We have been married since the year 2000. We met at church and became great friends. Michael is quiet and thinks before he talks and is usually slow to make decisions. Nora has a big mouth, and should think more before she talks and usually makes quick decisions (but still thought out ones). Thankfully, God knew Nora needed a patient husband, and Michael is very patient.
Michael just changed from his truck driving job of 6+ yrs so that he could be more involved with the boys, especially since we plan on expanding our family. He is now working for Hofmans' Nursery in Hanford. Nora is a stay at home mom, and homeschools the boys year round. She also has a small business preparing taxes and keeping books.
We have 5 children so far. Nora's biological daughter, Brandi (1985) who is married to Leonel and they have our first wonderful grandson. Then we have our sibling boys that we adopted from Russia in 2005. They are born in 1997 (FAS) and 1998 (FASD), and two other boys born 2006 (FAS) and 2007 (FAS). We hope to expand our family tree by adding more boys effected with FASD.
We are open to the idea of adding more boys to our family who are affected by FASD.
Our support group and training has been on hold for awhile, but I am willing to talk with and do individual training if you are interested. Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just in case your reading this and thinking it's been a piece of cake. This has NOT been an easy journey. We did NOT know the boys had FASD or what that meant. The boys were wild and crazy when we adopted them. They screamed and had violent tantrums for several hours at a time. We had to hold them during this time as they would hurt themselves and others. We could not let them out of our site or leave a door open or let go of their hands in public or they would run away wildly without caution to their surroundings. We wanted to give up!!! But we kept going. Educated ourselves and realized that when we were told in Russia that the boys had Static Encephalpathy (they said all kids in Russia have this and it's nothing) it meant brain damage which was caused by prenatal exposure to alcohol. We changed our parenting (still learning and changing) and the boys are doing much better. In our opinion, a highly SUPERVISED, STRUCTURED, SAFE environment is a MUST!! And surround yourself with good friends and family who try to understand and support you.
I hope you are able to utilize this site and all the links. The more you learn, the better off you will be in understanding yourself and your child(ren). And I look forward to meeting you in person at a future support meeting.
Jim & Darlene Kelly
In September of 2013, we will have been married for 31 years. Jim is a correctional officer as well as a bicycle shop owner. Darlene is a stay at home mom. We are the parents of four children. Three are our biological children and the fourth is our nephew whom we adopted when he was seven.Our three older children are grown now and our youngest is 16. Darlene has home educated and graduated the oldest three and is currently home educating the youngest.
Our 16 year old was diagnosed with FAS in August of 2006. Sam came to live with us the first time when he was just 18 months old. We had him for just about a month and then he returned to his biological dad. At 5 1/2 years of age, Sam came to live with us again in a foster care setting. He had been removed from his biological dad's care for neglect. Sam was exposed to alcohol and cigarette smoke in utero. It became apparent to us after just a short time of him living with us that there were some problems. We have come to learn that a child with FAS is very visible while his disability is very invisible. Such is the case with Sam. Although he "appears" normal for all intent and purposes, he is unable to respond to life as would be expected. Our adoption of Sam was final in November of 2004, just before Sam turned seven.
Our true hearts desire is to be a support for families and children with this same disability. There is so little help available from the medical community. The Hofmans' and Kelly's have done online research and read many books, articles, papers, etc in hopes of educating ourselves. We would like to make ourselves and our findings available to those who are interested. We are not in any way claiming to know all there is to know or in any way diagnose a problem. We are just willing to share with others what we have found in our own homes to work with our children.Please be encouraged to know you are not alone in this journey you are on. It is a constant and difficult one, but worth the effort. Intervention may be the key that unlocks the mystery behind your child's issues.