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Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on adoption.


Born addicted

42 replies

hidingbehindatearfulsmile · 22/04/2015 18:17

hello all,

sorry if this is a longish post. I am an occasional poster and frequent lurker, but have changed my name for this post.

I was contacted last week about the possibility of adopting a LO. LO has been born with a dual addition to Cocaine and Heroin, was about a month early but is progressing well.

In my professional life I work with addicts and people in recovery, so my knowledge and understanding is quite extensive. I also have a broad awareness from research of the potential impact on LO.

I would really appreciate some thoughts on the below questions, as I plan to meet with child's SW and want to ensure I am informed.

What vague language should I be looking for in the profile which might indicate any problems?

Is there any reliable current research I should be trying to read. Beyond what Google throws up?

What types of questions should I be asking the child's social worker. Medical report contains very little information due to child's age.

Should I be asking to meet with a medical expert when everything is progressing well?

I am trying very hard not to get carried away with the idea of parenting this little stranger, but it is hard even though I have not seen a picture and have limited details. I know it is the idea of being a parent rather than LO which is making my emotions go all over the place but any tips on keeping my feet on the ground and my head out of the clouds would be appreciated.

Thank you

OP posts:
Chev123 · 22/04/2015 18:26

How old is LO now?

Kazza299 · 22/04/2015 19:16

Can't be much help but we saw medical advisor early on as part of the course, not because of any particular issues so don't think that would be an issue x x good luck x x

Potatoaddict · 22/04/2015 19:40

Hi, our DS (3) had history of canabis pre-natal, not a big problem generally. However we still asked to see the medical specialist as there were things in the report that didn't make sense I.e. "No behavioural problems" then "prone to hitting, screaming, biting" etc. I would ask to see the doctor regardless of how they're progressing as they give so much more detail then in the report and can explain longer term potential problems, and look out for slightly miss matching accounts, obviously harder when they're younger.
Also remember the reports are written by social workers with no medical training so they may not always understand what has been written / told to them.
Good luck

Mama1980 · 22/04/2015 19:42

My youngest dd is adopted and she was born addicted have to put my babies to bed now but I'll be back and will reply later.

UnidentifiedSighingObject · 22/04/2015 19:55

Oo, exciting times, but you must have a million questions! I guess I would ask:

  • any previous siblings, and whether they developed any particular issues that you'd want to look out for in this LO
  • any details about BM's health etc during the pregnancy and generally, to give an indication of whether there are additional risks
  • any parental medical history (learning disability, mental health, long-term conditions) that are considered to be risks for the LO
  • the degree of alcohol use during the pregnancy (which might be low, but might be a concern if BM had more than one addiction)

I would ask to meet the medical advisor, or have a phone discussion, because you just get much more from speaking to them in person, and then you can ask them open questions like "What are your expectations for this LO at the moment, and in their later life?" You may also be able to get more detail about how they're progressing in hospital, and any things that have been picked up by the people caring for them day in day out. Another reason that I would really try and talk directly with the medical advisor, is because your SW may well not have enough medical expertise to correctly interpret the details. My SW didn't mention a fairly serious medical issue, because they didn't understand the acronym, so just skipped over it!

In terms of "red flag language", I'm guessing the profile will say "prospective adopters will need to accept a high degree of uncertainty about this child..."? That's going to be the case for most very young children available for adoption, and your reaction to that is entirely personal. I hope you have positive and productive conversations with the SW and medical advisor, and that you get all the information you need to make your decision. Good luck!
hidingbehindatearfulsmile · 22/04/2015 21:54

Thank you all for your swift responses.

LO is 5 mths, so I know there will be a lot of uncertainty but want to be sure I get an honest perspective. I always expected a lot of uncertainty and because of my experiences expected to parent a child born addicted, there was a lot of focus on my experiences during assessment.

kazza potato I will take your advice on board and ask to see medical advisor. I want to make sure that as I am familiar with addiction and recovery in my professional world I don't make assumptions in my personal life.

potato I am off to read the report again to check for any contrary or mis matching info.

mama thanks I appreciate any thoughts.

unidentified thanks for your comments I will use them all.

My heart has made the decision, but I do want to make sure my head is aligned. The last thing this LO needs is someone who is not able to meet their needs, whilst I think I can I do want to try and make sure I am not totally blinkered! I also desperately want to make a good impression on LO's SW when we meet in 2 weeks. Having some research to do will keep me busy and stop the fantasys life I am currently building in my imagination

OP posts:
SummerHouse · 22/04/2015 22:04

Good god you sound like you will be an amazing mum. Sorry. No good for keeping your feet on the ground but I could not help but say that. Good luck op. Flowers

fasparent · 22/04/2015 23:49

Have looked after many many new born's with such problems over the years, all have had development delays most low in weight some just over a few pounds. All have caught up and surpassed expectations with no significant damage, except may be vocal hence reasons why there crying is high pitched and growl rather than coo, coo which again levels too normal with in a few months, one has too be aware as too prevent it becoming a habit which can result in voice development (high pitched vocals)not too bad in girls but not for boys.
Lots however will depend on Type of substance abuse taken, Alcohol, Crystal Meth's, being the most damaging too the foetus. Others often no lasting effect. Would ask for hospital Drug test readings and results, and anti viral test results (HIV). and if they were positive has baby received recommended and now statutory preventative 6 week anti viral treatment.
Would be in red book.

CloserToFiftyThanTwenty · 22/04/2015 23:53

I'd ask about post adoption support if LO's needs prove to be more extensive than anticipated

fasparent · 22/04/2015 23:58

If Anti viral test was positive would take usual two more test too obtain final result of negative after child 1st birthday.

Onelittlepiglet · 23/04/2015 00:01

I don't have any advice but this thread reminded me of this wonderful thread in mumsnet classics which might be worth a read...

drug dependent baby, advice needed

You are a wonderful person!

Dancing12345 · 23/04/2015 00:03

Good luck with your link OP. I am sure your thread is helpful to many and with that in mind can I ask you fasparent. When you say "all have caught up and surpassed expectations with no significant damage" can I ask at what age did you know them up until and was this only when alcohol was definitely not in the picture? Thank you.

Maryz · 23/04/2015 00:06

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

fasparent · 23/04/2015 00:36

Dancing 12345 Like all disability there is no direct science, could be linked too any number of causes, we all can only use knowledge and experience
of parenting alongside with support and interventions, too minimise secondary developmental problems later in life.
All is not directly linked too Adopted children but all Children., interventions are on-going respective of any age ., more so if one knows or is aware of child's history

Maryz · 23/04/2015 00:51

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AvaCrowder · 23/04/2015 02:17

Those EMIN threads really made me cry.

QOD · 23/04/2015 03:47

My friends d's was similar. He's 15 now and been/being very very difficult to parent. Turns out he was in scbu for 9 weeks without a parent or foster parent, just the nurses care, which is now thought yo be very affective to the brain development. He would have had wonderful 'care' I'm sure but it's felt no where near as much stimulus (not the right word but I can't think of it ) as an accompanied child would get
He then went to foster care until 15 months which further affected his issues as he has major attachment issues as he bonded beautifully with fm but the was unable to do so with am. He does have a great bond with ad.
He has recently been diagnosed with fas, oppositional défiance & likely aspergers but they've had real struggles.
His adopted sibling by contrast was relinquished and with am and ad from 5 months. Straight to foster care from birth and it was having him that made them realise a lot of the issues and differences with their son. The comparison in relationship and development
If yiu go in with your eyes open it would help.
Just for further info, they were naive in what they asked and didn't know about the 9 weeks in scbu, brief stay was mentioned, it was as things got worse and worse, not better that they pushed for more info and only got this info in the last 7 or 8 yrs.
They love him, but mum seriously wishes they'd had the knowledge and experience to have not accepted the match. His bond with dad is much better .
That's the negative but it doesn't mean your lo will be affected like this but I'd push for info on exactly what happened post birth

hidingbehindatearfulsmile · 23/04/2015 07:33

Morning all,

thank you for your replies. As always I am overwhelmed with the thoughtful and kind words you all share.

I very much want to spend the morning digesting your words and replying. However, I have an overwhelming backlog of work to do, which I need to be in a position to clear ahead of any LO arriving.

I will spend some time reading through your comments and digesting them. As from a quick skim I can see some useful pointers. I will also read through the other thread.

As far as we know Mum was taking crack and Heroin throughout the pregnancy. She has a long history of entrenched drug use, so as many of you may be aware she may not have disclosed full use of others drugs.

Thanks - must dash already late for work Grin

OP posts:
Chev123 · 23/04/2015 07:39

Wow the EMIN thread is emotional but so so helpful on so many levels. Thanks onelittlepiglet for posting link. My eyes are seriously wet! X

Moomoomie · 23/04/2015 13:46

It is worth asking the medical advisor if there is alcohol misuse too, as alcohol is far more damaging to the brain of a foetus. Many birth mums are not only drug dependant but alcohol too, and that is not always talked about.
I have adopted three children, two have FASD, the little one is more damaged. She was born addicted to heroin and had dreadful withdrawing symptoms, so much so she nearly died.
She is now seven.
I'm not sure if you will get a definitive answer, as BM are prone to lie about alcohol consumption.
Best wishes.

hidingbehindatearfulsmile · 23/04/2015 19:24

summer thanks am sure I will get plenty wrong lots to Lear Grin

fasparent that's really helpful especially about anti viral tests and red book. Medical report contains no information, I have heard people say that but did not know how shocking they could be. I suspect as drug use is so entrenched that whilst heroin and crack are known - others will have been used when they were not available including I am sure alcohol. I have worked with young adults with fas so am preparing myself to expect the unexpected. Just need to make sure I dot the i's and cross the t's.

closer was anxious about asking about post adoption support it is now on the list!

onelittle just sat and read link! Wow what a story, I have sobbed and sobbed. That's a truly wonderful lady! If my life touches and inspires so many I would be amazed! Thanks for the link I did learn from it lots of useful info I have made some notes of questions to ask. Also made me feel terrible for the FC of my potential LO and have considerably more empathy for how my decision may impact on them.

dancing pleased if it helps others Grin but that's thanks to everyone else knowledge.

marz I will look at EMIN's other threads, over the weekend with tissues at the ready!

QOD that's helpful thank you. I do want to think this through fully, more used to difficult teenage young adults because of professional life but does remind me of what I could be bringing into my personal.

moomoomie will do thanks

At the moment it is a 100% yes from me given all the uncertainty and risks something feels right about LO. Need to meet SW hope they take to me and I feel the same when I have some more details. Sadly the SW cannot meet me for a few weeks, so I will wait and drive myself crazy overthinking it Grin

OP posts:
Maryz · 23/04/2015 20:37

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

QOD · 23/04/2015 23:01

My friend has regrets :( she honestly wanted to give up about 4 years ago but her dh rightly / wrongly (who am I to judge) won't because the d's bonded and attached to daddy very quickly

hidingbehindatearfulsmile · 24/04/2015 07:08

That's really sad for your friend and for her family. I hope she is getting the right support - it sounds like she is from you as you clearly care

OP posts:
Mama1980 · 24/04/2015 09:07

Hi I posted up thread that my youngest dd was born addicted, her bm also abused alcohol during her pregnancy. My situation is unusual in that my dd was placed in my care at birth with bm consent the adoption order was granted by 7 months. (I already had custody of her elder birth sibling) so I was lucky in a way in that I was there literally from birth so could talk to the drs and witness her care personally.
Initial questions would be what drugs was bm using? Was she also abusing alcohol? Does baby show any physical signs of FAS? Did baby go through withdrawal and how did they react? Every baby is different and no two react or adapt if you like the same way.
It maybe a little early but I would also ask about comforting. My dd had this awful high pitched scream that could not be comforted for a long while, sadly that's pretty typical and according to drs pretty indicative of some form of affect to the brain. She was also unbelievably clingy again quite typical but no two babies are the same. ( if you search my username on here I have several threads in adoption that talk about this issue and the oath I took to get here)
The most important thing I'd say is remember that everything is uncertain, no two babies will be the same the effects of drugs and alcohol are so little understood really and unquantifiable.
I would ask to speak to the drs as well, so much is missed by ss not necessarily purposely but due to lack of knowledge.
Also as FAS parent mentioned viral lode tests cannot be given as clear until at least over a year, something to bear in mind. My dd didn't finally test all negative until a couple of months ago.
I would also ask to see the red book asap.
St Thomas' has a pretty good web section on infants born with drug dependency and links to some good scholarly articles.
My dd is now 17 months and the screaming has stopped, she's developmentally on target and absolutely amazing. Grin But she is also showing some physical characteristics of FAS and no Dr can tell me for certain what the future will hold.
I also took her to see a clinical psychologist as recommended in post adoption support, who were fab but I needed up paying myself as the wait was too long otherwise. So I would definitely ask about post adoption support, timescales and funding for such help if necessary. Get it in writing if you can.
I wish you all the best. I don't regret my decision for a second but I also know others who have really struggled.
If you have any questions I maybe able to help with please feel free to ask. I hope any of that is useful Smile

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