Advice I wish I had been given

I think that one of the things I wish that I could pass along to anyone who is thinking of adopting is that they need to make sure they understand why so many of these children are in the system.  I find that so many of the families who are struggling with issues associated with adopted children truly did not have any idea about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), or so many of the other associated physical and mental health concerns.  The facts are that for most of the children who are coming into foster care the reasons are due to addictions, chaotic life and behaviors, mental illness, etc.  So many of these things are not issues that you can just “love” them through.  I know that so many families get told to “take the child home and love them” you can get past it all.  Well sorry that is a lie.  Yes these children need families to love them but they also need families who understand you may love them forever and they may never be able to reciprocate fully.  They may love you but in a way that is forever changed or damaged.  Can you accept this different type of love and an insecure attachment?  For some people yes they can but for some this will be a life of pain to them while they continue to try to “fix” what may be unable to be fixed.

The fact is that with all children you have to look at them, bumps, bruises and all, and be able to just accept them.  What if this is the best you can ever get?  Can you just love them through it?  There will be days when it may feel like it is not possible to keep going with some of the behaviors and anger.  The thing is to remember that this is a brain change.  They (the people affected) cannot help how they react, etc.  We can still work on the behaviors but have to realize that we literally have to do coaching, redirect, redirect, redirect.  Practice the outcomes you want from them.  What do you need for them to do in a particular instance?  Is it a certain behavior or reaction?  This is where you “fake it until you make it”.  It may be practicing empathy… or practicing when it is okay to laugh.  The issues are we expect the child to learn this and for them it may not come automatically the way we think it should.  The stages we expect them to grow out of or into may not happen or at least not when we expect them to.  It may be something that we have to practice with them to get it all to work out for them.  Stop assuming that the child/person understands what they are doing wrong or that society feels they are doing incorrectly.  If you are looking at adoption…EDUCATE yourself.  This is not to talk anyone out of adopting.  I love my children but you do end up walking a path you may not have expected quite often.  Make sure you are prepared with all of the necessary supplies for along the way.  Talk to other people who have been there and have the experiences you are wanting.  They can help you with honest stories and advice.


About fasmom

The adoptive mom to 12 wonderful children who are affected by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and other issues including Reactive Attachment Disorder, bipolar, schizophrenia, CP, epilepsy and oh the list goes on...The thing is these children have taught me things about myself I never knew and would not have missed out on learning. Married to an amazing man and enjoying life on a sheep ranch.
This entry was posted in Adoption, Childhood Mental Health Issues, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Foster Care, Reactive Attachment Disorder, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Advice I wish I had been given

  1. Hannah says:

    This is one of the hardest things about going through our journey. We KNOW there are kids out there that need love. We KNOW that we, as believers, are called to take care of the orphans. We KNOW that if we don’t, who will? But….when you have walked through the journey we have, and gone through the pain of not feeling loving feelings toward a child you have chosen to love forever, when you have been hurt so deeply by the child you have prayed for, and longed for, it is VERY hard to every recommend this journey to anyone else. And yet…here we are. And there are still kids who need SOMEONE.



  2. Chris Branden says:

    My heart is full of admiration for all of you who have adopted children affected by alcohol. You are heroes! And always remember to feel your feelings, whatever they are. Try not to get stuck. Breathe…. And know they love you!! Namaste…I bow to the divine in you.

  3. Jacquie Goad says:

    Although I would have STILL adopted my son, it would have been nice KNOWING what his particular problem was {FAS}. I believe PRIDE; MAP or whatever each state is calling their classes it should be MANDATORY to spend 8 HOURS discussing Nancy Thomas’ book “Love is Not Enough” I am sure it would reduce the number of families willing to take the journey but it would also eliminate the need for “disrupted” adoptions and there are PLENTY!! Also, I have been turned down for many children because they were “too ill” to be placed in our home!! I have been extensively trainedin this area, but if you have other kids, they just won’t do it. Wouldn’t it be better to place this child in an experienced home rather than with newbies with no clue? Seems mighty messed up to me!!

  4. monica says:

    Thank you for posting this. We are dealing with exactly as you describe above…. we were lied too and pushed along into adopting a child who has extensive special needs even tho we knew upfront that we could not handle a special needs child. She has been home with us for a year and everyday is so stressful I want to vomit. Even tho I know that SHE is much healthier and happier in our care than she ever would have been I am distraught over what the effects are on our whole family. We have some days that are better than others (today is not a good one) but even on the good days I am quite depressed over the choice that we made to adopt this child. I wish I could go back in time and undo it. Clearly you can see that I cannot recommend that others adopt and even that makes me so sad because I know orphans need us. I wish SO badly that I could be a positive advocate of adoption but our experience has not been positive. 😦

    • fasmom says:

      Monica I am so sorry! I know that at times FASD and special needs can be so hard. I hope you know that there are support groups out there available. Please look up on facebook if you want we have one there it is Roots to Wings Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder support and advocacy. Also anytime you want to vent or talk email me at Thanks for reading. Hope you are doing okay.

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