The Best Day Care

We adopted Annie (FAS) when she was 16 months old. I promptly found the best day care I could for her, and began dropping her off each day and went off to work. She had many problems as time went on. She was diagnosed as ADHD, Attachment Disorder, SID, you name it she had it.

The recommendation at 3 years old? Medication and change of day care, maybe even therapeutic day care. I worked as a Child Development Specialist and was employed by the California Regional Center, so I was very familiar with treatment and education of special needs kids. As I considered the options for Annie I realized something so true, so obvious that I couldn't believe I had missed it. What Annie needed was her Mommie. So, I quit my job (no---we could NOT afford for me to do that!---big time sacrifices) and began a new life at home with my child. Annie's behaviors disappeared almost overnight. We have since adopted two more children (FAE) and I not only stay home with them, I homeschool them.

It breaks my heart to see special needs babies adopted and then put in the impossible position of having to deal with being in day care. In fact, it breaks my heart to see any child put in day care. I realize that there are extreme circumstances, death of a parent for instance, which forces that---but far too many moms are working outside the home when they could find a way to be home. None of our children have ever been put on medication for ADHD or to control their behavior. What FAS kids need the very most is a normal, stable home life ---one where there is a parent at home during the day.

--Vicki Van Camp

It's the kids that get to stay home and have a more relaxed, no high expectations, no extra stress or stimulation in life that benefit from a stay at home Mom. A stay at home Mom that still sends their kids to school will still have the same problems as kids sent to daycare while a Mom is at work. Or a stay at home Mom that still has the kids running places all the time. They need the quiet life at home. My kids have not been "easy" kids.

If I had put them in daycare or sent them to school they probably would have been much worse. Billy was the 6 months his Grama had him. He was kicked out of every day care she tried to get him in. I had to spend hours holding him so he could stop screaming and trying to hurt himself, much like how you describe Kamilah. He was difficult but we have never had to put him on med. He was a deep end kid, as was Theron and Kelsey. Carissa and Maxx have been easier. Gene was not easy.

Twelve years ago we went from both of us working at good paying jobs to Ed getting $4.50 an hour so I could stay home and live in the country. That hasn't been easy either. We wanted the kids to live where there was no other stimulation. It was a sacrifice I would do again. I'm sure that had we still lived in town when Gene was a teen all our lives would be much different right now. He tried to run away but there was nowhere and nobody to go to unless he wanted to ride his bike all the way to town. He started out several times but always came back because it was too far.

Homeschooling special needs kids like ours is not easy either. Not having time alone without kids is not easy either. It takes dedication and prayer and crying and understanding support from others. It's also a lot of fun!

--Carol in WA

FAS Community Resource Center