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FASD

(18 Posts)
AdoptAdapt Sun 10-Feb-19 20:51:00

I've been posting with another username but couldn't remember my login details after the Great Data Breach from last week so here's another username.

Anyway, I'm in the middle of Stage 2 and my SW and I have gone through the list of what I think I could and could not deal with - disabilities, specific traumas, etc. When it came to FAS I said no, but my SW suggested that the majority of children who are taken into care are affected by this and that it would be difficult for me to adopt a child who wasn't on the spectrum with this.

I'd like to know other adopters thoughts on this (potential adopters and adoptive parents) and, if you have experience of adopting a child with FAS I'd be interested in how it's been for you, if you're open to sharing.

OP’s posts: |
donquixotedelamancha Sun 10-Feb-19 21:27:07

If you can't cope with FASD, then you probably shouldn't adopt. Most parents who abuse drugs or live chaotic lifestyles also abuse alcohol.

FASD is completely unpredictable. There is evidence of a couple of drinks sometimes causing damage and yet kids of raging alcoholics 'don't have FASD'. The range of possible severity and symptoms is huge.

The mechanisms are complex and poorly understood, so it's likely lots of kids in the general population are undiagnosed. I would assume almost all adopted babies and toddlers are at some risk- even if the profile says not.

My kids were both horrendously pickled in utero and don't show any developmental delay (quite the opposite). DD2 has the physical signs and DD1 is a PITA which could be related, but it's likely we may never get a formal diagnosis. They are wonderful, normal kids and adopting them has been the best thing I've ever done. Maybe its this hard (oh god it's hard some days) because of in utero factors, but mostly the hardest bit of having kids is having kids.

I'd certainly think you can avoid profiles with severe diagnosed FASD, but you need to be able to reconcile yourself to the possibility of hard times and this is one of the main possible causes.

AdoptAdapt Sun 10-Feb-19 21:40:12

Thanks for replying so quickly! I appreciate it. smile

I think what I'm learning is that it IS complex - I've been so busy so far learning about attachment issues / therapeutic parenting etc that I don't think I quite realised the prevalence of FAS.

As part of trying to educate myself I've met several adopters and their children - but they all believe their children haven't been affected by their birth mother's drinking (or so far, anyway), which is why I'm posting on here for a more rounded viewpoint. You're right - if I don't think I can cope then I shouldn't adopt. Hence trying to find out more to see if I think I can!

Your children sound lovely. I wasn't aware that a child could show the physical signs but not be developmentally delayed - I didn't consider it could be that unpredictable.

Thanks for taking the time to reply.

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Woollysocks18 Sun 10-Feb-19 21:59:37

We were told during assessment that there will always be the chance of FASD even if BM says she did not drink when pregnant (which isn't very fair to BMs). It seems to be hard to diagnose too, particularly in very young children and for that reason they will always note it as a potential health issue (if I'm being cynical I'd say to cover themselves).

Our LO was old enough for significant developmental delays to be apparent so the risk was much lower than if we had been matched with a newborn or much younger child. I guess it's the same as many things, we may never know and can only make a decision based on the information available and the willingness to deal with whatever may become apparent in the future.

I have to say I found the part you are describing one of the hardest parts of the process. In the end we said we would consider nearly everything as the range is so vast, but we were very set in our own minds about what we knew we could / could not deal with.

Best of luck with the rest of the process.

AdoptAdapt Mon 11-Feb-19 10:02:42

Wolllysocks, thanks for replying. It's so difficult. I think I've always been aware that FASD was in the background, but I've been so focussed on the attachment side of things - because that's what my SW has been talking about - that it's only now that I've recently been thinking abotuy FASD. These poor kids: what a lot to deal with at such a young age.

You're right about the willingness side of things. Of course, I'd do anything for my child - in many ways, I feel like I am by putting myself through this process! - and I know I'd be able to cope emotionally. It's more the practical side of things, being able to work further down the line, potential home schooling, etc... I'm reading so many stories - real ones, not sugar coated ones - and trying to figure out how I could deal with each as a single adopter. It's not easy.

How old was your LO when they came home and how are you all doing now?

OP’s posts: |
Woollysocks18 Mon 11-Feb-19 11:41:37

Yes I think we were very similar when we started to research, it's a mind field of info and there is still very little known about it. I was also surprised at schezophrenia (no idea how to spell) that also does not become apparent until much later in life.

Our LO was just under 3 and has been with us around 6 months. He has no known health issues and at the time of matching was thriving in his foster home. He really was the perfect child on paper but the move has been very difficult for him and that is where behaviour is starting to come out now. We are very lucky to have good support, both in our own circle and from our LA. I guess what I'm saying is that you are never going to get an easy ride, but I think you know that already. FASD is just another thing to throw into the mix.

howmanyusernames Mon 11-Feb-19 13:04:07

I think the statement of 'If you can't cope with FASD, then you probably shouldn't adopt' is a little harsh.
Yes, our children might have FASD...but they also might not! You can't put every adopted child in the same box and say the likelihood of them having FASD is almost certain.
It's like with everything, birth and adopted children may OR MAY NOT have problems as they get older. You just deal with it IF it happens. You just educate yourself, find out all you can so you can be as prepared as you can be.
There was a risk our son might have had HIV and Hepatitis. We looked into this, were happy to deal with things if he did have them, took him home and got the adoption order, but in the end he didn't. But if he had we would have dealt with it.

AdoptAdapt Mon 11-Feb-19 21:51:17

@Woollysocks18 such a minefield of information. My friends are asking how it's going and I'm numb with it all - where to begin, what to tell them, how to make them possibly understand all the different, overlapping paths that lay ahead for both me and my potential child when really, there's nothing to tell them at all! Other than my stage 2 is going well on paper! I think I'm catastrophising at the moment, seeing all the different possible scenarios in their extremes and all together. Your son sounds lovely - wishing you all well and some happy, healthy times together.

@howmanyusernames yes, you're right - the self education is the most important part. I like to be prepared and at the moment it's hard to know what to best be prepared for. So I'm probably blowing my brain up by trying to be prepared for everything. Baby steps, I think. Thank you for replying and good news that your son was clear for both of those. smile

OP’s posts: |
donquixotedelamancha Mon 11-Feb-19 22:40:05

I think the statement of 'If you can't cope with FASD, then you probably shouldn't adopt' is a little harsh.

It was not intended to be harsh. To clarify what I meant:

1. You can't eliminate the risk of FASD, even if it isn't know about at matching.
2. Difficulties of the same magnitude as mild FASD are very common in adoption. Someone who isn't reconciled to this uncertainty isn't ready to adopt.
3. It would be very difficult to get matched with a hard no to mild FASD on your matching criteria; the two reasons given above would put SWs off.

Yes, our children might have FASD...but they also might not! You can't put every adopted child in the same box and say the likelihood of them having FASD is almost certain.

I agree very strongly with this. It's often me saying something similar. What I said in my pp was: "I would assume almost all adopted babies and toddlers are at some risk" which is different- I was saying OP can't assume the risk is zero.

Adopted children are just children. If you just read the stories on adoption forums you'd be forgiven for thinking they are all traumatised, but this risks feeding anti-adoption misconceptions and bigotry. The truth is that the general population contains the same issues it's just that for us the bell curve shifts left a bit and thus the frequency of these challenges increases.

I find that simplistic and sweeping comments about 'all adopted children being damaged' (often justified by a poor understanding of Attachment and FASD) are too common from professionals. Apologies if I was unclear.

fasparent Tue 12-Feb-19 00:22:19

AGREE too much put down too FASD and implications, MY two now adults have fas fasd both diagnosed and were very high on the spectrum with multiple problems. DD weight in at birth 1lb 12oz., congenital heart, central nervous disfunctions, GDD. and more. If we had took notice of negative opinion's of her out come, all would be different. Today age 32 she is in full time employment owns her own house and has her own car, DS the same. Yes they still have FAS FASD a life time condition.
Both have been very brave , Think professional have little knowledge of interventions and possible positive out comes. Yes they will be children effected more profoundly.
We think ours are lucky if they were not Adopted doubt if they would have been diagnosed or received any help. Far more children out there out side of the care system than in the system with FAS FASD.

EightWellies Tue 12-Feb-19 23:59:36

I agree with others that a willingness to just get on with it is essential. Two years ago, DD1 had been home for 3 years and all seemed challengish but well. She then started school, specific difficulties became more clear, and we've been going through the FASD diagnosis process for a year.

I feel glad every day that my two DDs are my kids. It is hard. No dressing that up. But if it's hard for us, what is it like for them? My daughters leave me in awe of how hard you can work to overcome obstacles and they are still little kids. I'm so lucky to be their mum, which doesn't downplay what a bag of shit some days can be.

They are amazing. It's really hard. The only regrets I have is wishing, for them, that they'd both had a better in utero start, but that's the world of adoption really. If they hadn't needed us, they wouldn't be our kids.

Scarfonthestairs Sun 24-Feb-19 15:19:40

Just testing name change

Scarfonthestairs Sun 24-Feb-19 15:30:04

We adopted our son just before he was two. We were told his bm "might have drank a bit" so he might have issues eg telling the time.
At 3 he was showing massive issues but we had no adoption support and he was (and is) very clever so we just thought it's how he was.
At 5 we finally got support and now at 7 we are halfway through fasd diagnosis due to s. Services at last giving us the list that spans two a4 pieces of paper proving bm drank and took drugs throughout the pregnancy.
Ds is very clever is popular and loves school where he mostly contains himself.
He also has obsessions with loss and death, can't tell the difference between story and real, doesn't understand days of the week or time (at all) and has huge violent meltdowns.
I've been off work for 4 months with the stress of it and it has damaged our relationship massively.
I agree that most children have some issue because of how chaotic bm's lifestyle invariably will have been. In hindsight we would much rather have known of the issues because we could have parented them. From the start and asked for help earlier.
I think if we adopted again we'd be very reticent to adopt a "perfect" child. Quite simply because with all they go through I don't think there is such a thing.

PrivacyPolicyYeahRight Sun 24-Feb-19 18:22:01

It’s all to do with risk factors OP. We said no to a child that had known FAS and a range of other conditions.

However...you say no accepting that there is always a risk. I don’t think it is accurate to say that most adopted children will be on that spectrum. Not all birth parents drink, there is just a higher risk.

You have to view it like this: ultimately you would not choose a child knowingly who had FAS. You can minimise the risk by researching the signs and pumping the doctors for information. Also minimise the risk by choosing an older child - there are not as many unknowns. This comes with it’s own risks though. Then, lastly, accept that even though everything might be done to avoid FAS there is still a chance. As much as I hate to compare to birth children, even having a biological child has its own risks.

I always try to be honest on here, rather than present the “ideal”. We love our child very much and if she were to be diagnosed with something now then our love would not change. We would find a way through. We are a few years down the line though. Once you realise they are real little people and not just risks on a piece of paper, it becomes easier.

AdoptAdapt Mon 25-Feb-19 12:23:59

@PrivacyPolicyYeahRight Yes, you're right. I read your post and it's exactly the conclusion I came to, that my love would not change if my child became diagnosed with something and I'd find a way to make sure they (and I) could cope with it. I've definitely accepted that there's a risk now... it took me a couple of weeks to get my head around it all and to feel comfortable with my position on this (and with lots of other things!).

@Scarfonthestairs thank you for your candid post. It sounds like you've had a rollercoaster of a journey and that it's been difficult - I really appreciate you taking the time to share. Once a diagnosis is in place will this change anything with regards to school / parenting strategies / external help? Wishing you all well.

@EightWellies "The only regrets I have is wishing, for them, that they'd both had a better in utero start, but that's the world of adoption really. If they hadn't needed us, they wouldn't be our kids." - this resonated a lot with me. Thank you.

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fasparent Mon 25-Feb-19 23:27:34

Regards Education is a little scant in UK Schools so best too know and be able too point too professionals where they can access training and support. These may be of use www.complexneeds.org.uk see module 1.3 see 7 . Lady in video as 3 adopted children with FAS FASD is also a consultant social worker.
www.teach2learnfasd.
www.fasdoutreach./ca/resources .

fasparent Tue 26-Feb-19 09:37:46

So sorry put on wrong link for FASD school interventions should be www.do2learnfasd

Toomuchgoingon Mon 11-Mar-19 00:50:39

Our Dd has FASD which we were told might be a risk but unlikely. We took the risk and 2 years in got the diagnosis. It was a kick in the guts even though we knew it was coming. Is it challenging?. Oh yes. Are we still glad we adopted her, oh yes. She has been with us 9 years now and is doing well but not what we had planned. She is in mainstream education and is doing pretty well. She gets extra support and thankfully has good teachers. But our life isn't what we planned and our "normal" isn't like others. We adopted again and our D s will have other issues but thankfully not FASD.

It is a whole very wide spectrum and every child will be different depending on when during the pregnancy BM was drinking. Please don't dismiss all children with FASD but don't feel like you have to accept a child that you think you will struggle with. It's hard enough dealing with adoption.

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