Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Worry

A few weeks ago, Process wondered about the future adoptive parents of a little girl with a family history of mental illness.

Huckle doesn't have a documented family history of mental illness. But he was born with meth, pot, and alcohol in his system. Every day I worry. I can't even ask myself if we would have said yes to him if we'd known the circumstances of his birth and of the first 18 months of his life before we met him, if it hadn't all been omitted until a week of visitation had been completed and we were sitting at the kitchen table with two social workers filling out placement documents, until after he'd started calling us mommy and daddy. We knew about the danger his family posed, we knew a lot about the situation, but that had been glossed over. Am I upset about that?

The answer is that I don't know, I suppose, but he's here, he's not leaving, and so I worry. I trace the divot above his lip with my finger, try to convince myself that its existance helps to rule out FASD. I ignore the droopy eyelid, Dr. Google doesn't help anyhow. I worry that his impulsiveness, his anger isn't just three-year old behavior, but an early indication of larger problems. Why can't he recognize an A as an A yet? We've been working on it. The only time he wants me is when someone else has me or when he's woken from a nap, any other time he rejects me -- he's bonding, but will he attach? The Time-Ins are


FosterAbba said...

I hate to give you more cause to worry, but if he tested positive for alcohol at birth, there's probably a good change that he does have some form of FASD. The absence of a philtrum is usually linked with the more severe cases of prenatal alcohol exposure. It's still possible to have a child who appears physically normal, but who lacks impulse control and suffers from many neurological deficits.

Maerlowe said...

Yeah. Don't worry about causing more worry -- if there's one thing I'm good at, it is research. I'll finish this post eventually, I hit publish prematurely.

Margaret said...

FASD is such a weird thing. The boy I hosted from Russia had some of the facial characteristics, but cognitively he was ahead of the game. He was one smart cookie! There were some behaviors that could be attributed possible to alcohol exposure, but I could handle them.

Despite our best efforts at education I think there's always a leap of faith involved here. Sometimes it's completely illogical -- I just said no to child who only had a minor dx, but his behaviors implied a much larger problem. I've said yes to going to committee for some kids with behaviors and histories that would make most people run for the hills. Sometimes you have a gut feeling that it will be OK.

Yondalla said...

I don't know about a diagnosis, but I have been very impressed with Huckle's ability to verbally express his anxieties. I also know that for him bonding to you is a big risk.

Have you ever seen a zip-line? It's long cable to which is attached a harness. You get in the harness and then zip/slid across an canyon or down a hillside. Imagine going down one. What do you do before you get in the harness? You pull and yank on it; you put it through every sort of abuse you can imagine to see if it is strong enough.

Honey -- you're the harness. He's got to put you through the every test he can think of before he can feel safe.

Hang in there...and please do everything you can to take care of yourself.

baggage said...

I'm thinking of you guys.

Bug was exposed to the same things as Huckle and more.

She is turning out just fine.

I'll always worry, though.

Bacchus said...

We've learned a lot more about Baby R's history from knowing the birth grandmother. We've educated ourselves as much as we can on the basics but we've also decided to watch and wait. I do lots of calls to my mom though to ask about what kids are like at his age.

Renee said...

Im right there with you, only I mostly lack the courage to process these fears out here like you are. Its a scary thought as a mom, scary.

Ahauna said...

The unknown is the scariest part of adopting. I think we have to hope for the best yet prepare ourselves for the worst.