For the majority of the world, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is misunderstood and often judged. But, there are powerful truths that can change your life when you understand, and embrace them.
That’s the word that comes to mind when I think about FASD. Anger.
I’m angry at a broken world where addiction runs rampant, angry that we’ve been forced to accept a new normal, angry at the numerous therapists, doctors, and authorities who’ve downplayed or disagreed with my child’s diagnosis over the years, angry at a world that judges before seeking the truth, and angry when I think about the missing pieces of my child’s life.
We’ve often been asked how we made it through 9 years of foster parenting and 14 years as adoptive parents. Our answer is simple: We have a great support system of people who help keep us going. But how do you find a support system like this?
“You’re going to be alright…this is going to be alright,” our friend said to us. “I know it feels like a dead-end street but there’s hope. I’m here for you!”
She was right. More importantly, she was there. Those were two things we were certain of. In our darkest moment on the journey, she looked at us with eyes of compassion, a spirit that understood, and a gentle smile that said “I get it.” We found the strength we needed to get up and keep moving.
Everyone knows the Holiday season can be stressful. When you’re raising a child with major food issues, the stress can be insurmountable. How do you successfully navigate a season filled with foods that your child cannot have?
One Hour Ago.
My son is an hour into a full on rage. Our family room is littered with previously folded laundry. He has tipped the piano bench over and the toy box is now teetering on the edge of the couch. With the Christmas tree clutched in his fist, he is threatening to break every ornament. My husband and I have chosen not to engage. We are sitting at the dining room table with our laptops open pretending to work. We are messaging back and forth. Encouraging one another to keep our cool. We will not intervene unless he is going to hurt himself or someone else. We glance up every so often to see his eyes darting back and forth between his mess, us and the front door. “I’ll run away!” He screams. “I’ll miss you.” I say. It’s the first word we’ve spoken since we found the cookies and candy canes jammed into the pockets of his dress pants. We have an agreement with him that if a rage like this ever happens again he will be responsible for cleaning up every last item. He will also be responsible for earning money to pay for any items that are damaged.