National Adoption Directory

Find an Adoption Agency

Find an Adoption Attorney

Full Directory ►

Join Adoption Groups!

Click the arrows to expand each group category below

Family Building Options

Starting Out in Adoption

Waiting to Adopt

U.S. Newborn Adoption

U.S. Foster Adoption

International Adoption

My Family

My Adoption Interests

My Child's Age/Stage

My Location

The Adoption Triad

Adoptive Families Magazine

Prenatal Substance Exposure

first trimester drug use?

Hi all,

I’m new to this forum and am looking for some wisdom. My husband and I are a waiting family for an infant adoption, and were just sent a situation to consider. Here are the details:

During the first trimester, she smoked two packs of cigarettes per day; currently she smokes occasionally
During the first trimester, she also used marijuana, plus crack cocaine four times and cocaine three times. During the first trimester, she used methamphetamines on a daily basis, multiple times per day, in addition to the other intermittent drug uses. Currently she smokes marijuana in small amounts to help not use any other drug. There is no reported alcohol use.”

The baby is due the end of January.

So, I guess I’m wondering if anyone has experience with early pregnancy drug exposure? Or resources for multiple drug exposures and their combinations? Or thoughts on the situation in general? It sounds like she is trying to do the right thing for her baby, but I know she is an addict and might not have been fully honest with her more recent uses. We will likely bring this to a pediatrician this week, but I thought I’d also ask folks with firsthand knowledge of drug-exposed children. Thanks for your help!


We adopted a newborn 12 yrs ago, the birthmother tested positive for poly-substances at delivery.  The baby went thru mild withdrawal for two weeks, in NICU.  No prenatal care, lots of coffee and cigarettes, many drugs, and alcohol.  Worked with Chicago Research Triangle before taking baby home with us.  It has been a rough journey.  However, she is a wonderful daughter and watching/helping her develop into a healthy tween has been a positive experience. 
What has helped me navigate:  having a 5 yr old with special needs (also domestic adodption) meant I ‘knew the drill’ of therapies, insurance, etc.  Being able to stay at home allowed me to schedule Early Intervention, doctors appts, etc.  Having great insurance meant we could afford the therapies not covered, like vision therapy.  Being an older mom I was more patient with her and receptive to therapy and SSRIs for me.  Reaching out to other parents of kids with special needs provided support and guidance as well as friends for my daughter. 
The agency told us clearly “If you think you cannot handle this, we understand and have families who can”  That helped us make a more objective decision. We had been waiting 4 years and been thru the rollercoaster many times. 
You are fortunate to have the info now, you can do your research.  We found out after we flew across the country and the baby was already born.
It’s very hard when it’s not your pregnancy and the actual fact of what the birthmother did and when will come up again and again and again. 
Best advice I got about adopting: Have your emotional house in order. Best advice about raising kids with special needs:  You not only have to parent, you have to be an exceptional parent. 
Best of luck, feel free to PM me

Posted by double r on Nov 29, 2017 at 8:07pm

My oldest daughter is 9, birthmom used methamphetamines and marijuana heavily during the first trimester, and occaisionally used whatever miscellaneous drugs she could get her hands on. Claims she gave it all up when she found out she was pregnant, who really knows? My oldest was born with multiple, severe birth defects of the heart, lungs, and abdomen. Her birth defects were detected by ultrasound. She has undergone extensive genetic testing that was all normal; her doctors have told me the drug use “likely” contributed to the defects. She is sweet, bright girl who does well in school. No behavioral or emotional issues; she is a happy little girl, and a joy to be around. My youngest is 2, birth mom used cocaine, methamphetamines, and marijuana heavily throughout the entire pregnancy, and possibly other substances on occasion. My youngest was born with microcephaly and abdominal defects; these were both detected when she was only a few days old. the doctors say the abdominal defects “could” be related to the drug use, and the small brain/structural changes in her brain are “almost definitely” caused by the substance exposure. She is moderately delayed, but making rapid progress. they are not sure how much progress she will make; she may have life long delays/disabilities. But she is a happy, easy toddler. Stubborn as a bull but very loving, listens well, and unusually calm.  Most kids who are exposed to drugs in utero do not have the birth defects my children have, but it is definitely a possibility. Many children who are exposed to drugs will have some type of learning disability, or ADHD, or problems regulating their emotions. But there are also many who have no problems at all. This child will definitely be at higher risk; the hardest part is deciding if you can accept that risk. When I was waiting to be matched with my children (I adopted from foster care so knew quite a bit about their medical histories before hand) I always envisioned the worst case scenario for each child and based my decision on that. I may have missed out on parenting some really great kids over the years, but to me it just wouldn’t be fair to the child to accept a match knowing that I was not capable of meeting all their potential needs. You have a very tough decision to make, I wish you well.

Posted by rn4kidz on Nov 30, 2017 at 2:08am

Reply to this thread

You must be logged in to reply. To login, click here. Not a member? Join AdoptiveFamiliesCircle today. It's free and easy!


Find an Adoption Agency

Find an Adoption Attorney or Agency

Search the full directory ►