Saturday, August 8, 2009

More information, more confusion

I know some people have been waiting for an update and I apologize for not posting one sooner.  We had our disclosure meeting two days ago and it hasn't make our decision isn't any easier.  I have a 3 inch stack of medical records and evaluations to read over and I have to call the pediatrician, the department's attorney, the child's attorney, and the daycare provider. We left the meeting with two weeks to make our decision so we now have about 12 days left.  Tomorrow morning,  DH and I are heading up north for a few days.  I'm going to read and take notes, in between boating, playing with my nieces, and eating good food.  I'll start making phone calls on Monday.  

The highlights of the meeting were:

1) Foster mom is now fighting hard to keep the child.  She has hired an attorney.  She has asked for an injunction.  It's not clear what standing a judge will give her in the case.  The Department's point of view is that she has had 3 years to adopt this child and they do not trust her ability to commit to him at this point. They think she's still torn between wanting to keep him and knowing she's not able to do so financially or emotionally. The child's attorney supports the Department's decision.  We plan to talk to the Department's attorney to find out more about the legal standing of all the parties.  We hope to talk to the child's attorney to confirm her support of the Department. 

2) The little guy has some cognitive delays, which so far appear mild, and he is pretty hyperactive.  He also has difficulty focusing for more than short periods of time.  It may be ADHD.  It may be the after-effects of being prenatally exposed to cocaine and, because of mom's addiction, being born almost 8 weeks premature.  It may be that, in addition to smoking crack, mom drank while pregnant and he has FASD.  

That last possibility is the most worrying to me. The birth history in the evaluations say mom possibly drank while pregnant. This isn't confirmed in hospital records and it's not clear where this notion came from, but it does make sense.  A woman who uses crack while pregnant is not likely to say no to alcohol.  Little Guy doesn't have the facial features of FASD (with the exception of a thinner top lip), but I know that the facial features are only present if mom drank heavily during the first trimester.  The most heartbreaking part of FASD, the brain damage, happens throughout pregnancy and can be present without the facial features.   He has many characteristics of the neurological damage of FASD.  At the same time, he has many characteristics of ADHD.  FASD is often first misdiagnosed as ADHD. I know kids with FASD can have good lives, but the reality is that dealing with FASD gets harder as kids get older and most are not able to live independently. We would tackle the job of raising a child with FASD if we adopted a child and later found out he had FASD, but it's not something we would choose to take on.  It's the reason we previously turned down the placement of the two year old girl. ADHD, learning delays, developmental delays, motor issues, allergies-these I can do. 

I don't know why, but I didn't think this would be so hard.  With the legal issue ongoing and the possibility of FASD, I really don't know what our decision will be. I hope that talking to Little Guy's pediatrician and the attorneys will give me a few more answers. What I would give for a crystal ball right now!  

Oh, and Little Guy looks like a total cutie in his photos. 


Me said...

I don't understand what the foster mom's deal is - I don't want him but you can't have him. WTF?

I'm sorry this decision is so hard for you Karen. You've been through so much already and now still the path is unyielding. It really isn't fair.

Love and hugs.

Fran said...

Oh Karen, the decision is really hard...of course the mother is a nut case altogether, but I understand that the major worry would be about the health of the child. I have no advie of course, but wanted to tell you I'm thinking of you. Love, Fran

Wendy said...

Wow, Karen. I'm sorry this is all so tough. I just wanted to wish you all the best as you try to make your decision.

Polly Gamwich said...

Karen, I'm so surprised to hear that the foster mom is duking it out NOW ... of all times!

I just wanted to say how proud I am of you two for all of the love, care, thought, and RESERCH you are putting into this! I don't know anything about FAS ... so I have no words of wisdom.

GL in moving forward!


Lost in Space said...

Wow, Karen, this is such a confusing situation. She couldn't afford to keep him without the foster money before, but now she has the money to hire a lawyer?

I don't know anything about FASD and won't pretend to be helpful on any accounts (like I ever am anyway)... Could the foster mom possibly suspect he has this and that be the reason she has wanted more testing??

I'm really sorry this is all so hard, Karen. I can't imagine to know what it feels like to make this kind of decision, but feel very strongly that you are putting so much thought, time, and research into putting this little guy's best interest above all else.

Many hugs.

Beautiful Mess said...

The decision is hard, but once it's made, it'll just FEEL right. In the meant time, take it one day at a time.

Enjoy spending time with your nieces and good luck!