming along behind.
I think you are right to be open about it.
Jaysus, those posts were a bit long
I wouldn't hesitate to tell the leader and I have always told anyone in authority that my DD is adopted. My DD is comfortable with being adopted and we are totally open with her.
I think if you feel the leader needs to be told about their medical condition then I would mention the adoption
I'm not an adopter, but I do do some children's work, and if I were your daughter's group leader, I think that knowing a little bit about her condition would help me to cut her a bit of slack. I think I would want to know what things she finds difficult and what strategies are good for helping her at these times. Maybe also agree what can be said to the other children to explain why DD's 'misbehaviour' is treated differently from theirs, and how much the other leaders and helpers need to know.
It's not her right to know, but as Kew said, nothing about her adoption or her FASD is shameful, so going with the truth seems simpler. And while it's not your job to educate the world about FASD, I imagine that having more people around who understand will only help your DDs.
Agree with Kew's point about this being predicated on trusting the leader's personal discretion.
Mind you, I did go through a stage at the beginning of telling EVERYONE who looked at me that she was adopted
I'm a brownie leader and if we are aware of a child's specific needs then we work with the parents to accommodate and be as inclusive as possible
Previously we had a teenage volunteer who provided 1-1 during meetings for one of our girls, they built a fantastic relationship and the volunteer is now studying to become a SEN teacher
However we have also had an instance with one member who very clearly had SEN and her parents didn't tell us, they just told us she was a little shy -because we then had no strategies to support her we felt like we were letting her down
In guiding we are volunteers but there is a support system for guiders to ensure we are inclusive -every county has a SEN advisor for example
If I was your daughter's guider I would want to work with you to include your dds
If your children understand that they are adopted I would also welcome that information, the same way as I do blended families, as it does lead to better understanding
I'm generally with kew on this, though of course there are no right and wrong answers just what works for your family. My family cannot pass ad 'normal' and people will always wonder whether dd 2 is adopted or a sperm bank baby or the product of an illicit heterosexual fling. To some extent I think that some parental openness within our local community helps because then parents can explain things at home and reduce the barrage of questions my kids have to deal with. I always tell my dd's caregivers she is adopted and what this might mean.
IGH, that website is in line with UK policy that no amount of alcohol is safe in pregnancy but it is highly disingenuous. It is true that there is no sound evidence that low or even moderate levels of drinking are harmful but that is because the ethical barriers stop that research being carried out. I guess there is a strong incentive for birth mothers of babies with fas to downplay their consumption but I think doctors generally agree that you have to give it some welly to get FAS.
Thank you all for your replies.
I have said in the letter she has FASD and is adopted. I am in no way ashamed that my three girls are, i just remember telling some people that dd1 was when she started school, and lots of mothers were then very weird towards me and her. So this time around I decided that it was dd3 story to tell.
We live in a fairly small town, so it is not as though nobody at all knows.
I had been reading on the website for the church were Rainbows is, that, they support adoption and were part of a new church/ adoption initiative.
As mary said, the fact the leader knows may help other young girls in the future.
It is such a difficult decision, hopefully it won't backfire.
I understand the point about "it's nobody's business" but I am with Kew and the others who have urged you towards openness. I have two transracially adopted children who clearly are not genetically related to me so we are forced in to being open about adoption. I try to make a virture of that. It means we can talk about adoption openly without shame. Anything that is secret usually carries an element of shame. Adoption is not a secret that my children have to decide who they share it with and who not. How much of their story they share and with whom is a trickier balance and one that we are all negotiating as they grow.
I understand that sharing about FAS is a different thing again and to some extent must come down to how much you trust the person. I hope you find what works for you...
I am another in favour of openness, for reasons said above.
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