Drug exposure can be an uncomfortable topic.

The reality is that some moms are taking drugs while they are pregnant and making an adoption plan. When looking at adoption infant programs, you will have more adoption situations available to you if you are open to adopting a baby who has been exposed to drugs in utero.

Some of the common drugs that we see are:

  • Marijuana
  • Methamphetamines
  • Opioids
  • Tobacco
  • Alcohol
  • Cocaine

All of these substances affect the baby, whether it be immediately after birth or long term. It’s important to understand these effects before adoption so you can be best equipped in parenting the baby you adopt.

In my personal experience with my adoptive daughter, I learned the effects that alcohol has on a baby. The effects of Alcohol on a baby are irreversible and will affect a child for a lifetime. There are Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Fetal Alcohol Affect. FAA is not noticeable physically and is usually not seen until the child is in school.

Drug exposure usually correlates with alcohol exposure, as when a mother is using drugs while pregnant, she most likely is also using alcohol while pregnant according to durg and alcohol research.

This was a shocking fact for me, as the moms that I work with typically report drug use and not alcohol use as well. Also, many times families may mark that they are okay with drug exposure in the first trimester, but drugs are addicting and expecting mothers may not stop using when they do find out they are pregnant.

Fortunately (or Unfortunately) there are resources out there to help you learn more about how drug exposure affects a child. Here are two that helped me during my adoption journey:

Mother to Babyhttps://mothertobaby.org/
This resource has fact sheets about each drug and the long term effects on the child as the child grows.

Creating a Familyhttps://creatingafamily.org/

This resource has great courses on drug exposure. This resource was enlightening for my own experience with my daughter’s adoption. Everything that they talked about was relatable to our experience. It allowed me to pivot how I parent and also advocate for the resources that my daughter needed in school.

What did you think of this week’s All About Adoption Episode? Adoption can bring up a lot of questions that you may have never otherwise asked. And that’s okay! What other adoption topics would you like to hear about? We’d love to hear them below!

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Steffany ave

Founder & Director


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Meet Steffany Aye, the heart behind Adoption & Beyond since its inception in 1998. Fueled by a deep passion for supporting both birth and adoptive parents, Steffany's journey as an adoptive parent has continued the foundation for this non-profit adoption agency.

Drawing from more than 25 years of dedicated experience, Steffany and her team are committed to crafting warm, thriving families through child-centered adoptions. Their inclusive services, free from any form of discrimination, reflect Steffany's unwavering dedication to the beautiful tapestry of adoption.

We’d love to help you reach your goals.


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