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Fasd fears for our adoptive baby(6 Posts)
We have recently been dually approved as foster carers and adopters - we would like to foster to adopt. We have a toddler at home already so we need to think about his needs as well so we have said that we would want to be considered for children at relatively low risk for foetal alcohol syndrome. We have recently been matched with a young baby and started our introductions this week. Baby is due to move in next week - and is absolutely gorgeous. But a couple of things have come up that have made us a bit nervous and I'd appreciate any thoughts people have. The first concern is that we were originally told that the baby was consideted low risk for fasd - but we found out last week that social workers had actually never asked the mum of she had drunk - they just assumed she hadn't because she 'didn't look like a drinker'. This worried us since the mum didn't find out she was pregnant until she was five months pregnant. The second thing that worried us is that baby has a very pronounced sacral dimple and a recessed chin- both of which I know can be associated with fasd. I simply don't know how common either of these things are. Does the existence of these two birth defects in a baby where mum didn't know till late that she was pregnant sound 'high risk' for fasd? Or are these such common birth defects that I shouldn't read too much into it? The other info we have is that baby doesn't have any other obvious facial features of alcohol exposure and birth mum does not appear to be an alcoholic. But other than that we don't have much to go on. I know of course that non-one can give a diagnosis via a forum but if anyone has any experience with these issues and can give me any info about risk I'd really appreciate it.
Do you definitely feel unable to parent a child with any form of FASD? If you don't feel able to take the risk at all, so ruling out all children where mum drank alcohol, then that will mean few children are right for you, but maybe there's something else you offer, and that's ok. But some alcohol is very common, and no one can tell the risk, unless the child is very obviously FAS early on, as much of it comes out later.
What is it about FASD that panics you, more than all the other uncertainty with a FtA child?
Many thanks for replying Thomas. No, it is not that we feel unable to parent a child with fasd - but given our circumstances (we have another young child and both have very busy jobs) and after careful discussion with our social worker, we have agreed that we would be best suited to a baby where the risk of fasd is relatively low. Similarly we have said that we would not be suitable for a child with down syndrome or with other known disorder likely to lead to learning disabilities. On the other hand risks that we feel able to take on include opiate exposure, sensory impairments or physical impairment. Of course we know that there are always risks with any baby but as part of the process of preparing to adopt you are encouraged to be quite explicit about what risks you feel able to take on and what risks you would be less suitable for. This of course does not mean that if a child we adopt did turn out to have fasd that we would not be able to parent him/her - but just that after careful reflection we feel that we are best suited to a child who is not at high risk for this. We have a nephew who does have fasd and is wonderful and doing really well so it is not the case that we are panicked by it - we just want to be really responsible about what we take on. Hope that makes sense.
Any info on birth defects and how likely they are (or not) to be related to alcohol exposure gratefully received.
Going to Pm you for confidentiality reasons
I'm not sure anyone is going to be able to risk stratify based on those defects. I fully respect saying "we can do this, we can't do that", but alcohol is legal, so widespread, and the signs and symptoms of fas/fasd can come quite late. The medical adviser should help risk stratify for you.
Its really hard to tell. Some children with fas don't have the facial clues. I have taught 2 children who were adopted and they both struggled in school despite having been adopted at a very young age. They weren't poorly behaved and didn't have obvious learning difficulties that meant that they couldn't be in mainstream school, but they were the least academically able. Interestingly they also really struggled socially and in maintaining friendships and often wanted to be with adults. Howver, I have also taught another child who was adopted and you really wouldn't have known. I have two friends who have adopted and one I think may not be as academically strong while the other seems bright. My point is, just like birth children you just can't tell. I think the first two did have some sort of alcohol damage by not enough to be diagnosed.
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