Birth Parents, Domestic Adoption, new mothers, Parenting, Special Needs Adoption, Uncategorized

Adopting a Substance-Exposed Child

Prenatal exposures to drugs, alcohol, and other substances can be encountered in all types of adoption: infant or older child; domestic or international; public, private, or independent.

As you approach adoption, there are several steps you can take to learn more about these exposures, and separate fact from myth.

Originally, it was believed that younger children could overcome the exposure without any long term effects, however some families are experiencing residual issues, including:

  • learning weaknesses
  • sensory integration issues

Many encounter problems trying to differentiate between preemie development and the effects of the drugs and alcohol. While Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is easiest to diagnose, some of the drug effects are not necessarily apparent immediately unless the child tested positive at birth. Drug effects are likely to manifest as low birth weight, tremors, under developed neuro systems, and the inability to be soothed or sleep.

Initial Steps

  1. Ask for a complete medical history and details about exposures: what substances were taken, for how long, whether or not the child can be or was born addicted, results of neonatal and subsequent testing, developmental aptitudes, etc.
  2. Seek independent medical evaluations
  3. Learn about prenatal exposures, what they are and potential effects.
  4. Examine your attitudes and work with adoption and/or counseling professionals if you need help assessing your own abilities and capabilities.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s