When the Extended Family Doesn't Understand

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My extended family wants me to treat my child with FASD exactly same as my kids without it. What should I say when they call? Please advise!

You might want to say to (your family member) something like this:

"I need to talk with you about this more, but I can't do it right now"; and set a time. That way you can be prepared with information and (be) in the correct frame of mind to speak with your family member.

At the arranged time, you could present your point of view in a way like the following:

"We adopted (my child with FASD), and we are making every effort to make her feel part of our family. I need your support. Regardless of what (my child's) challenges are now or later in life, she is still part of our family, and my daughter.

As you know, (my child with FASD) was diagnosed with ...   I'm sure you have heard me use that term before. This condition affects our whole family. Living with a family member with FASD is hard, and raising a child with FASD is a special challenge. I need to advocate every day for her that she gets the help she needs and deserves at school so she can reach her full potential, whatever that might be. I need to teach her the skills to deal with life just like (I do for) my other children, but (my child with FASD) learns differently, and often at a slower pace, so I have to be very patient and diligent to help her reach each goal. But my most important job is to accept (my child) as she is and love her.

I get tired and weary; and I could sure use your help. It hurts me greatly when you say that (my child with FASD) is an outcast! She's just a little girl, trying to fit into a world that doesn't make sense to her. She marches to a different drummer..."

Try something along those lines. Put some thought into it before you chat with her (or even write a script and rehearse it beforehand with your spouse or a friend). You might be surprised at the outcome of the conversation. If you are close with your (family member), a letter might work as well.

From a mom named Jonsteel