Walking into the doctors office with all the fear of any parent who is terrified something might be wrong with your child. Now the fears are realized that yes this child has Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Help me…how do I parent…how do I know what to do now? Questions asked and answers given. Answers like “well, there really is nothing that can be done.” “I don’t know of any services” or “you know that he/she will end up in a facility sooner or later anyway, why put it off?” Walking out of the clinic feeling as though there is no hope for this person you love enough to die for. Now what? Do I give up like it seems our society has? Do I assume that nothing I do will ever matter? Who will help me? I feel so very alone.
Going home and realizing that I cannot allow hope to be lost completely. I have to remember that in years past parents of ANY child who wasn’t able to fit the “norm” were told to lock their children up, it was “kinder” for everyone. Well we know now that that is a load of crap! These people we used to throw away are now seen for the incredible people they are. For some reason society still wants to throw away children who were prenatally exposed. See we want to hide them so we don’t have to admit that we have issues with alcohol in our society that go far beyond what we want to face. We want to blame “alcoholic” mothers. We want to say it is a racial issue or anything else just not to admit that perhaps this is not just an alcoholic problem. The fact is that ANYONE who drinks can produce an FASD child. So the fact is that these children and adults exist. They cannot and should not be swept under the rug! We have to face this and we have to support this population and their families. I am not saying financially but I AM saying functionally and emotionally.
There has to be a turn around in blame. Society is stepping up about autism, a disorder that is not even as common as FASD. Why is it we will do all sorts of things to draw attention to autism but no one will come out to get this attention for FASD? Most people do not even know what FASD is! Everyone knows what Autism is. I am NOT trying to take from Autism…this is an important cause that deserves the attention it is getting. I guess all I am saying is that FASD needs to get the same attention.
Going into the doctors office and having the doctor say, “well of course he is very sick what do you expect?” Realizing he is judging me as he saw that he was diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). Knowing that he is angry at me as he feels all of this is my fault. I used my “get out of jail free card”. Oh no I adopted him. Then the turn around the “oh you are an angel” personality. I realized in that moment…why should it matter if I was his birth or adoptive mom? It is wrong that if I did not have the ability to say I was adoptive mom that the doctor will treat me awful. I have since quit saying…it is not anyone’s business. I have met so many wonderful families who were formed through birth, adoption, kinship care, guardianship, foster care or through marriage. So we are all here and we all need to move forward without blame to look for what can we do to make this world a place where FASD individuals are valued?
I move forward in my dream that we will not lose hope. We will find a way to have services to have a future for FASD individuals. There are people fighting and more who we hope to get started in this fight. September 9th is FASD awareness day. Please if you know nothing about FASD learn. If you do know refuse to be silent. We will find a way to build hope and move forward.