There is hope for these babies! I was born in 1953 at the height of the last
polio epidemic. My mother contracted polio while pregnant with me, and ended up
on morphine for 3 months. Although I had some withdrawal symptoms at birth and a
few typical behaviors for such infants, I have lived a normal, healthy childhood
and adulthood. I have earned three college degrees: BA, MA, and PhD.
There's hope. Don't just discount these kids because they struggle
from the beginning.
Re: Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah"... But, not to downplay it,
thousands of children are abused every year ..."Yes, you are
correct. The question is whether society is willing to risk the well being of a
helpless child to a mother who has proven that she hasn't put the well
being of her child first in the past.This is about innocent children
and not about drug addicted mothers who may, or may not, make correct choices in
the future. Children who are addicted at birth should be taken from their birth
mothers who don't deserve them .... permanently!!
@ironmania: After reading your glib comment, I ask you: Have you ever seen a
newborn baby rub his chin raw or shake violently from withdrawal? Have you ever
seen one cry incessantly with his eyes glazed over and his fists clenched with a
look of horror on his face? Or scratch his eyes until they bled? Have you ever
seen a newborn do this? If you haven't,maybe you could reserve your
comments for a more lighter piece in this newspaper.
Kalindra is correct in that substance abuse is a complicated issue. "The
user has to want to be clean". It's more complicated that
"want(ing) to be clean". My son was and his girlfriend were street
addicts for years before they joined the methadone clinic. A step up for them in
the sense that they want sobriety. From what I learned by actually going to
meetings, talking to councilors and addicts, drug treatment programs are flawed.
After two weeks in his first treatment program, my son told me that all he
learned was that withdrawal was painful and in group sessions, fellow addicts
taught him new ways to abuse drugs. In less than a week he was using again.
Methadone addicts think they are "cured" because they are obtaining
opiates "legally," and are told they are lifelong recovering addicts and
have to resign to the fact that their brains are hardwired for addiction. That
is false. Willpower is not mentioned. Addiction clinics are a business. That
needs to be changed and the attitude that having an addicted child can be
remedied without serious repercussions has to be addressed.
@ Nan BW: This is my last post, so someone will have to take over for me if you
have additional questions. I appreciate the respectful tone of your questions
and comments.Substance abuse and recovery are very complicated
issues and include alcohol abuse and recovery. People start using drugs in
different ways and for different reasons and the treatment must address any
underlying issues as well as dealing with the actual substance usage. Some
individuals have great success with 12-step programs, others do well living in
group homes, others do better with other treatment options.The one
thing that is consistent is that in order for substance abuse treatment to be
effective, the user has to want to be clean - there has to be something in
themselves that means more than using - and for some women that is a love of
their child and the desire to raise that child. When there is a reason to get
and stay clean, treatment is very effective. (More information can be found on
the National Institute on Drug Abuse website.)The decision on
whether or not someone should be allowed to keep their child must be made on an
@ Rifleman: Yes - the story is sad. I never claimed it wasn't. But, not
to downplay it, thousands of children are abused every year - the majority of
them are not abused by individuals who use substances.Should we take
away children whose parents are religious because sometimes the abuse happens in
the name of religion? Should we take away the children of parents who are
divorced because step-parents are more abusive than biological parents?We cannot and should not make public policy decisions based on anecdotes - we
should make them based on all the facts. Sometimes the child(ren) will do
better if removed from the home. Other times the children do best when left in
the home. It must be decided on a case by case basis and one of the factors to
consider is the willingness of the substance abusing parent to get and stay
@Nan BW: Unfortunately this problem hits home. My grandson was born addicted to
methadone and it was one of the darkest periods of my life. My son and his
girlfriend were both attending a methadone clinic when he was conceived. To my
amazement they told me that her two-year-old daughter was born addicted and it
was "no big deal" because hospitals have facilities for addicted babies
and her daughter was "ONLY in the hospital for two weeks". NO BIG DEAL!?
My grandson was in the hospital for two months as he suffered while the staff
tried to provide him with the right combination of opiates and barbituates to
wean him off. There are no "IFS" "ANDS" or "BUTS" when
it comes to this problem. Alternatives have to be addressed because infants
should not have to suffer for the sins (yes, SINS) of their parents. My grandson
lives with me and has developmental challenges. All I can do is lobby for change
to this "Drug Plague" and love and care for my grandson, come what may.
Kalindra"All due respect to your anecdote ...."The
little girl who's drug addicted bio-mom's boyfriend scalded her just
got home from a summer camp for children who have been burned. Sometimes other
children at school tease her about her scars. Should I mention that this same
family also adopted her half sister. Same bio-mom but different boyfriend.Both children now enjoy the benefits of living in a normal, stable home
environment with loving drug-free adoptive parents where they now have
opportunities their bio-mom never would have given them.
Kalindra, "As long as the mother is willing to seek help and is committed to
actually doing what needs to be done to get sober and stay sober"... and
there is the great "IF": commitment requires self-control and a lot of
work. Does anyone have statistics to enlighten us on the number of addicts who
@ Rifleman: All due respect to your anecdote, but when looking at a group of
more than one the method I advocate has been shown to be most effective.@ Nan BW: There are a great many social costs associated with
addiction. As long as the mother is willing to seek help and is committed to
actually doing what needs to be done to get sober and stay sober (as it appears
the mother in this story is doing), it is not necessary to add the costs
(social, psychological, and financial) of foster care/adoption to the other
costs associated with addiction.It has been proven that, when the
mother is committed to getting sober and staying that way, the best outcome -
for the mother and the child(ren) - is achieved by keeping the family together.
It is not just the babies who suffer from the poor choices and decisions their
mothers made while pregnant; it impacts all of us because of the medical
expenses which all of us are to share under projected Obama care. There are many
grandparents taking care of children of addicted daughters too, and they are
often the adults who pay the heaviest price. There are no easy answers, but I am
in agreement with those who doubt that leaving babies with addicted moms will
have a good result very often.
Re: Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah"Keeping her baby and having a reason
to have a good life may help the mother stay off drugs"The best
long term interests of an infant who was born with an addiction aren't
going to be met by a birth mother who has proven that she doesn't make good
decisions. Our neighbors adopted a baby who managed to get out of
jail just long enough to get herself pregnant. Of course the adoptive parents
had to deal with the 3rd degree burns the baby suffered at the hands of her
birth mother's boyfriend. The birth mother has since moved on from the
jail to the state prison where other people now make all her decisions for her.
@ luv2organize: Keeping her baby and having a reason to have a good life may
help the mother stay off drugs. Additionally, if there are eventual problems
for the baby related to being born addicted to drugs, her mother may be the best
person to understand what she is going through - her mother also has a stake in
helping her daughter through things. (One of the biggest problems faced by
children born to addicted mothers and then placed in foster care/adoption was
finding someone committed enough to taking care of them to deal with the extra
baggage and behavioral problems many of these children came with.)Staying together is the best chance for this mother and her daughter.
After reading the headline (only), I confess that I, too, am addicted to
I'm sorry but I find it a tragedy that this mother opted to raise the baby.
Certainly there are better homes for this baby to thrive in and have an overall
better quality of life especially if there are long term ramifications of the
drug addiction. Yes, I'm being politically incorrect but this mother should
focus on healing herself and letting her daughter live a richer life.