Newest Member: Armyman9196

Off Topic :
9 year old grandson with fetal alcohol syndrome

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 resigned (original poster member #12903) posted at 2:17 AM on Thursday, October 7th, 2021

My 34 year old daughter, the child's mother, has been in and out of rehab since the child was born. She has not seen the child since he was around 1 and 1/2, at which time it wasn't obvious that he had problems.

My daughter has been sober for 6 months, has a good job, and the child's father has agreed she can meet her son and start visitation, which would be supervised initially.

My daughter is clueless about the condition of her son. He's a happy kid, but it's obvious he's not right. He doesn't seem to know he doesn't have a mother in his life, as he has a good extended family on his father's side.

I fear that by meeting her son, my daughter will initially be confused and then possibly overrun by guilt. Which would lead to relapse.

I'm reluctant to clue her in, as I'm not qualified. My wife has an appointment with a counselor in a few weeks and we are hoping that will provide guidance. But I've always felt the community here is more knowledgeable that a counselor.
Plus you guys don't mince words.

My daughter has seen photos of her son, but no videos. Videos would reflect the impact from the alcohol.

She thinks she's going to meet a mature, heathy son who will be thrilled to meet his mother.

I know, how did it get this far. It's a long and painful story. I just hate to see her relapse and I fear meeting her son would lead to a relapse.

I'm thinking she needs to have a good friend to be with her before, during and after the visit.

What, if anything, do I tell her about her son's problems before she meets him? I have to say something don't I?

The child's father, who is a good man, isn't concerned for my daughter's welfare like I am, which is why I'm the one seeking guidance.

Thank you.

posts: 456   ·   registered: Dec. 10th, 2006
id 8691904
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13YearsR ( member #58259) posted at 8:43 PM on Thursday, October 7th, 2021

I'm so sorry.

I totally understand your reluctance, but why do you think you're not qualified to be the one to prepare her? Are you thinking that it should be a professional?

The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off. ~ Gloria Steinem

The grass is greener on the other side of the fence because you're not over there messing it up.

DDay 2004. Successful R. 33 years married

posts: 570   ·   registered: Apr. 13th, 2017   ·   location: TX
id 8692031
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time2Bstronger ( member #34715) posted at 10:21 PM on Thursday, October 7th, 2021

I am so sorry that your family is struggling with these issues. I have taught several children with FAS/FAE. The impairment(s) can range from mild to quite severe. Children with full blown FAS have unique facial features and physical characteristics. Typically, the more pronounced the physical characteristics, the more challenges the child faces in almost all areas of development.

Does your grandson have a medical diagnosis?

Has he been evaluated by a Pediatric Developmental Specialist?

Does he receive special education services and therapies through an IEP? Mild cases are sometimes addressed through a 504 plan.

As for your daughter, congrats on her 6 months of sobriety! I understand your concern with relapse. It is so hard to love someone with an addiction. You get your hopes up, but always hold your breathe that recovery will not last.

In my opinion, unless your grandson's behavior is extreme, I would not "prepare" her ahead of time. She has not seen her son since he was a very young toddler. All children have endearing qualities and she may not "see" the deficits immediately. I think nurturing a positive reunion would be more beneficial. As she builds her relationship with her child, it may become evident to her that he has developmental delays. This is when she will need support.

Six months is new to recovery from addiction. If it were my child (and my daughter has had her struggles and a 7 year old son with issues) I would be as supportive as possible, while emphasizing that her child needs her to be the strongest Mom she can be now. Parenting a child with special needs is challenging. So are many things in life. You cannot protect her from the difficulties she will face in fear of a relapse. This is her reality.

I am sorry if I sound harsh. I don't mean to be. Yes, if your daughter drank heavily while pregnant and her child has a diagnosis of FAS, she most likely will feel guilt. Nothing can be done to undo the past. She can be a good Mom to the whole child now. If she is not up to the task of feeling guilt, but still loving and excepting of her son, I would wager that her sobriety is too fragile to withstand life's challenges in general.

Again, sorry if I sound harsh. From my experience, people struggling with an addiction respond better to positive feedback about the things they are doing right/are good at.

Do you have a strong relationship with your grandson? Your daughter is 34 years old...

posts: 413   ·   registered: Feb. 2nd, 2012
id 8692047
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time2Bstronger ( member #34715) posted at 10:23 PM on Thursday, October 7th, 2021

I am so sorry that your family is struggling with these issues. I have taught several children with FAS/FAE. The impairment(s) can range from mild to quite severe. Children with full blown FAS have unique facial features and physical characteristics. Typically, the more pronounced the physical characteristics, the more challenges the child faces in almost all areas of development.

Does your grandson have a medical diagnosis?

Has he been evaluated by a Pediatric Developmental Specialist?

Does he receive special education services and therapies through an IEP? Mild cases are sometimes addressed through a 504 plan.

As for your daughter, congrats on her 6 months of sobriety! I understand your concern with relapse. It is so hard to love someone with an addiction. You get your hopes up, but always hold your breathe that recovery will not last.

In my opinion, unless your grandson's behavior is extreme, I would not "prepare" her ahead of time. She has not seen her son since he was a very young toddler. All children have endearing qualities and she may not "see" the deficits immediately. I think nurturing a positive reunion would be more beneficial. As she builds her relationship with her child, it may become evident to her that he has developmental delays. This is when she will need support.

Six months is new to recovery from addiction. If it were my child (and my daughter has had her struggles and a 7 year old son with issues) I would be as supportive as possible, while emphasizing that her child needs her to be the strongest Mom she can be now. Parenting a child with special needs is challenging. So are many things in life. You cannot protect her from the difficulties she will face in fear of a relapse. This is her reality.

I am sorry if I sound harsh. I don't mean to be. Yes, if your daughter drank heavily while pregnant and her child has a diagnosis of FAS, she most likely will feel guilt. Nothing can be done to undo the past. She can be a good Mom to the whole child now. If she is not up to the task of feeling guilt, but still loving and excepting of her son, I would wager that her sobriety is too fragile to withstand life's challenges in general.

Again, sorry if I sound harsh. From my experience, people struggling with an addiction respond better to positive feedback about the things they are doing right/are good at.

Do you have a strong relationship with your grandson? Your daughter is 34 years old...

posts: 413   ·   registered: Feb. 2nd, 2012
id 8692048
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WhatsRight ( member #35417) posted at 4:19 PM on Friday, October 8th, 2021

Total kudos to your daughter for the work she has already done.

I totally understand the fear of relapse. But I’m not sure what would be a more difficult situation for your daughter…

– to be told about the condition of her child...

—or to be unsuspecting, and to be completely shocked and overwhelmed when she visits him.

I want to ask why she has never known, or has never been told about his condition sooner. But I don’t want to appear to be placing blame on anyone or judging anyone. But if she truly has no knowledge that there is any problem at all, I think not being prepared could be equally devastating.

So sorry you’re in this position. Such a difficult decision to make.

"Noone can make you feel inferior without your concent." Eleanor Roosevelt

I will not be vanquished. Rose Kennedy

posts: 7214   ·   registered: Apr. 23rd, 2012   ·   location: Southeast USA
id 8692226
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Bigger ( Guide #8354) posted at 5:43 PM on Friday, October 8th, 2021

Is your daughter in a good sobriety program?
Any good alcoholic will tell you that getting dry is easy, it’s staying dry that’s hard.
They will also tell you that they definitely know they have the capability of falling off the wagon again but are not as clear on if they have the strength and ability to get back on it once again. Therefore it’s imperative to motivate her to remain sober.

If your grandson has a good father and family-support he will do fine without his mom. Cold sad fact. It definitely would be BETTER if your daughter could have an active part in his life and become more than a biological mom. Let’s all hope and pray for that.
I think it’s probably going to cause more issues if she reappears now, drops out because she falls off the wagon, reappears, drops off… I think it’s worth immense effort to help her in any way or form to remain sober.

I have great experiences (with close relatives and friends) that have done intense AA and 12-step work. Same-sex sponsor, focused on the original AA and original 12-step and to commit to the process. My experience is that if they commit they remain sober. Yes – there is a relapse rate, but the longer they stick to it the less chances of a relapse and seemingly a shorter period before yet another attempt at sobriety.

That’s my advice. Focus on how you can encourage and support your daughter in her sobriety. Part of that package is making amends for her past and cleaning up the past mess.

"If, therefore, any be unhappy, let him remember that he is unhappy by reason of himself alone." Epictetus

posts: 9932   ·   registered: Sep. 29th, 2005
id 8692251
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