Before we had kids, my husband and I LOVED to watch TV, and one of our many favorites was Everyone Loves Raymond. I keep thinking about the episode where Marie found Ray's junior high diary. She was upset because one of the entries read, "I EHAT my mom." Ray had written in a code that he thought his mom would never be able to crack. Moms are pretty smart though, and sure enough, Marie cracked the code.
I have been thinking about this post for a few weeks now. I need to share part of our story, but I just don't want to. I wish I could sugar-coat the story or write it in code, but that would not count as coming out with the truth. My son Alex has FAS, and I would rather write it in code - SFA. If you didn't know, FAS stands for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. He was diagnosed with this in May of 2008, and the diagnosis greatly influenced our move to Florida.
Basically, his birthmom drank while she was pregnant. Of course, we don't know how often or how much, but we do know that damage was done. FAS is a spectrum disorder as the affects can range from minor to severe. Whatever is developing in the baby when the mom is drinking is what is impaired. In our case, the FAS has caused permanent brain damage. Alex's left and right side of his brain cannot communicate, so although he may know rules like "We don't hit our friends" his brain cannot stop him from hitting before it is too late. It causes many problems in preschool because he can tell you the rules and the results for breaking those rules. As a result, he is disciplined as if he can control these impulses. In many ways, we are very lucky. Alex has a lot of strengths. He is very bright and loving. His speech is great, and he loves to read. I am hoping this will help him be successful in school.
I honestly don't know why I am having such a hard time accepting this. When we decided to adopt from Russia, we knew this would be a possibility. I even asked several of his doctors along the way if he had been affected by this. It is very surreal. I wasn't really surprised to hear this diagnosis, but at the same time, I was not expecting it at all.
In the five steps of grief, Step One is denial. I have mastered that. I have been denying this for almost a year and a half. In fact, I tried to blog about this a few months ago, but I was only able to tell you about some of his related conditions.
Step Two is anger, and I am doing great with that one too! I am mad at God - largely because I keep asking him to help me be more patient and graceful with Alex. I feel like he is failing me. I am mad that this happened to my child. I wonder what his life without this would be like. I am mad at Russia. I am most mad that this was preventable. I do not want to speak out for this. Why not autism? Aspergers or OCD? Sadly, I can no longer sit by and just be angry anymore. I need to protect my child and be an advocate for him. One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Esther 4:14, "For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to a royal position for such a time as this?" Ignoring this for the last 18 months has only caused me stress and heartache. I give up. I will acknowledge this.
I have probably sinned in my anger with God, but I do still know that only He holds the answers for us. I believe He is not rushing in to save us so that we will find a long-term solution instead of a quick but temporary fix. I do believe God pieced us together to be a family, and I do hope to move on to the next step soon. It will just take time and chocolate. Until then, I ehat FAS, but I deeply, fiercely love my child.