Prenatal exposures to drugs, alcohol, and other substances can be encountered in all types of adoption: infant or older child; domestic or international; public, private, or independent.
As you approach adoption, there are several steps you can take to learn more about these exposures, and separate fact from myth.
Originally, it was believed that younger children could overcome the exposure without any long term effects, however families are experiencing residual issues, including:
sensory integration issues
These aren't new disorders, they've simply been identified now.
Many encounter problems trying to differentiate between preemie development and the effects of the drugs and alcohol. While Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is easiest to diagnose, some of the drug effects are not necessarily apparent immediately unless the child tested positive at birth. Drug effects are likely to manifest as low birth weight, tremors, under developed neuro systems, and the inability to be soothed or sleep.
Demand (don't just ask for) a complete medical history and details about exposures: what substances were taken, for how long, whether or not the child can be or was born addicted, results of neonatal and subsequent testing, developmental aptitudes, etc.
legal assistance for parents in finalizing the adoption and pursuing services
Early intervention will give your child the best opportunity for positive outcomes. The following resources provide excellent information and you are encouraged to bring your comments and questions about this topic to the forum.
Resources Used in this Article (recommended reading for all)