If you're looking for the Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (MOFAS) you have come to the right place. We have some exciting news about our organization. We have a new name! MOFAS has officially been renamed Proof Alliance. Our mission remains the same: to prevent prenatal alcohol exposure and to improve the quality of life for people living with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD).
We now have the proof that prenatal alcohol exposure is a leading cause of brain injury in children. We have the proof that FASD is 100% preventable and people living with an FASD can reach 100% of their potential.
We seek to build powerful alliances with people with an FASD, their families, legislators, experts in the field, new partners, and community members to bring awareness, research, and services to this field.
Proof Alliance is rebranding, expanding, and we're moving! We have a new logo, website, and prevention campaign to help change the norms around drinking during pregnancy. And in May 2019 we will be moving to a stand-alone building. Proof Alliance commits to the people of Minnesota and we will continue to develop transformative programs to help Minnesotans impacted by FASD.
By: Mary Weaver, MOFAS Northwest Area Family Resource Coordinator
This blog is part of a three part series.
So many times I’ve started this. And so many times, I’ve stumped myself on where to go, what to say.
I guess the best place to start is the beginning. I’m adopted. I joined my family at the age of six months. Five years later, my brother joined our family. I was always aware of being adopted – there’s no memory of a particular moment of discovery. We were always told we were “selected, not expected.” We knew nothing but joy surrounding our adoptions and were secure in the love we received from our parents.
When I was 19, I became pregnant. I was young, uninformed, and immature. Sporadically throughout the beginning of my pregnancy, I drank. To be honest, I’ve searched my brain to remember what, if anything, my doctor told me about drinking during pregnancy, and am really not sure what he said. I do know I believed that going out and getting drunk could be harmful. I know I personally felt (at that time) that the harm could truly only come from someone who drank all the time or got rip-snorting wasted frequently. And that wasn’t me. I drank only “once in a while,” and I never drank until I was drunk. My baby should be fine, right?
My beautiful son was born on the only day it didn’t snow in January. He was not breathing when he was born – something we attributed at the time to the drugs I was given about an hour before he arrived. And that still may be the reason why. The quick actions of doctors helped him get his respiratory issues under control and, other than that scare, he was perfect.
Chris was always a bit active. He reached his developmental milestones on target but was always on the move. He was smart but when frustrated would bang his head on the floor until he caused bruising and lumps. He was a sweet child but he struggled with understanding and following directions. By the time he started kindergarten, these things were disrupting the class. It was suggested he be tested for ADHD and shortly after, we started him on medication. Thankfully, it truly did help him focus and allowed him to work on his social skills.
Academically, Chris did pretty well. He struggled at times with new concepts, but with the help of an amazing teacher in third grade, it seemed to all “click” for him. He required a little bit of speech therapy and some assistance in math and reading over the years, but truly seemed to handle school pretty well. Other than occasionally becoming bored or simply not liking a subject, he successfully completed his education. Today, at 30, he’s doing fantastic. He lives on his own (he moved to the Cities when he was 19), has graduated from a post-secondary education, and is completely self-sufficient. He presents as a normal, kind young man. He has found “supports” for the things that frustrate him or he struggles with, such as computer programs to manage his money or keeping a calendar for dates and appointments. In this day and age of technology, there are numerous “external brains” available to assist him when he needs it. Was he affected by my drinking? Probably. Have we struggled over the years? Definitely. Has he “made it?” I would resoundingly say “yes.” Maybe we dodged a bullet. Maybe the supports we put into place during his younger years provided exactly what he needed. I will never know the full answer, but I do know we are both very fortunate. And lucky.