Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Snapshots in tears

I imagine everyone has moments in time that are permanently etched in their memories. Snapshots. Perfect memories. Memories that are so strong you still have every detail of them.

 The first time I realized people actually had sex on purpose.
The first time I realized that I just might kick ass academically in high school.

My first real make-out session.

My first break up.

Finding out I had passed the pharmacy boards.

Chatting with Rich for the first time.

The visit where he got confused with the time he was supposed to pick me up from the airport and was two hours late, and I was convinced he didn't love me anymore.

Opening and reading the email that told us a baby was waiting for us in Russia.

The doctor telling us he had embryos he would like us to have.

Seeing that first positive pregnancy test.

And now, I will always remember that moment, at 3:05pm on Tuesday, May 24th, 2011, when Rich called to tell me that we had the results from Noah's MRI. Results that showed brain damage consistent with fetal alcohol exposure.

I cried for the rest of the day. I couldn't stop the tears from coming. I felt like our lives had been knocked completely off center. I was devastated. I still am.

Noah has a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). A completely preventable birth defect caused by ingestion of alcohol by his birth mother when she was pregnant with him.

In the two weeks since we received the MRI results my emotions have moved from devastation to pissed off to relief that we finally have an answer that makes sense to anger to sadness and back again.

Devastation for the permanence of FASD and what this means for Noah and his future.

Pissed off at his birth mother that she did this to Noah.

Relieved that we may finally be on the right path to figure out how to best help him and understand him.

Angry that it took eight years to figure this out. That no one ever suggested we test him for FASD. That when I look at pictures of him as an infant and toddler I see the physical features in his face - subtle yes, and not at all detracting from how gorgeous he was and is, but yes, still there.

I'm angry tonight because we lost eight years of therapy and interventions that could have been targeted towards a brain that was damaged, instead of floundering around as we did guessing and hoping something would work, when really, nothing we did worked. Angry that we spent years thinking we were bad parents, believing others when they said we were making Noah worse, even though in our hearts we knew we were doing everything we could.

Angry that Noah is always going to struggle.

And sad, so sad, that my child, the child of my heart, was hurt. And that no matter how much I love him, and how much I fight for him, and how much I try, I can't fix that damage. All I can do is try to help him learn how to make the most of what he does have. And continue to fight for him. And always be here for him.

I still have tears to shed. I still have anger to work through. I still have knowledge to gain. I think though, that we are finally on the right path.

I will have more to share soon. Hopefully more information, with less emotional drama in the telling.


  1. I am so sorry for your diagnosis. I have 3 RAD kids, 1 who we are estranged from (she had all the testing but was negative except for RAD and PTSD), 1 who is healing and one who is not. It has been suggested that we test for FASD. I don't know that I see it but after 11 years I'm ready to try most anything. I homeschool and we're reaching the point where he just doesn't seem to be able to handle higher learning processes. Just know you're not alone. (I was housemom at Graceland last year and will be this year, too)

  2. Noah is a wonderful kid. I really enjoyed spending time with him. It is a lot to process, but hopefully it is the beginning of real progress for him. You are never alone. {{{Hugs}}}

  3. I can tell from your post the combination of sadness and relief, but all I can think about is - where we would Noah be today if you hadn't adopted him, and what kind of future would he have had? Thank God for you and Rich, and for whatever fate brought the two of you to Noah, because no matter what he faces, he's going to have a much more amazing life because of the two of you! I'm praying that this diagnosis finally can get you the right treatment to make life a little (ok, a LOT) less crazy for all of you - hang in there! I'm thinking of you! Laura

  4. Hi housemate! I have struggled through the years not wanting to look at a fas diagnosis - it somehow seemed so permanent and devoid of hope, I don't think that anymore, now I believe that it is what it is and the sooner we embrace it the sooner we can help our son to develop into the most he can be, and to be realistic about it. I have not had him tested, so I am only beginning to get the courage to go there. Hopefully we can talk more about this in Orlando.

    Hang in there!
    Xo, patty

  5. Sending you hugs and support, that's all I can do for now.

  6. Oh God. You know I remember how much you have struggled with this. My heart hurts for you, friend. xoxo