Birthmom and alcohol — The Bump
Adoption

Birthmom and alcohol

I am wondering what kind of wisdom/experience you can shed on alcohol and the fetus. I am well aware that you can never fully know the results of alcohol on the baby for maybe even years to come.. but I am wondering, how comfortable are you with bmom and use of alcohol?  And anyone have any personal experience?

 

 

Married on 3.20.2004. It took 30 month, 2 failed adoptions and IVF for our first miracle. We have had 9 foster kids since he was born and started the domestic adoption process when he was 10 month old, we had 4 failed matches in that time. After our daughter was born we brought her home and spent 2 weeks fearing we might lose her because of complications that came up. But Praise God all went through and she is ours forever! Expecting again after IVF Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
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Re: Birthmom and alcohol

  • amm78amm78
    100 Comments Third Anniversary
    member

    I am really not okay with alcohol use at all during the pregnancy.  But, my agency said that a big number of expectant moms drink, even just socially, before they know they are pregnant because they aren't trying to conceive.  So, my agency suggested that we stay open to working with moms who might have drank alcohol before they knew they were pregnant.

     

    As for ongoing alcohol use... I am not okay with that, so we are not open to that.  As a teacher, I've worked with Fetal Alcohol kids, so I know that I am not the best mom for those kids at this time in my life.


  • image amm78:

    I am really not okay with alcohol use at all during the pregnancy.  But, my agency said that a big number of expectant moms drink, even just socially, before they know they are pregnant because they aren't trying to conceive.  So, my agency suggested that we stay open to working with moms who might have drank alcohol before they knew they were pregnant.

     

    As for ongoing alcohol use... I am not okay with that, so we are not open to that.  As a teacher, I've worked with Fetal Alcohol kids, so I know that I am not the best mom for those kids at this time in my life.

     

    amm as a teacher to fetal alcohol kids can you tell me more, what were the kids like? how were they different?  

    Married on 3.20.2004. It took 30 month, 2 failed adoptions and IVF for our first miracle. We have had 9 foster kids since he was born and started the domestic adoption process when he was 10 month old, we had 4 failed matches in that time. After our daughter was born we brought her home and spent 2 weeks fearing we might lose her because of complications that came up. But Praise God all went through and she is ours forever! Expecting again after IVF Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
    Pregnancy Ticker Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers image
  • amm78amm78
    100 Comments Third Anniversary
    member
    image MayDayGirl:

    amm as a teacher to fetal alcohol kids can you tell me more, what were the kids like? how were they different?  

     

    I teach general ed kids, but have worked with a few fetal alcohol kids over the years at the kindergarten level.  These kids often have damage to their central nervous system.  They have cognitive and behavioral difficulties - attention problems, impulsive behavior, poor memory, learning disabilities (the kids I've worked with were receiving special ed services).

     I am sure there are kids whose moms drank during pregnancy who end up without any problems at all.


  • When we did our homestudy, our SW asked us about this and advised against drinking with the exception of before she knew. She said most babies recover from drugs much better than they do with alcohol.
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  • It makes me very uncomfortable, but that is because of my experience with 3 adopted brothers that used to live in my old neighborhood.  They were late young to late teens when I knew them.  They were completely unpredictable and not really capable of learning from their mistakes.  They would do things like put on an orange vest (like you would run in) and stand in the middle of a 6 lane road and direct traffic) or another time, called up the power company and ask to have a load of wood chips dumped in a neighbors driveway they were mad at.

    They were the 5th, 6th, and 7th child of a woman who had 7 children and died of liver failure in her mid 30s.  I heard, but never met, that her older children, like number 1, 2, and 3 were in much better shape.

    Fetal Alcohol Syndrome scares the crap out of me. 

  • c1311c1311
    Fifth Anniversary 100 Comments Photogenic
    member
    FAS/FAE scares me to death. We are open to a very limited amount consumed. Alcohol is one of the worst things a pregnant woman can consume. I just recently read that FAE can be worse with each subsequent pregnancy. Not sure why that is though.
  • image JOEBunny:

    Fetal Alcohol Syndrome scares the crap out of me. 

    Ditto.  My understanding is that alcohol is worse than pretty much any illegal substance to use during pregnancy.  FAS is scary and can be very severe, and the child may never become a productive member of society.  From what I have read, the child may have mental retardation, impulsive behavior, and a LONG list of other issues.  There is a fairly high probability (much higher than the general population) that the child will become an alcoholic and have criminal issues as an adult.  One reason why we so quick to apply for DS's situation is because birth mom didn't drink at all during pregnancy. 

  • that is the one "need" we weren't willing to accept. drug exposed/addicted babies can recover quicker/easier from their exposure than alcohol exposed babies. 
  • I totally agree that some women lie and babies could be exposed to much more than we know.  However, heavy alcohol use during pregnancy and a child created by incest are the only two situations we said we were not willing to consider.  Our SW felt that heavy alcohol use and smoking MJ and nicotine were the worst in regards to health of the baby.  
    TTC #1 since 12/07 SA 9/08=borderline normal HSG 1/09 found R tube blocked Multiple IUIs both with oral and injectible drugs from 2/09-2/11 Started domestic adoption process in 5/10, homestudy complete 9/10 Failed adoption after home with baby for 2 weeks 11/10 Blessed through the miracle of private adoption with a son, born 6/6/11 (his grandma's bday) 7lbs 9oz 20.5 inches long! So worth the wait!
  • image fredalina:
    . And I hate to say it, but some women lie. Just some thoughts.

    I was thinking the exact same thing.  You can really be sure because you're not there and a BM may feel pressure to say she didn't drink when she did.  Ben's birth mother admitted she drank a few beers a week and that didn't even phase us.  She might even drank more, I don't know. Ben is super smart and has no physical impairments.  If something comes up later, we'll deal with it just like if he was our biological son and had problems.  You have to deal with them either way.

    Amy
    Proud Mommy to Ben
    You didn't grow in my tummy, but in my heart!!

    image

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  • I was surprised to find that a lot of people on here aren't comfortable with any alcohol exposure whatsoever (it's been discussed off and on in posts). I am fully aware that alcohol use can cause FAS, but we were fine with social drinking (eg, 1 to 3 drinks in a trimester; I think that was the breakdown on our profile key). Part of it may be the fact that our moms drank socially with us, and we never dealt with any FAS kids except for one whose mom was a full-on alcoholic. Part of it may be the ongoing arguments people have on the other baby boards here about having a drink here and there, esp in the third trimester, which won't automatically turn a baby into an FAS baby. And our SW reminded us that a lot of women drink before they know they're pregnant, and so to keep in mind that absolutely no alcohol exposure may be a difficult situation to find with a birthmom.

    I'm pretty sure one of the main reasons we got DD was that we were open to social drinking. Her BM didn't know she was pregnant, and had gone out for a drink with friends a few times during her pregnancy. Our SW even pointed that out when she called to tell us about DD. She has no signs or symptoms of alcohol exposure, so in our case it worked out fine.

    In the end, it's what you're comfortable with. If you don't want the risk of any alcohol exposure, so be it.

    There are a ton of resources on FAS online, i'm sure you can get details on what signs to look for and what you're willing to take on. The problem with alcohol use is 1) as some people noted, people lie about alcohol consumption, 2) different people react to it differently, so you could have a regular drinker with a healthy baby (or a not so regular drinker with an affected baby), and 3) because of #2, there is no magic cutoff point to say, "This much is safe."

  • I would rather have drugs than alcohol but we got both. Alcohol not as much as the drugs and DD is great so far. We were also told that the first child of a BM will not suffer as much as later children from DD's SW.
  • Honestly Rach this is the ONLY thing we would not accept.  I was willing to except most drugs and smoking (K's mom smoked at least one pack a day) but after talking with my pedi about alcohol and how much damage it does it really was the only thing I was not willing to risk =(.  

    "I have four children. Two are adopted. I forget which two. -Bob Constantine

    "All for Love,' a Saviour prayed 'Abba Father have Your way. Though they know not what they do...Let the Cross draw men to You...."

  •  Backstory (and I don't mean any of this to scare you, but this is where DH and I are coming from):

    DH's sister was adopted at birth from a BM who tried to use hard liquor as an abortifacient "because she didn't want the baby but didn't believe in abortion". She also didn't tell anyone about this until after SIL's adoption was final. I realize SIL's situation is an extreme case, but my ILs were told SIL would never learn to read, never drive a car, and would be severely delayed at best. MIL has a master's in SpEd and quit her job to care for/educate SIL at home. SIL is now 20 years old but emotionally about 13. She has a very short temper, is very irrational/flighty/silly/irresponsible/easily influenced by others and will probably always need someone to remind her to do things like pay her bills on time. She actually eloped in March w/ a guy she's known just a couple months and she and her new H live with my ILs (but that's another story entirely).

    The good news is that she has defied a lot of her therapists' early predictions: She can drive a car on side streets, she graduated from high school, and she is a successful cashier at Wal-Mart. But it takes 100% focus and dedication on the part of my ILs to keep her at that point, and it's still a rough battle dealing with her on a daily basis-- she's emotionally stunted (impulsive to the extreme) but knows that legally she's an adult and "can do whatever she wants!".

    In all honesty, the fear of alcohol during pregnancy is big enough to DH that we might not end up adopting. We are (I am) very much in the fact-finding stage at this point, but I'm not sure if any amount of research I can do will change his mind after seeing 20 years of FAS impacts firsthand. He knows rationally that SILs scenario is in the minority, but it is a very real and very scary scenario to potentially take on ourselves.

    As PP's have mentioned, BMs lie about alcohol use (or just don't realize how much they have consumed) and we also have no idea how much is too much in terms of alcohol's impact on a fetus. Because of that, DH is leaning toward not adopting-- the fear of the unknown in regard to using alcohol is far too scary for him.

    I'm around if you ever need to chat-- GL. I know it's not an easy question to answer. 


    image
  • c1311c1311
    Fifth Anniversary 100 Comments Photogenic
    member

    One of the blogs I read is about a family that adopted two kids from Russia.  Despite the great lengths they went through to avoid a child with FAE/FAS, their son has a full-blown case.  It is a heartbreaking story and has really educated me on FAE/FAS and the importance of an international adoption pediatrician when evaluating a referral for international adoption.

    If you google 'when rain hurts' you'll find her blog.  She is a fantastic writer. 

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