Tag Archives: FASD

A Little Perspective


The other day I was driving in the car by myself and listening to K-LOVE radio (96.7 for those in the NYC area). I think a lot. Sometimes I do this too much. This particular day I was thinking about my sweet Alli. It wasn’t long after my “mommy meltdown” mentioned in an earlier post. I was still questioning God on His decision to trust me with Alli and Nate. I was still wondering why He chose me when he knew I would screw up as often as I do. I was thinking back to my days before children and how I longed to be a mom. I remember dreaming about one day having a daughter and a son. I started crying…again…because I felt like I was, for lack of a better term, mourning the loss of the daughter that I thought I would have. No woman dreams of having/adopting a child with special needs. Don’t get me wrong, I knew that I would love whatever child was brought into my life. However, we can never anticipate the challenges that lie ahead for us. I see my friends who have daughters the same age as my Alli and their relationship is very different from the one I have with my daughter. Confession time….sometimes I feel jealous. This day, driving in my car alone, was one of those days. I began to “mourn” the loss of my vision of who I thought my daughter would be.  Before I could get too deep into this, God grabbed ahold of me and almost literally shook me out of my funk.

I had arrived at my destination, found a parking spot and was about to turn off the car. I had the radio on in the background but was absent-mindedly listening. A woman had just called in and asked if the radio station would take a prayer request. For some reason, I stopped myself from turning off the car to hear what it was. There was something in her voice. A softness and sense of peace that I so rarely hear. Her prayer request was short and sweet. Her six-week old son was just diagnosed with cancer. She asked for peace and understanding because she didn’t know how long they had left with him. Needless to say, I sat there and cried. The radio personalities stopped right then and there and prayed for this new mom and her husband. They prayed that this little boy would be miraculously healed. They prayed that God would reveal to them His plan and how, even should this baby return to God so soon, He would bring joy out of it someday.

I prayed with them and then I prayed for forgiveness. In my focus on what I felt I had lost by adopting a daughter with special needs I had overlooked the most important part. I still have a daughter to hug and to hold. I have a daughter who writes me notes all the time just to tell me how much she loves me. I have a daughter who is creative and funny and makes me laugh all the time. I have a daughter who is beautiful and loving. These parents may never hear their son speak a word. These parents may never feel their son’s embrace. I have all these things. How could I be so self-absorbed.

I sat there in my car for over ten minutes sobbing with my shoulders shaking. I had just experienced one of the many reasons their son was going through this battle at such a young age. A little perspective is all I needed to fully embrace my children for who they are…special needs and all.


Fetal Alcohol Syndrome IMPORTANT FOR ALL WOMEN and the men who love them

I was going through my facebook notes and came across a few things that I wrote years ago. This one was written the year our daughter was diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Just thought I would share with you all. I have a few more that I’ll post in the near future. For now, help me get the word out there!
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome IMPORTANT FOR ALL WOMEN and the men who love them
by Heather VW Friday, November 12, 2010 at 1:36pm ·

I just finished reading a couple books about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and am astonished by how prevalent this is. As many of you know, our daughter, Allison, was diagnosed with FAS. We suspected this for a long time and am relieved that we finally have an explanation for some of her bizarre behaviors and difficulty with school and social situations. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is an invisible disease that gets too often overlooked.

The biggest shock that I read was that even ONE NIGHT drinking while pregnant can cause FAS! ONE NIGHT!!!!!! In some cases it is ONE DRINK!!!!! It has nothing to do with what type of alcohol or how quickly you metabolize it. What matters is that the baby cannot metabolize it. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is caused by PERMANENT BRAIN DAMAGE. This is irreversible. THey will struggle with this for the rest of their lives. Parents of these children will struggle with parenting them the rest of their lives.

This is a 100% PREVENTABLE condition. If you are pregnant, know someone who is pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant…DON’T DRINK!!! No amount of alcohol is safe for your baby. No matter what your doctor tells you!!! Seriously, there are still text books out there teaching future doctors that it’s okay “once in awhile”! THere is legislation to get this changed.

I love Allison with all my heart and I strongly believe that God brought her into our lives so that we can raise her the way she needs to be raised. HOwever, every day is a struggle with her. Every day we don’t know who Allison is going to be. Deep down we know who she is but her struggles define the way the day is going to go. Don’t risk your child’s future for a drink. Wait and you will be rewarded with a child who is healthy and whole!

If you are a mother and you drank during your pregnancy, don’t be too hard on yourself. You were most likely given misinformation! If your child is struggling with academics, making friends, odd behaviors, etc…. get help! It will be hard at first to admit that you had something to do with the way your child is, but in the end you will find peace and understanding as you learn the techniques for raising a child with FAS.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call me. I’m no expert but I’m learning all I can to help our dear Allison live a life that can be productive and enjoyable. Her future depends on us and I am going to do my best not to let her down.

Thanks for listening….please help spread the word about this. This is only a 10th of what I wanted to write but I just can’t get my thoughts in order today. Maybe another day! Feel free to copy this in it’s entirety and share with others. Women need to know that NO AMOUNT OF ALCOHOL IS SAFE DURING PREGNANCY!!!!!

Here is a website as well with tons of information.


Allison looking cute in Rockefeller Center. She loves the City!

This One Moment


It’s amazing how one good moment can practically erase weeks of bad ones. I experienced one of those moments last night. Our son was spending the day and night at his cousin’s house so it was just us with Allison. We ended a day filled with yard work with a soak in the hot tub. My husband stays in all but 20 minutes before he’s done and gets out. This leaves me with the fish; AKA Allison. We turn the temperature down on the hot tub because she could stay in for hours. So, I guess that makes it more of a very warm tub. Anyway, after Alan gets out, Alli and I stay in for about another hour. In between belly flops and cannonballs (Alli, not me!) I manage to get her to sit for a bit and relax. As she lay there in front of the one of the jets she says, “Let’s talk, mom.”

“What do you want to talk about?” I ask.

“I don’t know. Ask me some questions.”

Not wanting to get too deep too quick I ask about her favorite part of the day [hot tub], what she wants to be when she grows up [vet], and her favorite color [bright pink]. I decide that I’m getting some pretty quick answers so I throw in a doozy. I asked her why she steals and hides food. I lean my head back to gaze at the stars, expecting the same answer I always get; “I don’t know.” To my surprise, I get an answer that really does explain why she does it. I’m shocked that I got such a fluid and thoughtful answer. I let it go, for now. I got the answer, now I needed some time to figure out what I was going to do with it. As great of a moment this was, it is not the moment that erased the bad stuff of the last few weeks or months.

We continue to talk and I ask her “What are you looking forward to most in the 4th grade A) making a new friend B) reading lots of new books C) going on field trips (she is in a special education class that goes on monthly field trips as rewards for good behavior.) She tells me C) going on field trips. I was surprised because she spent most of the day telling me how she wished she had a friend who could come over to play and have a sleepover.  Allison only has two good friends who understand her disability and tolerate her anti-social behaviors.  They were both busy. I asked her again and suggested that making a new friend would be better than field trips. She swam across the “warm” tub and put her hands around my neck. She then tells me “Mom, I don’t need a new friend. I have you! You’re my best friend.” My heart melted. She then added, “And I am having a sleep-over today. In your bed!” (unbeknownst to me or my husband)

Over the last few weeks I have questioned my ability to parent a child with FASD. I have questioned God on why He trusted me with this responsibility.  I have wondered if I have damaged my children with my lack of patience. I have doubted myself and cried over my lack of confidence in my parenting. All those doubts were erased in this one moment. This one moment where my daughter, who has trouble expressing herself and sharing her feelings using words, reached out and touched me so deeply that I will never forget this moment.

I finally coerced her out of the tub so we could go to bed. She crawled in between me and my husband, leaning against him for his intense body heat, and closed her beautiful eyes. I kissed her forehead and told that I loved her. She smiled and drifted off to sleep. I lay there watching her sleep and thanking God that He knew what He was doing. He knew that this moment would come along and sustain me. Now, I just have to remember to hang onto these moments during the rough days and cling to the fact that there will be more of these good moments to come.

To Alli I say, thank you sweet girl for gifting me with a moment that I will never forget. Never.  I love you today, tomorrow and ALWAYS. To God I say, thank you, Lord, for the gift of my children.The next time I am feeling down, remind me of this one magical moment.