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Adopt4Life - Ontario’s Adoptive Parent Association, is a community of people with lived experience of adoption, that strengthens and empowers parents to achieve permanency for children so that they reach their full potential.
We believe that all adoptive parents, kin, and customary carers have a right to advocacy, support and guidance throughout their lifelong journey.
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I would recommend to anyone raising children with FASD and without to expose them to lots of people with various disabilities. Have honest conversations about why the rules and expectations may differ from child to child. Get the siblings involved in awareness initiatives. Foster a respect and curiosity about the brain. It turns out, brains are really, really cool.
As more and more information becomes available about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, it is sometimes hard to understand what type of impact FASD can have on a person. However, I can tell you from my own children, it is not a scary diagnosis, it is just part of who they are.
Fast forward to today, and I find myself thinking of that old wooden coaster more often than you’d think. Together with my husband, we’re raising three children by adoption, including two young boys who live with FASD (as well as developmental trauma and a myriad of co-existing diagnoses). And with that, we all live with FASD and the roller coaster feelings that it brings to our lives.
And if I were in a movie, I wouldn’t be a person anyway. I’d be a cat--that cat that sits on your keyboard when you’re trying to work. Or the one that tries to jump on the counter, and just ends up knocking stuff off instead... I have FASD and here’s a day in my life.
I feel like I am making a significant difference in the lives of those also affected by FASD by speaking up and not trying to repress it. Knowledge should be shared to combat stigma. Society should be open to understanding differences and realize behaviours are symptoms of a needed environmental change.
When we set out to embark on what we knew would be a lengthy, utterly revealing and tedious process, we had no notion of what the outcome might be. Would we be approved? Were we enough? Would we be deemed capable, whole and prepared?
As some children are coming from a place of trauma and neglect, there are certain ways in which we can prepare our schools to help our children remain successful. Below are tips that I have found personally helpful in assisting our children in the transition back to school as well as educate teachers and staff on how to support our children.
You can seek help from a medical professional, mental health professional, your adoption community family or friends. Even though I can honestly say it was the most isolating time in my life, I know now that I am not alone--and neither are you.
I can use this as an opportunity to grow and learn both personally and as a mother. This is exactly what my mother would want me to do, after all I did learn from the best.