Jul 122014

SHARED WITH PERMISSION – on the chance it could help someone else who is quietly struggling…


On Fri, Jul 11, 2014 9:43 AM, a Mom wrote:

… when I get mad at him he just shuts down and stop responding and goes away to la la land in his mind. That’s when I start realizing that something else is going on inside him that he is not able to process mentally and emotionally that I guess is probably typical of people with FAS. I keep telling him that it seems like something is broken inside of him how he just shuts down and stops thinking or caring about what he is doing.
If it’s FAS, does it cause him to tell lies all the time though? Especially when it comes to gambling and money issues that he tries to hide from me….


On Fri, ‎Jul‎ ‎11‎, ‎2014 at ‎10‎:‎23‎ ‎AM, A Grandmother wrote:

They struggle with understanding “cause and effect.” They aren’t always able to think ahead and figure out “if I do this, then that will happen.” Further, they are very into “feeling good” at the moment. They are prone to doing what pleasures them most at the moment, without the ability to see outcomes.

When he gets caught, it is like a deer in the headlights. He doesn’t know what to do. He realizes he messed up, is grieved by your anger, but doesn’t know what to do to fix it. So he lies in the hope of getting out of trouble. Yes – like a child.

He craves pleasure. The FAS plus the way he was raised leads him to think that he needs and deserves constant pleasure. “That is the way life is supposed to be.”

But God knew all this when he created him. And God has also put something very special and beautiful in him. A skill or characteristic. You probably already have a feeling for what it is. As his wife, you can nurture that special thing and help him to grow and walk in it.

That’s exciting. What an adventure that can be for both of you.

We are all so much more content and fulfilled when walking in the gifts and purpose God has given us.


On Sat, Jul 12, 2014 at 6:22 PM, a Mom wrote:

I just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing this with me. For the last years of my life with my husband, I have been guilty of emotionally abusing him in order to get him to change and realize how his behavior is hurting us all, never fully realizing that it was a physical impossibility for him to change.
Whenever I would try and confront him he would shut down and not respond, he would withdraw and literally fall asleep and the more mad I got the more he would explode in a rage, destroying anything and everything that got in his way. I always knew there was something mentally broken inside of him but no one ever confirmed with me what I was seeing …It really is heartbreaking looking back at all the years and the misery we have been through because I was trying to get him to change. I think this is why God protects my husband so much from all the mistakes his makes also because God knows my husband is trying the best he can with what he has. He tried to do good but it seems impossible for him at times to make the right decisions and force himself to do what is right. My husband really is like a child inside a man’s body not only in the way he thinks but in the way he acts.
I just wish I had known somewhat when I met him at 14 years old, but how could I have? …
I just hope and pray that God can save our family. I know I have done a lot to really screw things up for us… the great thing is, that his mother has always been there to help us, especially her son, no matter what it is, whether it be food, money, clothes, taking garbage to the dump, running errands….
God bless you. Thank you sooooo much for taking the time to write me and help me see things a little bit clearer.


On Sat, Jul 12, 2014 at 7:16 PM, A Grandmother wrote:

You’re welcome. I just wish I had understood a lot about FAS during our more difficult years. It is now, after my husband is gone and the relative’s children that we raised are grown, that I look back and see where I could have been more patient. It is only now, with the stress of all of it gone, that I can see their hearts better.


On Sat, Jul 12, 2014 at 7:43 PM, a Mom wrote:

I was just wondering if you could please share with me the prayer you said you were told to pray for your family. I would like to make it my personal prayer along with so much forgiveness for how insensitive I have been towards my husband and his mother over the years.


On Sat, Jul 12, 2014 at 8:35 PM, A Grandmother wrote:

It was a very simple prayer. All Scotty Butterfly told me to do was to ask Jesus to save my family – and then immediately thank Jesus for having done so. (Even though you haven’t seen the miracle yet, give thanks to the Lord for all things – knowing in faith that He has heard your prayer and is responding.)

So even though I wasn’t a Christian yet, that is what I did. It wasn’t until 4 years later that the miracle happened – but it undeniably happened.

I will ask others to pray in agreement for your family as well.


On Sat, Jul 12, 2014 at 9:35 PM, A Grandmother wrote:

We realize his limitations, but we still need him to become better at things.
1. We do need to explain truth, but in a gentle way.
2. Understanding his need for entertainment and pleasure, we can look for healthier ways he can achieve that.
o Help him find his pleasure at home, with family, doing good things. We can look for fun things to do as a family – picnics, fishing, camping, etc.
o We can look for his skill area and encourage and support everything he does in that area. Is he a craftsman? An artist? A hunter? A musician? A mechanic? A good listener?
o We can be wives that complement our husbands. We can help him feel good about himself and his family life so he has pleasure in being with and doing well for his family. Pour it on about every manly thing you enjoy. “Wow – I love the way you chop wood.” (Sounds silly – but another wife told us she did just that – and as simple as that kind of thing was – it made a tremendous impact on their marriage.)

Also, the Bible has some interesting advice for husbands and wives. It tells men to “Love” their wives the way Christ loved the church (be willing to lay down their lives for them) But… the Bible doesn’t tell women to love their husbands. It tells us to honor them.
Interesting difference. Of course, we KNOW God wants us to love our husbands. So why wasn’t it said? Perhaps the Bible is giving us encouragement in the areas we are generally weakest? Men need to be reminded to show love to their wives, as their wives hunger for that more than anything.
Women, on the other hand, generally love their husbands, but struggle with honoring them – something men have a deep need for.
It is true that our husbands have shortcomings. WE are usually the first to point that out But God is the one who knit them together in the womb, even while knowing their mother was drinking. I don’t believe God wanted for the damage to happen, but as with every other sin issue that affects humanity, the parents had free will and with that, made the choice. People hurt each other in all kinds of way, in all stages of life.
But God still has a purpose for and a gift in every child. Kind of like the Snow White story. The evil witch cast a curse, and the good fairy came behind and altered it. God (a whole lot better than a silly fairytale witch) has a special gift in everyone.

Praise God my husband found his purpose – things of God that gave him true pleasure – and walked in it. Yours will, too.
ONE other thing I might note… for a long time, in our early years in the church, I resented what I saw as weakness in him. I kept comparing him to other men in the church and wondering why he couldn’t be as Godly as this guy or that guy. Finally someone told me… those men have always been in the church. They were raised in the church and their father was a pastor, etc… They have had their entire lives to walk toward the line of perfection. They haven’t had very far to walk, but will never actually reach that line prior to dying.
Now look at your husband. He came out of the gutter. He has come ten times farther than any of those other men in just the short time he has been walking with the Lord.
Think about that. He might still be way behind those other men, but look how incredibly far he has come. He has traversed things those other men have no clue about.
What a Godsend those words were. They turned my entire perspective around. It was the beginning of my appreciation for him.

Fetal Alcohol

 Comments Off on Fetal Alcohol
Jun 102013

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

FASD is a medical condition that refers to a range of disorders, including brain injury, caused by prenatal exposure to alcohol. It is conservatively estimated to affect approximately 1% of the of the North American population. May and Gossage, Estimating the Prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Alcohol Research & Health, The Journal of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Vol. 25, Num. 3, 2001; Sampson, Streissguth, Bookstein, Little, Clarren, Dehaene et al; Incidence of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and prevalence of alcohol related neurodevelopmental disorder, Teratology, 1997

“FASD is an incredibly complex issue that affects the lives of thousands of families.” Linda Reid, British Columbia Minister of State for Early Childhood Development.

Mental Health Problems are common among those with FASD. As high as 94% have at least one co-morbid diagnosis in adulthood. (52% Depression, 43% Suicide Threats, 40% ADHD, 33% Panic Attacks, 29% Psychosis, 23% Suicide Attempts).
Streissguth, Barr, Kogan and Bookstein, Understanding the Occurrence of Secondary Disabilities in Clients with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and Fetal Alcohol effects (FAE); Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Grant No. R04/CCR0087515, 1996



  1. FASD, defined

  2. History of FASD

  3. Metabolism in the Body; Alcohol Factors in Pregnancy

  4. Child Development

  5. Caregiver Assessment

  6. Diagnosis; Clinical Assessment

  7. Statistics



FASD is a disorder that levels the playing field, crossing all boundaries of wealth, race, and nation. As ministers for Jesus Christ, we can effectively approach this enormous mission only under the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Under that guidance, there are three helping areas we can focus in:

Supporting those struggling with FASD

To support those struggling with FAS: Be positive, prayerful, and laugh whenever you can. Focus on people’s strengths and concentrate on life skills. Children struggling with learning disabilities can learn math at the same time as learning to cook. Use music, dance and art to help teach concepts. Teach and how to make and use lists. Help people to understand social situations and the nuances of social exchange. Teach marketable skills. Teach people about God. Children and youth affected by FAS do learn; they just learn differently. Nothing is impossible for Jesus.

Also remember that what is “fair doesn’t necessarily the “same.” Individuals must be treated according to their needs, not according to what the person next to them needs. Maintain firm limits. Don’t expect that they will learn from consequences but maintain the consequences anyway. Repetition, after a certain amount of time, does work.

When considering how to decorate your home, “less is more.” This means less noise, less people, less stuff, less activity. Strictly limit choices. Monitor and regulate what is watched on television, control video games, and control the number of people that your child will have to deal with.

Provide structure and support for money management. Be specific when giving instruction, and advocate for them, interpret for them, and protect them as much as allowed. Be a benevolent guide. One concept calls such advocacy a “3rd brain,” meaning, the support person, if allowed, can act as an “external brain,” promoting independence through dependency. One might also organize a group of family members and neighbors to share in keeping an eye on things. For certain individuals with more pronounced disabilities, communal living approaches are helpful and the community would be wise to invest in residential alternatives that provide structure, love, and value.

Routine is also important. One commentator surmised that in times past, many FAS children were probably placed in a religious setting. The strict rules and unwavering schedules would have been perfect for adults dealing with the problematic life of FASD. (1)

Finally, discourage any use or abuse of alcohol or illegal drugs. In the first place, alcohol is not in the best interest of a person affected fetally by alcohol. Secondly, although Scripture speaks against excessive drinking while seeming to tolerate a certain amount, abstinence is also Biblically encouraged. Proverbs 23:29-35, for example, is clearly a description of alcohol abuse. Further, when a person took a Nazarite vow, he agreed to abstain from wine or strong drink.

Taking care of the caregivers

Many caregivers are not the actual birth parents, but are extended relatives or foster parents. It is exhausting to be a caregiver to an FASD individual, and the job is never over. Be aware of your extended family and neighbors and be aware of when there might be need for prayer and respite. Caregiver support groups can also be helpful places of encouragement. For most effectiveness, develop support groups that are rooted in Jesus Christ.

However, while foster parents, extended family and biological fathers sometimes attend support groups, birth mothers rarely do. Many mothers are too ashamed to seek help in a group situation, and may need to be dealt with on a one-on-one basis. So remember to support birth parents along with the children. The children were born into the world with a life long disability and need life long support; but the parents need attention as well. While the temptation is to be angry and condemn those that have affected children through alcohol use, the more fruitful response is to reach out, pray for them, and help. To Jesus Christ, every life is important.

Yes, there are consequences to actions and it is important that people understand those consequences, but we must use reasonable expectations. If the parents themselves struggle with certain disabilities, they too might need a “benevolent guide.” It’s not just for the parent’s sake, but for the children and the community as well.

Helping children who have been affected by alcohol and preventing future incidences of FASD involves working with adults in need.


What would it take to make it possible for every woman in the community to make it through her pregnancy without using alcohol? Would every woman need the same intervention?

Sadly, short of a miracle, it isn’t possible to do away with FAS in every community. Alcohol is entrenched in almost every society, and history shows prohibition didn’t work.

Increased federal budgets will not solve the problem. Our world is a world suffering from the consequences of choice and sin. It isn’t possible to totally do away with the effects of that sin. This is one of those issues of such magnitude that only God’s intervention in the lives of individuals can make a significant difference.

While education and support of healthy living is the commonly accepted path to wellness, the importance of a strong relationship with Jesus Christ is often over looked. Within the professional Social Service community, the role of the Rescue Mission in helping individuals overcome addictions is rarely mentioned. (2) Although these missions reach only a small percentage of alcoholics, their approach has been amazingly effective. In ministering to individuals affected by alcohol, it is important to include the truth that lasting fulfillment is found only in Jesus Christ. This must be done, of course, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit as to when and how to communicate the Gospel. Individuals can not be coerced into accepting Jesus Christ. (3)

Ministering to individuals who are currently struggling with alcohol addiction or who have been adversely affected by alcohol involves personal commitment and prayer. Through prayer, we can encourage and support families in a healthy home life, healthy religious faith, and education concerning alcoholism, FASD, and the effects of both.

So we pray. And along with prayer for individuals, we can also pray for and work toward effective community education and outreach. Both mothers and fathers must understand the devastation that can occur to their children’s lives if they continue to drink.

For the sake of individuals, families, and society itself, it is necessary for communities to reach out in voluntary effort to their neighbors, family and friends in honest guidance and support: spiritually, physically, and emotionally. It’s not easy, but it is necessary.


1. ” Psoba, “FAS in the 1700’s”, On the Trail of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, online article, 22 Mar. 2005, < http://journals.aol.com/psoba/OntheTrailofFetalAlcoholSyndrome

2. Gary R. Collins, Ph.d., Christian Counseling, (Irving: W. Publishing Group, 1988) 502

3. Ibid.

What We Can Do About

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

by Ann Pytkowicz Streissguth, PhD


FASD resources

Contact us at

Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare

PO Box 253, Hillsboro, ND 58045 – 0253