So last Tuesday was our monthly group session at the agency. We love going to them not only for the topics but also the bonding with others in the same place as us mentally. This month’s group was bound to be a big one (not only attendance but also material/topic). The session was led by a local doctor on women smoking, drinking alcohol, or doing drugs during pregnancy. With adoption we cannot control what our child will be exposed to before placement. Although, we will hopefully know from the birth mother information on if she used any substances we might not. The main goal of this session in my mind was to find out what medical/mental issues we could potentially be faced with if the baby has been exposed before birth.
She talked primarily about the effects of alcohol and opiates in our session. These are the most common things they are seeing at the clinic in Georgia. Although there was no talk about specific issues and how to handle them discussed, it gave us some good resources to use should we need them. It also gave us an idea of whether we think we could handle that emotionally.
Another thing that was great to hear was how there are more studies being conducted lately on the difference the environment has on the child as they grow up. For instance, was the alcohol in utero a bigger factor vs. having an unstable home environment afterwards? A majority of studies typically follow children that not only were exposed to some form of substance in utero but the parents were also addicted to one or more substance which made the home life more unstable. These forms of studies don’t necessarily give us a good picture of what to expect since not all birth mothers that have used a substance during pregnancy did so chronically or to the severity that people in the studies have.
We are open to potential birth mothers that have used substances while pregnant and hope that if we need it our research will help us through any medical issues that might come up. I have included below a couple places to find/request more information if you are curious. There are also a lot of studies out there that you could google and read.
ENEC – Emory Neurodevelopmental Exposure Clinic firstname.lastname@example.org
Center for Maternal Substance Abuse and Child Development – http://www.emory.edu/msacd/
National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS) http://www.nofas.org