HT- Drug, Tobacco, and Alcohol exposure — The Bump
Adoption

HT- Drug, Tobacco, and Alcohol exposure

Here I sit...a year and a month of waiting, and I want to look closely at my "filters".  DH isn't necessarily with me so I am gathering information regarding exposure to drug and alcohol in utero.

How did you make your decision regarding drugs, tobacco, and alcohol? 
Did you feel differently than your spouse or partner?  If you are willing to share your filters, I'd love to get a sense of what others are willing to accept or NOT compromise on.

Any suggested reading? 

Thanks!

image Best friends and sisters... 24 months and 16 months

Re: HT- Drug, Tobacco, and Alcohol exposure

  • We started by talking to our PCP. I was there for my adoption HS physical and showed him the form with all the filters. He went down the list and gave me the Reader's Digest of things that would give him pause.

    Then we did a little bit of research, and just talked it out. We weren't too far off on things. DH was a little more conservative on a few things, and I was fine with that.

    I don't have the filters handy, but if you want to PM me, I can look them up tonight and let you know.

  • Our DD was drug exposed with no prenatal care. She is fine so far but we know that she could have big issues later. We did find out recently when we took her to the ER for a fever of 104 that drug babies tend to have issues with their lungs. DD had a ear infection and the doctor checked and said her lungs looked good. Then he asked about her history and I told him that she was drug exposed and he sent her for chest X-rays which was good because she had pneumonia in both of her lungs. He said drug babies tend to have underdeveloped lungs and usually have a history of breathing problems. Now that we know this I will bring it up whenever she is sick.

    DD was in the hospital for one month addicted to many different drugs and had to go through the withdraws for two months. It was bad and I am glad that I did not have to see her suffer.

    Tobacco does not scare me as much. Alcohol scares me to death if they drank a lot. I do not think one or two drink would bother me.If the mother was a drinker and drank a lot or often I would not accept the child. We have been told by both SWs that alcohol causes big holes in the brain. From our reading this seems to be the worst kind of exposures.

    DD now is 2 1/2 and very smart but we do have some minor issues that may become more later. She does not stay focused on one thing long which may be a problem in school. DD is in daycare and they say she does good there so I hope this is the case through the years. She has mood swings were she is happy one minute then very upset the next when she does not get whatever. We were told that DD will be more likely to be addicted to things during her life.

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  • DH and I actually aren't 100% on the same page when it comes to tobacco/alcohol exposure. DH wants there to be absolutely no exposure to anything what so-ever. He says, "If you were pregnant you wouldn't do those things so we shouldn't be open to it". I can kind of understand what he is saying but I am more forgiving and know that it doesn't always mean problems. We both have researched every drug, alcohol and tobacco exposure in infants too. I even have a pediatrician and he doesn't see any need to contact her if we get presented with a case.  It can be so frustrating.

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  • We started by speaking with the pediatrician we wanted to use, as well as with my DH's cousin who is a physician.

    Basically we decided we would take it on a case by case basis.  There were certain drugs we were very concerned about and others that we weren't.

    Our bmom smoked a pack a day early on (toward the end it was much less b/c they started making her nauseous, thank goodness) and up to a gallon of Mt. Dew a day.  I will tell you that the extreme caffeine intake was quite serious.  Not as many studies have been done on the impact of caffeine on developing babies, especially the extreme use of caffeine, but I will tell you that the team of doctors who saw her in the hospital said she had withdrawal symptoms very similar to that of a crack baby and she tremors that looked like seizures until she was about 3.5 weeks old.  Everyone who held her would get seriously freaked out.  They said it's related to the caffeine and described her nerve endings as "raw."  

    I don't know that this is really helpful to you, just wanted to give our experience.  I would be very hesitant to adopt a baby exposed to meth, but some other drugs don't seem to have as long-lasting effects.  Alcohol is dependent on the amount.  Tobacco is again dependent on the amount.

  • DH did a lot of research- my sister is a pedi- so I got a lot of info from her. We also learned a lot about each in our adoption classes. We were okay with drug exposure- but did not want any alcohol exposure- from what I understand that is the worst. We were pretty much on the same page the entire time.

     

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  • We had to decide on if we were open to exposure to drugs and alcohol, how much (none, light, medium, and heavy) and during which trimesters/or entire pregnancy.  I don't believe they asked us about smoking regular cigarettes.

    The specific drugs they asked about were: alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, heroine/methadone, LSD/Ecstasy/Acid/other.

    I'm pretty sure we answered light usage to all of them, with the exception of cocaine - we said none to cocaine.  Light means 1-2 drinks a month OR several times during the first trimester; marijuana - occasional use throughout the pregnancy; cocaine/harder drugs - 2 occasions throughout the pregnancy.

    We spoke to our doctor about it, and he gathered a lot of information for us to read.  We also read information on alcohol use that our caseworker gave us.  We felt really strongly about saying no to cocaine usage after reading about the impact it can have on a fetus.  

    Our caseworker said to consider being as open as possible (as open as we were comfortable) because the less you are open to, the longer it can take to be matched with a birthmom.  Not that it can't happen, but the wait would most likely be longer.

     

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  • I'm also curious how it's broken down for you. Our filter was recently updated so that we could look at light, moderate, and heavy use, broken down by trimester, as well as whether drugs were being taken by prescription or recreationally. Because to us there was a big difference between someone popping Oxy they bought down the street and someone who was prescribed Percocet for a week for a broken bone or kidney infection.
  • Our situation is a bit different, because we are adopting an older child, so we focused more on conditions present in the child than possible exposure in-utero.

    That being said, we have one rule:  neither of us wants to ever pressure the other into opening up to a situation they would otherwise not be comfortable with.  We can research and discuss it, but in the end, neither of us ever wants to feel like we pushed the other's boundaries past their comfort level.  It's so important to us that our match really feels perfect to both of us, and that we don't end up in a situation in which we might harbor resentment against one another.

    All I can suggest is read up on each drug/condition, and do some soul-searching together and apart to find out if your openness to certain issues can be changed.  Good luck!  This is always the hardest part for us (we have to do it over and over again as we review files).


  • image CaptainSerious:
    That being said, we have one rule:  neither of us wants to ever pressure the other into opening up to a situation they would otherwise not be comfortable with. 

    This is the reason I keep backing away.  While DH is very intelligent, he's extremely conservative in these discussions.  Part of me says to just keep waiting and another part of me wants to push for more education for both of us.  I agree w/you, and maybe I should just go back to my happy (or not so much) waiting place. 

    I am feel like there's only a small handful of BMs that will match our filters and we may never match.  I hate that it all turns into a feeling of commadity.  I am down on the whole adoption process right now...but that's a whole other post.

    image Best friends and sisters... 24 months and 16 months
  • Silly.  :(

    Maybe you could just provide the literature or set up time to talk with a physician about what is realistic.  You can do that without pressure.  Then if he doesn't change his mind, you've lost nothing.  But if he does, you've gained everything.  

  • image silliestbunny:

    Here I sit...a year and a month of waiting, and I want to look closely at my "filters".  DH isn't necessarily with me so I am gathering information regarding exposure to drug and alcohol in utero.

    How did you make your decision regarding drugs, tobacco, and alcohol? 
    Did you feel differently than your spouse or partner?  If you are willing to share your filters, I'd love to get a sense of what others are willing to accept or NOT compromise on.

    Any suggested reading? 

    Thanks!

    we put fro drugs and alcohol that it would be a case by case consideration. we felt there are to many factors in play to give a blanket no or yes. Like what kinds how much and how often.  we joined a local adoption support group that had a class on drugs, alcohol, infectious diseases we took that and it really helped us. If I can find the papers i will post them for everyone. 

    Proud Momma of our daughter Charlie! She found her forever home August 2010 Hope to be the proud momma of #2 in July
  • We also took some advice from our SW, who said that it's rare to impossible to find an e-mom who has ingested no alcohol/drugs during her pregnancy. Especially because a lot of women drink before they know they're pregnant.
  • we obviously have no problem accepting drug exposed children. we've had quite an array - marijuana (which is the least addictive drug), opiates, benzos, cocaine and meth. I can say that I would never ever except a child that has been exposed to meth. they all do damage of course, but i believe meth may do the worst damage to a child.

     

    our benzo baby is perfectly healthy, developmentally above target in some areas, even after being in the NICU for a month.

     

    edited - forgot to mention that we would not accept an alcohol exposed child. we've seen children with FAS and it could be potientially worse than drugs in some cases.  

  • My DD was exposed to meth in utero for the entire pregnancy.  She has delays and behaviors that are classic for meth exposure (major motor skills delay due to low muscle tone, language delay, emotional/behavioral delays).  I love my DD more than words can express, but I would not be open to another child with drug or alcohol exposure to the extent my daughter was exposed should we decide to adopt again.  We would consider every case individually before saying yes/no.
  • Our faciliator made us feel out how we would feel about a lot of different scenarios.  They ranged from different drugs used to unknow birth fathers.  It really helped us open our eyes to know what we would accept and what we wouldn't accept.  A birth mom could also tell you one thing and it be totally different (not to put down anyone), but if Ben's birth mother hadn't said what kind of things she did during her pregnancy we wouldn't know.  Ben was born perfectly healthy with a 9 APGAR score and no problems whatsoever.

    We were open to light drug use throughout pregnancy and light drinking and smoking.  Ben's birth mother smoked through out the pregnacy and did meth before she knew she was pregnant and marijuana throughout and was had an occasional drink.  Ben seems perfectly normal and I don't dwell on it.  If things come up, we'll deal with it.

    I don't really know how to tell you how we filtered...we just knew when Ben's information was sent to us that he was our baby.  Good LUck!

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

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  • image silliestbunny:

    image CaptainSerious:
    That being said, we have one rule:  neither of us wants to ever pressure the other into opening up to a situation they would otherwise not be comfortable with. 

    This is the reason I keep backing away.  While DH is very intelligent, he's extremely conservative in these discussions.  Part of me says to just keep waiting and another part of me wants to push for more education for both of us.  I agree w/you, and maybe I should just go back to my happy (or not so much) waiting place. 

    I am feel like there's only a small handful of BMs that will match our filters and we may never match.  I hate that it all turns into a feeling of commadity.  I am down on the whole adoption process right now...but that's a whole other post.

    I do know how you feel.  My husband and I are open to a wide variety of special needs, but we routinely look at the 450-plus children on the waiting list and "pass" on them.  There are very few kids that make it to the list that we'd feel comfortable parenting.  We are now hoping for a straight referral, since we were told by our agency that we are more open to special needs than any of the other families in our program.  Still, we know it will likely be months, maybe even years, before this happens, based on the number of approved families and referrals made each month.

    Each month, we scour the new list, hoping there's a child on it that falls within our parameters, and most months, there's none.  The few times that a child we were strongly considering appeared on the list, they were requested and referred to another family before we had time to make our request.  To top it off, a couple of weeks ago we passed on an immediate situation we felt comfortable with, but which would require us to change programs.  So I know the feeling that this will never happen, that the wait in interminable, and that we will be seniors before we ever bring our child home.

    All I can say is hang in there, take heart, and know that there will be a child for you.  It may take longer than we want, but it will happen.  I will pray for you when I pray for myself, and hopefully both our waits are nearly over!


  • Thank you for asking this question and for all of you who have responded. It is really making me rethink our filters. I am going to have to take a look at them again. 
  • Chiming in late - We are not comfortable with alcohol usage (except for a drink or two before mom she was pg).

    We are going to evaluate all the other drug usage on a case by case basis, except we really want to stay away from meth if possible.  

    Friends of mine adopted a baby exposed to cocaine and (knock on wood), baby is doing great.  Baby did go through withdrawals when born.  Since then baby has been on target / ahead of target. 

    We were told that trying to find a BM who didn't smoke at least some was pretty hard. 

     

    TTC #1 for over 5 years - too many to count IF treatments (tried everything and anything), repeat miscarriages. Finally, Sticky Success!! B/G Twins arrived 2011. VOTE on my Name List Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • My DH and I have talked about this before... and I think we are both comfortable with most kinds of drugs, but not alcohol.  FAS is just too scary.
  • DD was exposed to cocaine,marijuana, methadone, and others I can not remember but the drug of choice for BM was heroin for 10 plus years. BM was in rehab for most of the pregnancy but she in not know that she was pregnant. BM and DD both tested postive for all the above drugs.

    So far so good DD is super smart but we know things can change. Knowledge is power in cases like these so do your research.

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