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  #1  
Old 02-22-2010, 10:00 AM
JackieN JackieN is offline
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Experiences with Meth Exposed Babies

I have been recently licensed and am awaiting placement of a fost/adopt child age 0 to 3. I have been told that my area has a large Meth problem and that a high percentage of babies taken into FC will have been Meth exposed. I was hoping that those of you with experience with Meth exposed babies could answer a few questions:

  • What problems are common with Meth exposed babies?
  • What problems may develop later that are not obvious when they are babies?
  • Do Meth users tend to only use Meth or do they also use alcohol and/or other drugs?
  • Is there a large difference in terms of long-term outcome between babies who are born Meth addicted as opposed to just exposed?
  • I have been told that Meth is one of the hardest drugs to kick, making RU rates very low among Meth addicts. Has this been your experience?

I am going to be a single first-time mother, so I am very concerned about taking on more than I can handle. I would appreciate any experiences you could share on Meth exposed children.

Thanks in advance!
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  #2  
Old 02-22-2010, 10:52 AM
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mommytoEli mommytoEli is offline
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this is just based on my experience with a meth baby and the research i did when he was placed with us.
  • What problems are common with Meth exposed babies? withdrawl in the beginning. our son had tremors for 3 months after he was born. other problems that sem to be "common" are feeding issues (such as reflux), and sleeping problems- either too much or not enough, irritablity- although we were lucky that as irritable as our son was, as long as he was held he was fine (24 hours a day for 3 months). this included changing him ion our legs, holding him while we slept (not reccomending this....just telling you how bad it was for us). i also read once that meth babies can have a hard time regulating their temperatures....that was true for us. he got a fever constantly...and a fever of 104 was completley normal for us. it was scary! he does seem to have gotten over that one.
  • What problems may develop later that are not obvious when they are babies? learning issues, attention problems, sleep issues- again either too much or too little. our guy is 6 now....we are experiencing learning issues, he is totally adhd, and as a toddler/young child he slept 14 hour nights with 3-4 hour naps during the day....now we are lucky if he gets 10 hours at night.
  • Do Meth users tend to only use Meth or do they also use alcohol and/or other drugs? our social worker said in her experience where we lived meth addicts tended to also smoke- cigarettes and/or pot, and drink alcohol. our baby only tested positive for meth at birth....but that doesn't mean he wasn't exposed to other things earlier on.
  • Is there a large difference in terms of long-term outcome between babies who are born Meth addicted as opposed to just exposed? i don't know. our middle son was born addicted(the one i'm talking about above), and our younger son was exposed only the first 3 or so months in utero. i definitely notice a difference in this new baby as far as developmental and intellectual growth are concerned....but he(the younger) is also much angrier and tempermental than the middle one. so who knows? i will say this...even my one born addicted, is super smart and super sweet. he does struggle with some aspects of school and he can't sit still for much, but i think he is one of the neatest kids i've ever met. (not that i'm biased or anything )
  • I have been told that Meth is one of the hardest drugs to kick, making RU rates very low among Meth addicts. Has this been your experience? we were told the same thing. my son has 6 brothers and sisters, none that were able to ru with mom over a 18 year period. new babies continue to come into care for her every few years, and she just hasn't managed to find success yet. our social worker said this is common. that even when meth users manage to get to a period of drug free living, that it only takes one time of using to make them an addict again.
I am going to be a single first-time mother, so I am very concerned about taking on more than I can handle. I would appreciate any experiences you could share on Meth exposed children. it is not the scariest thing to deal with for me. i am much more nervous about a child with fetal alcohol syndrome. that was a no go for us....however, everyone will tell you that if a mom is doing drugs, you can't rule out alcohol....so there is always a risk of that. i will say that it was very tiring when he was going through withdrawls...and i don't know if i could have done it without my husband. i was working when he was born, and dh had 2 months off. so dh was able to sit on the couch all night long holding a sleeping baby. there were plenty of times he would come into our room crying that he was so tired he couldn't do it anymore...and i'd take over staying up all night so that dh could sleep. after 2 months, i had a month off, and dh went back to work and we switched rolls. it was sooooo exhausting. lol! but, after 3 months things calmed way down, the tremors had stopped, and he would sleep in a crib next to our bed most of the night and we were finally able to get some rest.
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Old 02-22-2010, 11:16 AM
JackieN JackieN is offline
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Thank you for the very detailed reply. I think I can handle the problems that you described. I have a niece (not drug exposed) who has ADHD and learning disabilities, so I know a little of what that is like. They told us in the licensing classes that as fost/adopt parents we won't get them until after they go through withdrawal. They said they have specialized foster homes that handle the withdrawal phase and then they move to their fost/adopt homes after the worse is over. Not that I'm unwilling to take them while in withdrawal, but since I am single and will only get 6 weeks off work, it would be difficult.
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Old 02-22-2010, 04:08 PM
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excited2adoptsoon excited2adoptsoon is offline
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Above response is great.

Just wanted to add that hubby and I thought we'd never take an exposed baby. We got the call for a newborn baby girl, born on meth, and we immediately had a change of heart on drug exposure and picked her up! That baby is 15 months old now and is the greatest thing that ever happened to us. We adopted her at 11 months old.

Her mom lost 9 kids to her meth problem so yes, it is hard to kick. She just had another baby...so my daughter has a little sister that was also born on meth and adopted out (unfortunately we couldn't take her for a few reasons).

I have to admit, I am not very educated on meth exposed babies and I definitely should be. I've tried to talk to a few MD's about it and they didn't seem knowledgeable at all. I'm now searching for a new doc and am going to make sure I get all the info I need.

My baby never had any withdrawls surprisingly. We bought her home within a few hours of getting the call! She was only 4 days old and was perfectly healthy (although the she tested positive to meth).

No symptoms now or ever. but reading the post above, my little one has gotten several high fevers and now I wonder if it's related. The MD's never thought much of it but I think her high fevers have been a little excessive.

Last edited by excited2adoptsoon : 02-22-2010 at 04:31 PM.
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Old 02-22-2010, 04:30 PM
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excited2adoptsoon excited2adoptsoon is offline
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I'm doing some web searches right now and this looks really informative!

http://aia.berkeley.edu/media/pdf/sh...ldren_meth.pdf
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Old 02-22-2010, 07:39 PM
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We began fostering our son at 4 months old. He was exposed in utero and after delivery. Tested positive before placed with us.

I had already had two sons, and I thought I could handle it. I was in for a surprise. We literally did not put our son down for hours. He would scream if we even got up from the couch to change the tv channel. My husband mowed the lawn for a couple of years holding my son in his arms. When he was one year old, we drove from Phoenix to Salt Lake City. Longest drive of my life. He screamed non stop for all but one hour of the drive. Unfortunately, we were driving in a blizzard, and the usual 12 hour drive turned into about 17.

My son is now six years old, and he has been on meds since age three. He was very agressive and still is if not on regulated meds. He headbutts, spits (in my face), kicks, pinches, scratches. Most of the time he responds well to meds, but he has few friends, if any.

We are his friends. He has very controlling behaviors. Diagnosed adhd/odd. He is triggered easily.

I love my sweet heart. We want to help him as best we can. When regulated, he is just an active, typical boy who is high maintenance. Unregulated, he is the kid from hell. We have been in therapy for three years. I won't lie to you. It has been one of the most difficult things I've ever done. But, I wouldn't swap my son for anyone else, and we are his forever family.

However, my neighbor fostered and adopted two meth babies. One might have mild adhd. The other seems unaffected. Both are about six and seven years old.

They seem well adjusted and never have had therapy.
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Old 02-22-2010, 07:54 PM
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Larue Larue is offline
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Like MommytoEli mentioned, our experience was mostly with feeding issues, which resolved by the time FD was 3 months old. Also tremors and difficulty regulating her body temperature. Keeping her tightly swaddled helped with both of these issues, which also resolved within the first few months. According to our Pediatrician, ADHD is the main possible long-term effect of Meth exposure.

Best wishes in your journey.
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Old 02-22-2010, 09:07 PM
JackieN JackieN is offline
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Thank you all for sharing your experiences and thank you, excited2adoptsoon, for sharing the research link you found. It is sad what these children have to go through, but one thing that is clear from each of your stories is that no matter what problems they may have, you all love your children and wouldn't trade them for any other. Knowing that I have that strong a love to look forward to will help me alot as I continue ahead on this journey!
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Old 02-23-2010, 10:33 AM
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parenting-over-40 parenting-over-40 is offline
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MommytoEli did a great job of answering your questions.

I would like to add that my DD also had tummy issues as an infant. She did not have reflux. However, lots of changes with formula and an impacted colon at 7 months. Doctor failed to diagnose that over several weeks and we ended up in the ER over the impacted colon. DD just turned and still has some tummy issues. Colon gets backed up even though she poops every day.

Recently, DD was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder. As I look back, I realized that she started showing signs about 20 months of age.

Birth Mom used meth, heroine, cocaine, and marijuina (sp?).

I hope that helps.
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