It’s often a dreaded adventure for foster and adoptive parents: summer travel. Or any travel, for that matter. Often, we wonder, is it worth it? Maybe we’re safer just staying home? We’re here to tell you, it is worth it. And here’s why…
Living far from family means we travel occasionally. Four kids requires extra care when traveling on an airplane. Four kids with trauma and sensory issues requires extra, extra care when traveling on an airplane. Four kids, with medical needs, and trauma and sensory issues requires extra, extra, extra care when traveling on an airplane.
You never anticipate the emotions you will feel when you receive an official diagnoses for your child. You realize that a lot is going to change. But there is a way to let go of normal and accept your new reality.
No one ever starts out on their parenting journey thinking that their child will have special needs. Especially one that will make school and social interaction difficult. And yet, it happens. And we grieve. We adjust our life’s trajectory, and then we learn to accept our new normal. We eventually stop holding on to the ideals we had, and rather fall in love with the reality of our precious baby girl or boy. Our beautiful child who has special needs.
When you’re a foster or adoptive parent, you simply can’t walk into any pediatrician or therapist’s office and expect them to understand your child, or your family dynamic. So, how do you find the right provider?
Her words were gold (at least to us). “Well, I’m not sure if the behavior you’re seeing could be triggered by specific ingredients in foods and medicines, but, I’ll find out.” I’ll find out. She might as well have said, I’m on your side no matter what. To a couple of parents who had become accustomed to having doors slammed in our face (both figurative and literal), when we brought up the idea that our child’s disorder and the ingredients in foods may be a bad combination, this was a beam of light in the dark.
Parenting children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders can often feel hopeless and void of answers. In the debut of Season 5, Mike and Matt discuss practical strategies to help parents form a plan and find answers.
There are an estimated 40,000 infants born every year with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. As we’ve mentioned many times the past on this blog and podcast, this is a disorder that is widely misunderstood and even judged. But there is new light being shed on the subject and it’s helping parents find resources and answers. We know how difficult it is day in and day out, to parent a son or daughter who suffers from this disorder. That’s why we’ve dedicated this episode to walking through some very practical and helpful strategies to help parents, on the journey of foster care and adoption, who feel helpless and hopeless as they parent children with FASD.
When you’re the parent of a child with mental illness, you understand dark places, and you find encouragement from the most unlikely people, in the most unlikely places. Strangers become friends, acquaintances become brothers and sisters, wounded parents on the same road as you, become comrades.
I hear the cold click as the steel door latches behind me. My hand slips into my pocket. I don’t need the key yet but I pull it out anyway. I begin twirling it between my thumb and forefinger. I notice the woman in front of me.
The elevator is taking an unreasonably long time to travel between the floors. It gives me time to really look at her. She is nicely dressed and pretty. Her dainty ballet flats compliment her tall lean frame. She has on delicate silver hoop earrings that accent her neatly straightened hair. Under different circumstances, I might be a little envious.
It’s not easy to parent a child with FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder). Ask any one of us who are in this trench…keeping our cool when we’re pushed to the edge daily, is an uphill climb. How can we successfully parent our children when every day is a fierce battle?
The power of calm:
I’m standing at the kitchen sink scrubbing potatoes and enjoying the happy sounds of my sons’ giggles drifting through the open window. That’s when I hear the low growl of unhappiness. Undetectable to most, it is my first warning sign that something is wrong. I turn to see our 7-year-old standing on the driveway, just beneath the window. His arms and legs are ridged at his sides. His fists are clenched tight and his gaze is sternly fixed on something non-existent. I can almost reach his soft blonde hair from my perch but I know I must not reach out yet. I grab a dishtowel as I exit the backdoor.
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.
The foster care and adoption journey brings many trials and tricky balancing acts. One of the biggest is the balance between sharing your child’s story and protecting their privacy.
My husband and I struggle with balancing honesty and privacy. As adoptive parents we respect the privacy of each child’s personal story. It is their own to tell…or not. Our top priority is to protect. But, as writers our top priority is to share. We have found strength in building relationships with others who have similar families. That bond is priceless. It is our desire to share some of our struggles with others so that they may find that strength.