Sunday, April 25, 2010

Cleaning up after FASD

Well, I agree with Kari. I hate FASD. I have mentioned before that my next door neighbor has 4 adopted kids. Two are from a sibling group, one has FAS-"S" is about 16, and the other has mild ARND-"P" is 20. S has been in a group home since last summer, until she was kicked out about a month ago.

Tonight, S threw a major rage, and was violent. I don't know the whole story, but she eventually threw something at her mom that caused a large gash in her eye brow, which then caused blood to cover her face. She is a single mom. She also has two 10 year olds who were adopted from Haiti. The two young ones, came running to our house, hysterical. P has not been staying at home the past several days due to a big explosion between he and his mom.

The police, fire and ambulance arrived. S was taken away handcuffed in the back of squad car (at least the 6th time we have seen this in the past several years-and there were times we have not seen it) to the hospital. Mom was taken in the ambulance to the hospital. I told her the little ones could sleep here tonight, and that I could come and pick her up from the hospital when she was ready.

I sat down with the little ones, who were quite scared. They are use to the police being called to their house, which is sad. But they are not use to seeing their mom covered in blood. We talked a lot. Then, they played with my kids and the bedtime schedule was thrown off. No problem. Except this messes up my FASD kid. But it all worked out.

I went to their house to get the jammies and stuff. There was a trail of blood over the main floor. I cleaned it up. One of the little ones couldn't sleep. We talked some more. I got her down for the second time, and my doorbell rang a few minutes later. It was P, the 20 year old who has not been around for a few days. He had gone home and could tell something was wrong.

I explained the situation to him. He was obviously shaken by it. We talked for a long time. He eventually shared that he doesn't think this explosion would have happened if he and his mom had not been fighting. He thinks that S felt the tension in the house, and it got to her. What a thoughtful guy. I told him that it is not his fault, that he can't control FASD explosions. Nobody can. It is just a matter of time until the next one hits.

We then started talking about his current struggles. He has not been able to make it in community college classes. He has not been able to hold down a part-time job. We talked about it for awhile. He is a very mildly affected by alcohol kid. Most people would not know there is anything wrong, even after being around him a lot. Eventually, if you are around Akila, you can tell there is something off. With P, it is not very obvious at all.

But I tried, to gently and sensitively, point out to him the reason he can't hold down a job, or go to school, is because of the mild damage to his brain. I talked to him about an "external brain" and that he needs support to make these kind of things work. He talked about wanting to be independent and being prideful. I asked if he felt independent now, living at home, with no money or job. He said no. I asked if he felt proud of himself. He said no. I tried to explain that if he would be willing to receive the help he needs, someone in his life who helps to make sure he gets to work, knows his schedule, helps with money management, etc., that he would be able to feel pride in himself.

I tried to explain that he should not feel dumb because of this brain damage, and that he is a very smart and intelligent person. But that more than likely, he would just continue in the same cycle if he did not get some support in any future employment opportunities. I so love this kid, he is really cool. I so want him to succeed. I offered to be his external brain, I will wait and see if he takes me up on it.

So, between our two households, there are three kids with FASD, and they are all over the spectrum. S is on the extreme, Akila is in the middle, and P is on the other extreme end, where he is mildly effected. And then there are the 5 other children (2 are hers, 3 are mine) who were not prenatally damaged by alcohol. But they have been damaged by alcohol. Every time they have to see the police come to their house, see their mom bleeding, watch their sister kicking their mom, watch their sister swearing at their mom, they are damaged.

It is just our job (Michael and mine, and my neighbor), to try to clean up after FASD. Tonight, I was literally cleaning up after FASD- wiping up blood. Often, I am cleaning up after one of Akila's rage. But more often, the cleaning up consists of damage control. Trying to have deep discussions with the other kids, about what just happened, what might happen, how to handle it, how we did handle something, etc. Teaching them to love, forgive, and most of all, to learn how to see Christ in themselves, and to show this side to others. In watching how we handle Akila, and our neighbors, we learn the most about our own sins and weaknesses.

I gotta get some sleep, I have a lot of cleaning up to do.


Kari said...

I'm sorry to hear what happened but I am so glad that your neighbor has you. We all need each other, none of us can do this alone.

GB's Mom said...

What a resource you are for that family! I wish you lived next door to me! You are an awesome person!

vicsens said...

I am a faithful reader, but am not much of a commenter. This post had me crying. I have such compassion for the children who have been so affected by alcohol and the effect it has on their entire family. You're such a blessing to your neighbor..I'm sure she appreciates having you close by to help. I will continue to keep your family and all families affected by FASD in my prayers.

AKBrady said...

What can I say? You are one amazing woman.

Jeff said...

Hi, I also am mildly affected by FAS and the story of "p" got me thinking. I also struggled alot trying to figure out what to do with my life and made alot of dumb mistakes along the way, but now am happily married and have 2 adopted kids, 1 with fas. I would like to help "P", Let me know if he would like someone to talk to that has been down this road before. You can find my blog at Thank You, Jeff

Kristin said...

Hey Barb,

Hang in there. My personal "take" on the meaning on life in that we are here to get to better know God. And how do we get to better *know* God? We get to better know his attributes (i.e. the 99 names of God).... love, kindness, compassion, mercy, forgiveness, strength, justice, etc. And to get to know these attributes you have to go through trials and struggles and difficulties. So if this gives you ANY comfort at all. You are being one AMAZING mother to ALL of your kids. because you are sherparding them through all of these difficulties teaching them the attributes (of God) necessary to handle these difficulties successfully. Not with anger and weakness and fear, but with strength and compassion and forgiveness and kindness. Which means, God-willing, that they will be successful in life, and are serving their purpose in this world.