FASlink Fetal Alcohol Disorders Society
Poems and Letters


Don't Ask My Child to Fly
Bruce Ritchie

Don't ask my child to fly,
for he has not wings.

Don't ask my child to see the glint on the eagle's beak,
for his vision has been diminished.

Don't ask my child to remain calm amid the din,
for her ability to screen out the noises has been taken away.

Don't ask my child to be careful with "strangers",
for he is affectionate with everyone and prey for the unscrupulous.

Don't ask my child to "settle down",
for the clock which works for you and I, does not exist for her.

Don't ask my child to not play with the toys of others,
for he has no concept of property.

Don’t ask my child to remember you tomorrow,
although you met today.

Don't ask my child to heal your wounds,
for her hands cannot hold a scalpel or sutures.

Don't ask my child to meet the challenges set by society,
for you have denied her the tools.

Don't ask my child to forgive you for standing idly by,

while he was in trouble in his mother's womb,

for he will,

but He may not."

Me, is who I am "

Fighting to see who I am,
getting up each day knowing I'm not me,
but someone I've learned to hate,
someone my Mother made me.

I have the power to change,
but don't know how,
someone has taken away the plans for me,
has diluted, has put in, and taken out,
they forgot the antidote, thrown it away,
made me something I'm not.

But somewhere,and somehow, someone saw me,
cared for me,
loved me, and maybe, I'm still me, just different.
Because someone loves me still.

Jennifer Woodward (Edith's daughter)

Angels Danced
by Kari Fletcher

I wanted to share something that I wrote this summer after a particularly hard day of dealing with people who didn’t understand my children…

Angels Danced

I saw a greeting card with the words “The Angels Danced on the Day you were Born…” and I wondered what kind of music was playing as they danced for you. Was it a woeful sad ballad that spoke of the confusion, violence and addiction that surrounded your birth? Was it a marching song that told of your persistence and strength to overcome and conquer? Was it a beautiful lullaby that helped you to sleep in a world that was not very nurturing and soft?

Was there an orchestra full of trumpets and cymbals majestically announcing the arrival of a special child of God? Maybe the song had a wild rock beat, the kind of song that you now love to dance to, and maybe the angels twirled and giggled as they danced much like you do now.

I wondered if they danced again on the day you entered foster care. Or the day we adopted you. I know that I danced on that day. I danced to your song…a song that only you can play, a song that God allowed me to hear but that not everybody hears yet. Your daddy and I love to dance to your song and we will keep inviting others to dance with us.

Your song is your gift to us and we are blessed to be able to hear it. It was your beautiful song that the angels heard that day, wasn’t it? Keep playing, sweetheart…they are still dancing!

Copyright 2004
Kari Fletcher

Moms give their children so much, please don't let that include Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)...if you are pregnant, don't drink alcohol.

The person with FAS/ARND will always need an external brain. Key words: "always" and "external." -- Susan Doctor



The Voice Of The FAS'er
By Stephen Neafcy - 2000

If a picture paints a thousand words,
then why can't I behave?

The words will never show how much I
I want to grow.

If a face could launch a thousand ships,
then where am I to go?

There's no place I want to be, than to be
with You my Family.

And when I lose control I want You to know
my brain it does not know! .

Please understand and never let go of my
hand, when I act out its not what I'm about.

I want to please its just something seems to
come over me, I lose control then feel so low.

Tomorrow and today, please be with me
all the way.

I will never be able to express, just how much
I need Your Love in my Quest,

So when I lose contol, remember my brain its
not whole and makes me a person thats not me.

Its such a stuggle for me to be,
but I need my Family - I need my Family

Jesus Please don't let them give up on me,
Lord please help them to see!

Help Me Help Me when my Brain makes me
the person I don't want to be!

Oh Lord Oh Lord, I want to be free!!!!!

Stephen was diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Effects at age 43. He is a very active and valued member of FASlink, a Fetal Alcohol Syndrome listserve linking individuals, families and professionals who deal with FAS.

Free to be, you and me?
Why can't that really be?
I'm not like you, I'm not supposed to be.
I wish I could see God's plan for me.
When I'm angry and out on a limb,
Please reach with your heart and pull me back in.
I can't.

Liane Holder

My daughter started running away when she was 12. The first time she got to the end of the driveway, but it didn't take long for her to get several hundred miles away. The kids she looked up to were all in foster care and to her that life looked pretty good - no rules, no nagging parents... She set this as her goal and after many runaway attempts, total disregard for our rules and boundaries, false charges of abuse.....we finally gave up and signed a temporary custody agreement with the Ministry of Social Services. That was 1995.

Now, five years after writing it, her first foster mom asked permission to use the poem which I had given her to educate other foster families about the grief and anguish we parents feel and the need to build relationships. The lesson for these foster families is that sometimes even the healthiest home, the deepest love, and the wisest parenting are not enough to save a child from the life-disabling afflictions of FAS/E.

"Mary Horner" <mhorner@netidea.com

A Cry in the Dark

  A Cry in the Dark
Dear foster mom, Please hear my plea,
I know you don't mean to sabotage me,
Your intentions are good, you try your best,
But kindly consider my request:

Please walk a mile in my shoes,
Endure adoptive-parent dues,
Know how it feels to be judged by another
Because it's said you're not the "real" mother.

If I'd known then what I know today -
Of the pain of adoption and the price I would pay -
Would I travel this road or say, "Never, No!"
If I'd known the trials years ago?

'Twas love at first sight of our baby girl,
The gift of her coming we sang to the world,
But we were naive, not prepared for the fight -
Her anger and grief for her missing birthright.

Our child's behaviour is destroying us all
As reputations and goals shatter and fall;
The parents are blamed - control's the excuse -
"She's certainly damaged." "Perhaps there's abuse."

But I'm not the enemy incarnate,
This nightmare we're in, I did not create,
'Tis not my fault this adopted child
Has no use for her home and grows ever wild.

I'm mourning the loss of her love and her life,
Inside there's a void carved by her knife;
I've buried both parents - Mother and Father,
And now it's the dreams and the hopes for my daughter.

For we cannot go back, we cannot erase it,
What she's done to herself my mind cannot face it;
My heart's torn asunder, I can't save her from danger-
It's not in my power to stop her or change her.

Can you imagine being rejected
By the light of your life, the one you've protected?
Can you imagine what it's like never knowing,
From day to day, how her life is going?

Do you know how it feels to not walk beside her
To lose your place as her mentor and guider?
What is my role now? I'm really confused,
My self-esteem is battered and bruised.

What about me? I'm cut off, amputated,
My rights as her mother must be validated.
I'm not given a chance to relate, to imbue,
I need to know that I matter, too.

Have you ever had to bide your time,
To embalm your love, to walk that line
Between begging and pleading and dragging her home,
Or raging and screaming into the phone?

Try to feel what I feel; I don't count. I am hated.
Her "home" isn't home. Our past is negated.
She's living with you, she won't even come here.
Where are we headed? Nowhere, I fear.

The gulf between us grows deeper and deeper-
A hopeless abyss with no way to free her;
I make timid attempts to reach out, reconcile,
But the stare of a stranger has replaced her smile.

Who is this person I do not know?
She's stolen my daughter, turned friend to foe;
I believe an impostor has taken the place
Of the promising child I used to embrace.

Where is the happy kid who once lived with me,
Who sparkled and glowed with energy?
She truly had so much going for her,
I cannot believe it's all lost in the blur.

She was talented, enthusiastic, popular too,
She stood out from the crowd as few seldom do.
But there's been a transforming from good to deplorable;
For reasons unknown her behaviour's incorrigible.

Where is the love? Where is the joy?
Were the past sixteen years just a farce and a ploy?
I thought we were close, what we shared was prime;
We have albums of photos of fun and good times.

What happened to us? I just don't understand;
She seems so detached, her "family's" a sham.
I keep racking my brain with questions that taunt me;
why? Why? WHY? continues to haunt me.

But of all, this is my greatest fear-
That this nightmare lives on year after year,
That we're locked in this dance macabre till when
We succumb to the grief and the pain in the end.

Oh, I'm hurt and I'm angry, frustrated too;
I feel powerless, put-down, abandoned, and blue,
At times I could give up - yes, wouldn't you?
But somehow I survive to fight anew.

I feel like I'm in a tug of war,
Without any rights to even the score,
Tentatively trying to plan my attack,
To win her side and get her back.

A minute here, a phone call there,
Bribe her with lunch; it doesn't seem fair-
No matter how hard I barter for time,
The bit I get is seldom prime.

Do you know what it's like to have no support,
To be ravaged by storms without a safe port?
God, we need help! Does nobody hear us?
Is there nobody out there with skills who can steer us?

How will we ever rebuild trust,
And heal the hurts if they're never discussed?
We've got to have time, counseling too,
To be together and to work things through.

Some people have told me, "Just get a life!
Leave her to struggle with her own strife."
Perhaps that's the answer - to get on a new track -
But this mother's no quitter and I won't turn my back.

She's the only daughter I'll ever know.
I want her home. I love her so.
So please build bridges to pave the way,
Unless its your wish to have her stay.

Please do respect our family tradition;
Don't impose on us your own will and mission.
Don't make plans of which I'm not told.
Don't leave me out in the solitary cold.

Please do respect those years of caring,
Of loving and learning and guiding and sharing;
Sixteen years of commitment is quite a cost,
It's not my wish to have them lost.

Despite the superior Ministry people,
And the social workers in their ivory steeple
Who discount adoptive parents as less,
In my heart I'm her mother and I do know her best.

For you, foster mom, are no better than I;
Please work with me and together we'll try
To heal 'primal wounds' so she can be free
To control her own life, be the best she can be.


I've grown weary and worn, been bled to the bone,
I can't do any more; she's out on her own.
Forever I'll love her as I've told her so,
But please God, hold her, 'cause I have to let go...

Let go so she faces reality,
Let go so she creates her own destiny;
The outcome is not in my hands I know,
Give me faith, sooth my fears, so I can let go.