More Alphabet Soup

Posted by admin on March 26, 2013

When we received our adoption referral back in 2007, it was documented that birthmom in Russia drank alcohol during pregnancy. In fact, it seems birthmom drank a lot. So much so that one of our fab four was actually born intoxicated.

Armed with their pictures and their social history, we did a little research and, at the suggestion of our adoption agency, sent our referral to the Seattle Children's Hospital to have one of their experts on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome review the information and give us a professional opinion. While none of our kids presented with the facial and other physical features necessary to diagnose FAS, the doctor who reviewed our info did tell us to always be on the lookout for the long-term effects. She told us that some of these effects may not present themselves until school-age, in ways such as learning disabilities, ADHD, language delays...and the list goes on.

It is crystal clear to me that right now we are in the throes of those long-term effects.

Since Orlando, FASD has become part of my everyday alphabet soup/research/obsession.

At the recommendation of one of my Sweet Home lovelies, I bought the book Trying Differently Rather Than Harder by Diane Malbin. This book has changed the way I look at and parent my kids.

It has also made me angry.

As if the trauma of severe neglect, malnutrition, abuse, and orphanage living weren't enough, my kids now have to go through life with an invisible disability. Their brains are messed up and there's nothing I can do to change that.

In utero, alcohol passes through the placenta and pickles the brain. Pickles.the.brain. It kills brain cells. Period. So while my kids don't look it, they are disabled. They can't read well. They can't process things quickly. They can't control their impulses. They literally can't "act their age." As the book says, "They are ten second kids in a one second world." Spot on. No wonder they are frustrated. No wonder they are anxious. No wonder they are angry. No wonder they act out.

The book also made me angry at myself. I can't tell you how many times I have said, "Why don't you just listen?" "Why are you taking so long?" "Can't you just sit still?" "Why don't you follow directions?" "Why are you so angry?"


If only life had do-overs.

But once we know better we do better, right?

Ken and I have done a lot of good in the past 5 years. I can proudly say that our kids are, for the most part, beautifully attached (well, except for Marina) and I am beyond grateful for that. But as the kids grow, the game changes, and as the game changes, our parenting has to, too.

Once I finished this book I had a good cry. I cried for my kids and the struggles they face and will continue to face for the rest of their lives. I cried because sometimes being their Mom is just so.damn.hard. After my good cry, I let it go. It is what it is and we are where we are. I try my best not to continually feel sorry for them. I believe that pity does not serve them well.

I am getting educated on Fetal Alchol Spectrum Disorders and I am changing the way I parent. It's exciting, actually, because while I had no influence over their pre-natal care, I have total influence over their lives now and moving forward.

Being their Mom is the ultimate challenge and the highest honor.

So bring it on, FASD.

I have knowledge. And I have more than 100 powerful women who now have my back.

I am ready.


- Christie (who blogs at Zukorville)

Comments Welcome

Posted by Tina on
As always you amaze me, humble me and make me consider this world full of unfairness. BUT GOD! He doesn't make mistakes and He has blessed you with wisdom, understanding, a brave, kind heart and a Wonderful, human husband! These children could not have been more blessed than to be a part of the ZUKOR family. Talk about God working all things together for good. You wanted a family, they needed amazing parents...looks like you all got it all 100 times what you expected or ever dreamed of. The developmental years are tough for even the most average of children. Add the complexities of Drug or Alcohol Fetal heart aches. But I will tell you from experience your love has and will continue to take them farther than all the educational, medical and psychological supports they could ever get! Research can help us understand, but it will NEVER make these issues go away and for that all of our hearts ache! But a tender heart can heal so much. When I think of the one overly shy, uncomfortable child that I first met and as time as moved forward, she makes eye contact, even initiates conversations (even about herself) it is clear that there is healing in a loving home. Be blessed, rest when you can, fight the good fight every day and trust God, to do all that you aren't capable of...He does make a way where there is no way...and he specializes in that! They aren't in your care by any mistake..but a very purposeful plan and you are up to whatever the challenges!

Posted by Scooping it up blog on
I cried reading this. Beautiful! Thank you for sharing.
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