Hello Everyone:
I have a quick question. We are seriously considering presenting our profile to a emom who consumed 2-3 alcoholic beverages about every other day for the first 8 weeks of her pregnancy. She stopped as soon as she discovered that she was pregnant and seems like a wonderful, responsible woman.
We have talked to multiple sources and done some internet research and cannot come up with a definitive answer about when we should be concerned about fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.
do any of you have experience with this with your children and can you shed some light on the level of risk we are taking on here?
Hanna's birthmother stated she drank between 4 to 6 beers each day and hard liquor on weekend. She also used drugs on occasion (crack). The baby was 4 months old when we were matched and she had no features associated with fas and she didn't have any delays. However, the risk was there.
My older daughter's pediatrician said -We don't know the exact moment of development when a fetus is harmed by alcohol consumed. And we don't know how much alcohol it takes. Sometimes, heavy drinkers have normal babies. Sometimes, a person drinks one weekend before she knows she's pregnant and her child has physical deformities. When our mothers were pregnant, no one told them not to drink or smoke. Most adults were exposed to alcohol inutero and are fine.
I decided to go for it. Hanna hasn't had any delays or problems related to alcohol so far. She's in preschool and is on target in all areas. She's been evaluated several times by our school system. They score with a system of 1 through 20 (with one being severely delayed and 20 being the best you can get). Hanna scores between a 16 and 18 in every area so far. So, she's been staying right on target with no known areas of delay
It's still possible that she will have learning difficulties but she recognizes letters, her colors and can write her name. I haven't seen any behavioral issues but she does have moments of hyperactivity that seem to come from nowhere (not sugar related-no other kids around). It lasts about 1/2 hour or so but most other times she's very focused. She's going to be evaluated this spring by Children's Hospital because, if she has FAS, I want services in place when she starts kindergarten in the fall.'s really the flip of a coin. The baby could be 100% fine. The baby could have FAS. But even babies whose mothers do everything right still can't guarantee a perfectly healthy, normal child. So, you're already someone who is willing to take that risk.
I know you want to minimize the risks and this is definately a risk. You have to ask yourself if, in the future, could you deal with FAS. But remember, in the future, this won't be some random child that you're imagining, this will be a child you know, love and absolutely adore. And a diagnosis of FAS won't make life easier for you but the love you will feel for her will give you the courage and strength to be the best mom you can be. And you'll help her through any challenges she has.
Very few people would willingly choose to adopt an autistic child. But if their own child becomes autistic, it doesn't change their love for them. But it does change their focus because they want the best for their child and they advocate for them. It's kind of the same thing. Hanna could possibly develop behavior problems but she's my sweet princess and I love her so dearly. All that matters to me is doing whatever I could to give her the best life and the best chance at success..(which is what parents are doing anyway!)
Probably too late to chime in here, but truly, it's a crap shoot. It really is. We've parented two children who had FAS and FAE (one had Fetal Alcohol Syndrome...full blown; the other had fetal alcohol effect---problems, but not as severe as the other). Our youngest baby's problems may well be related to the alcohol biological parent drank 'before she knew she was pregnant'.
Sometimes, it matters a lot 'when' they drank (usually first trimester is the worse time), but sometimes, people drink and there are few *if any* problems with the child. The worst case scenario? Probably heart problems (valve problems that are correctible), skeletal problems (particularly problems with feet ((corrective shoes)), sometimes, with scoliosis (curvature of the spine), stuff like that. Along with this, Learning disabilities, sometimes mild MR, oftentimes, difficulty with eyesight (generally correctible as well), sometimes, hypotonia (low muscle tone), and for the most part, these are the things *we've* encountered.
I think you probably would need to expect the worst, and consider the least, KWIM? Whether this emom is telling the truth at this point or not isn't really important. You know that at least some potential damage has already been done. You may never know the full story...the question is now, 'Could you...would you....'
My best to you. It's a decision of whether to raise a special needs baby or not. Each of us has our limit and our strenghts. Do what's best for your family.
Most Sincerely,
Probably too late to chime in here
Hi Linny! It is not too late to chime in. We are not expected to give an answer until tomorrow morning so we are still very grateful for any additional information to contemplate while making this very life changing decision.
Thanks for the input! I do really appreciate it!!
I typed out a long message the other day, but it got lost out in the wild blue yonder, and I was too annoyed to retype it then, but I will now.
We adopted Matty from the same place that Kat adopted Hanna. (Kat actually led me to Matty...HUGS KAT!) Matty was alcohol exposed as well, his bmom drank every other weekend till about 5 months...2-3 drinks each night, and had one incident of "binge" drinking on her birthday.
Part of the reason we were willing to go forward was that he was already 2 months old. Born, evaluated etc, so there was some "certainty" in that...though not much. We were told that at 2 months Matty was completely on track and doing very well. As soon as I held him, I knew that wasn't accurate, but even in the first seconds I held him, it didn't make a bit of difference to me.
At 3 months, Matty was very tight. He is Dx'd with Hypertonia, and he has had a lot of feeding difficulties. He was significantly behind in gross motor skills for quite a while, and those skill he did have, he learned incorrectly.
At 8 months old, he has caught up and is now crawling some, rolling, sitting, eating great, and babbling up a storm. We started having a neurologist follow him, and he also sees a pediatric orthopedist. We have three people that work with him from Early Intervention, a PT, an education specialist, and an RN that follows his growth patterns. That all takes time, as they only can come during the day.
The main reason we went for it was I am a stay at home parent. Can you do it if you aren't? I'm sure you can, but to have the ability to stay home with a special needs child is ideal. There are MANY appointments, even for Matty who is technically on track, to keep him there, and help us check every thing out.
In addition to his on going appointments, we have had to fit in other specialist that he doesn't see all the time, but that it was recommended that we see to have him checked out. ENT, Eye Dr's etc. He will have an MRI in the next couple months because his reflexes are slightly asymmetric. Something like that might be a watch and see in another baby, but in an alcohol exposed baby, it's an MRI with sedation...
I wouldn't change a thing about Matty...he's a ray of sunshine in my toddler infested chaos here. Every triumph is even sweeter if that's possible. Will he have other delays in the future...I bet he will, but who can even say for sure if it's because of the alcohol. Tyler was not alcohol or drug exposed at all, and he's working with EI on speech and some sensory issues...Luck of the draw you know?
I also want to comment that there is no real way to know how much is OK. If the bmom had one drink, the baby is exposed...that baby could have significant delays. So many factors have impact on how the baby is effected. The mother's weight, how much she drank, what she drank, over what period of time, what exactly was developing when she was drinking, how long it took her body to metabolize the alcohol, if she ate or not...a million things. We believe that Matty's bmom was very upfront about her usage. We believe she stopped when she said she did...I don't question that at all.
In the last week or so, my on target, "caught up" baby has started head bumping and shaking. These can indicate a whole OTHER host of problems...again, maybe alcohol, maybe not...we'll know more after the MRI.
Agree with Linny...crap shoot. You have to be 100% OK with the worst case scenario and then be thrilled if that doesn't happen. Worse case by the way, is a child that might never be able to live independently. There are risks with every child you might raise, they are just higher when you know the child has been exposed...
Take Care and best of luck...only you know what you can handle :)
I was born in the late 60's. At that time, they didn't know the dangers of drinking while pregnant. As a result, my mom had a drink or two (or three) just about every day she was pregnant with me and my three siblings. She wasn't an alcoholic, but she was a young, military wife and it was common for the wives to get together each afternoon and drink wine while gossiping about the happenings on the military base. Me and my siblings all came out healthy, as did the children of the friends she drank with.
I know that's a small sample. But keep in mind that just about everyone you know my age or older (I'm 42) had a mom who drank during pregnancy (assuming they weren't non-drinkers to begin with). People just didn't know any better back then.
It's certainly not something I would do while pregnant giving what we do know today, however, I wouldn't be overly concerned about 2-3 drinks a day for 8 weeks.
This has been a very helpful thread, thanks for starting it...and thanks for all those who replied!
We were just entered into our agency's pool, and we struggled with what levels of alcohol usage were acceptable to us. This thread has brought me a measure of comfort. Thanks again! :love:
This has been a very helpful thread, thanks for starting it...and thanks for all those who replied!
We were just entered into our agency's pool, and we struggled with what levels of alcohol usage were acceptable to us. This thread has brought me a measure of comfort. Thanks again! :love:
My pleasure! Everyone here has been amazing and very generous to share their personal experiences...
Hello everyone:
Again thanks for all of your help and support. After hearing the results of the 2nd ultrasound this am, and considering all the feedback and information that we received, we decided to present our profile today!:D
I know that I have no idea how difficult this is going to be for her and can only pray that she has strength and serenity in choosing the best life for her son
I will keep everyone posted as soon as I have another update.
Thanks so much for being an outlet for all of this excitement, nervousness, etc.
I'm happy to hear this! I hope you're chosen!!!! ")
Thanks Linny! I have a bit more good news as well!! Yesterday at about 1pm, the agency worker who we are just falling in love with us called us to tell us that emom chose us! She loved our profile! So, her little baby boy will be induced on 3/11 or 3/12. We are going to get to meet her as soon as all of the official paperwork etc is squared away early next week. From all that I have heard about her, I think that I already love her!
Agency also has quite a few ultrasound photos that they are going to send us :-)
We are over the moon and cannot believe how quickly this all has happened!!!!
I know that there is still a lot that can happen yet but right now we are just enjoying this very happy moment and, of course, working on the list of things that we still need should the little one really come home with us on March 12.
Congratulations on your match!! That is very exciting!
We were presented with ds as a baby born - he was 9 days old and already in cradle care. His birthmom reported extensive drug and alcohol use throughout her pregnancy. A six pack of beer per week (which we were told to assume was probably half of what she actually drank) and cocaine and marajuana use until 2 days before she gave birth.
We decided to accept the match for a number of reasons. First, the fact that he was already born provided us with some reassurance because we could look over the hospital reports, etc. but even more than that was a peace in our hearts knowing that he was meant to be ours. I am a firm believer that there are certain things you just know. My dh, who tends to be a worrywart and very cautious, didn't hesitate at all.
We are blessed that at almost 3 years old ds is ahead of target on everything and has very few signs of any damage. We believe that he has some hyperactivity issues and he had a lot of skin/allergy problems as a baby, but again, who knows if that was due to exposure or not. The point is that even if he had severe problems I would not change our decision for anything -- he's ours and he was meant to be ours.
I think that is is important to consider every situation, but there is a huge piece of adoption that is simply a leap of faith. Our leap was worth every sinlge moment.
I wish you peace a joy on your journey to your child...
That's very exciting, congratulations! Best of luck to you, and I hope the time flies by! :clap:
I"m just THRILLED for you on this!!!!!! I'm very glad you've been chosen and hope things proceed so that you'll be able to bring the baby home!!!! ((((HUGS))))
I've found this thread really helpful and was just wondering whether you had an update for us, Colorado? I hope you're getting on well! x