ADOPTING A CHILD WITH FACS:
There are many challenges that are unique to a family that have adopted a child with FACS. The following article was given by parents representing families with adopted childen with FACS. If you too have adopted a FACS child, you can contact these for support through OACS.
As adopted parents of children diagnosed with fetal Valproate Syndrome (FVS), or any of the other anti convulsant syndromes; we would like to express all concerns and worries for our children. We feel detached in some respects as we have children with this condition, but as parents we do not have the same complex issues with our health, it is because of this that we do not receive the same level of support that others might. It is often forgotten that our problems are not lesser they are different. We are in a minority as some professionals have an attitude towards us of, “you chose to parent a children with fetal valproate syndrome" so therefore do not have the same needs as a birth parent with a child with the syndrome.
Although my children came with a diagnosis of FVS we were given very little information, and lack the natural process of information and experience that comes with giving birth to a child with special needs. Even today we still have very limited information from professionals. We realise this is not uncommon; however the attitude towards us as a minority group is dismissive.
With families of adopted children, there is a massive emphasis on confidentiality, and protecting the child's and adoptive family’s identity due to complex history and safety of the child and birth family. When there is a special needs child with a rare syndrome, this creates many unexpected complex medical challenges, as there is no contact with the birth parents; this is a problem rarely understood. It is one that needs to be recognised, understood and addressed in total confidentiality, as this affects the child’s wellbeing.
There must be many more families with adopted, or fostered children with a fetal anti convulsant syndrome, let alone a fetal valproate syndrome; even if they are not diagnosed; that have a likelihood of FVS, or another anti convulsant syndrome, out there. These may not be so lucky to have obtained a diagnosis due to the lack of contact with the birth parent; so with adoptive families the onus should perhaps be on the mother that took anticonvulsant medication that has a special needs child.
We need strategies and useful advice, not only to help adoptive families but professional working with these children. Adopted children come with many complex and diverse needs regarding behaviours and attachment issues, as well as these issues they also have the additional challenges caused by having special needs.