Sometimes, it feels like FASD is everywhere. Probably, because it is.
I just got a call from a man who lives a block away. He and his wife and 3 kids, have been letting a young man stay at their house who has FASD. They have only realized in the last month or so that he has FASD. I know this young man, and I dearly love him. He has ARND, and is very mildly effected, however, we all know, there is really no mild when it comes to FASD (and it is all perspective anyway. I probably see him as mild as he is not a rager, which is what seems to put Akila in the extreme category).
This summer, I tried to bring up the young man's diagnosis to the man at a neighborhood party. I think the young man had only been staying there a few months and they were in a honeymoon phase. I got a call about a month ago from this father, and he was really frustrated. The young man had been stealing from their entire family and selling stuff to a pawn shop.
I talked to the father about the way that alcohol damages the brain. And the fact that these things would not stop happening. To his credit, he wants to support this young man. He wants to work with him, and not kick him out, as many families would do. He is committed to him. I told him about the Damaged Angels book that I think is so helpful for people to read when first learning about FASD. He stopped over within an hour and picked up one of my many copies. He asked if I would come and talk to his entire family (they are all teenagers or young adults) about FASD. I said sure. We have not yet set up a time.
Today, I received another call. Both the dad and the young man were on the phone. There was some major lying that had occurred, and they were both upset. I helped them talk it through a little bit. I am going over next week to talk about FASD some more and some ways of dealing with the behaviors.
I know how hard it is to deal with these behaviors as a parent. It would be really hard to deal with them as just a neighbor who is letting someone stay with them. I am so thankful that this young man has a second family who is willing to support him. I hope that if we need a second family for Akila someday, that one will be there. His first family is burnt out and dealing with a whole host of other issues right now. They still love him, but are not in a position to deal with him full time right now.
I wonder if I should be saying third family? This is a young man, like my daughter, who was adopted. His mom was his second family. This family is his third family. It does take a village. But it takes an incredibly patient village.
Which is more difficult?
15 hours ago