“I Lied!”

Author of 4 books, podcaster, parent trainer, wife and mother.

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This is a post by my wife, Kristin Berry. She has worked as an in-home daycare provider, special education assistant, children's minister, and most importantly, a homemaker. She is the reason our family functions at a high-capacity. She is an expert in parenting children with special needs. You can connect with her on Facebook.

Honesty is of utmost importance in our family. We try to teach this character trait to our children each day. We value honesty and try always to lead by example. This is why my own act of dishonesty has been plaguing me. I am confessing this now.

It all started on a seemingly simple trip to exchange a t-shirt. I had made my schedule carefully, as I do each day. I made sure my pre-school son was well fed and comfortably dressed. I ran over the schedule with my 4 year old multiple times during breakfast.

  • Hike in the park – the one with the bridge
  • Clothing Store – the one near the really big Christmas tree
  • Library – the one with the miniature house on display.
  • Lunch – peanut butter and honey with yogurt and a banana.

We reviewed the schedule as I zipped coats and tied shoes.

We discussed the schedule as we buckled in the car.

We painstakingly picked apart the schedule as we drove to the park.

We double checked each detail of the schedule as we enjoyed tossing rocks off the bridge at the park.

As you may have noticed, my 4 year old has deep need to know what is happening and when. He has a desire to plan, prepare for and complete each task during the day. This behavior can seem strange and frustrating. One of the reasons he does this is because he has ARND (Alcohol Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder). Simply put, his brain was damaged before birth by exposure to alcohol. His ridged need for a schedule can be frustrating but his lack of distress tolerance can be downright embarrassing.

If his agenda has a hiccup, it is very difficult for him to turn his brain in a different direction. He has an especially difficult time managing frustration in public. Often I find myself wishing others would understand his diagnosis. I wish to educate pregnant mothers on the dangers of even a little alcohol. At the very least I wish for a post-it note on his forehead that says, “I’m not a brat, it just takes my brain a little longer to process than yours.”

This is where my honest nature gets tested. I want others to understand this about him. I want others to have compassion for him but I also understand that a Fetal Alcohol diagnosis carries a stigma. He wasn’t born with this disorder by accident, this was done to him. I believe that his birth mother loved him, but she did not have the self control to stop. If others know about her choices they may judge her or even my son.

So, as we entered the clothing store, the schedule went awry. The manager looked him in the eye and said hello. He melted down and hid behind a display at the front of the store.  The incredibly kind manager offered him a balloon. He began to growl at her and cry. She patiently sat the balloon on the counter and attended to my exchange. I was relieved by her kindness, but embarrassed by my son’s behavior. It took him the next 10 minutes to calm down. During that time I felt I owed the manager an explanation.

I told her a lie. I explained the he has autism and that these type of situations can be difficult for him. She nodded sympathetically and smiled with understanding. Once the melt down was over, he cautiously accepted the balloon and quietly thanked the manager. She wished us a good day and we left the store hand in hand discussing the rest of the day’s schedule.

I know it was wrong to lie. I know I missed an opportunity to educate others. So why did I do it?

I feel that if my child had a diagnosis like autism, he would be met with more compassion and understanding. I fear the judgment of others toward me, my son, and his birth mom. I am frustrated by the lack of resources and education regarding ARND. I guard all of my child’s private information and don’t want his diagnosis to change how others view him.

I feel guilty about my lack of honesty. In light of this, I will make a new commitment. I will always be cautious about my son’s private information.  I will not share details that will embarrass him. I also will not lie about it again. Lying implies shame and I have no shame for my son and neither should he.  He and I did not damage his brain, but he and I will work together until he overcomes this disorder.

I have to go now. It’s time to make a peanut butter and honey sandwich with a side of yogurt and a banana!

Have you ever encountered or experienced ARND? How did you handle it? What questions still linger? 

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Mike and Kristin Berry are the Co-Founders of The Honestly Adoption Company and have been parents for nearly two decades. They are the authors of six books, and the host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.

Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is the executive assistant to Mike and Kristin Berry. And she is the best in the land. In addition to providing a warm and friendly response to the many emails our company receives on a weekly basis, she also manages Mike and Kristin’s speaking and meeting schedules, and makes sure that team events go off without a hitch.

Nicole Goerges

Nicole Goerges is a Content Contributor & Special Consultant for The Honestly Adoption Company. She works with Mike and Kristin as a recurring co-host for the Honestly Adoption Podcast, and co-host of Kitchen Table Talks, exclusive video content for Oasis Community, along with Kristin. She is a fellow adoptive mom, and former foster parent.

Matt McCarrick

Matt McCarrick is the Content Production Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. If you’ve loved listening to our podcast, or enjoyed any of the videos trainings we’ve published, you have Matt to thank. He oversees all of our content production, from video edits, to making sure the tags are correct on YouTube, to uploading new videos to Oasis, to hitting publish on a podcast episode, he’s a content wonder!

Karen Anderson

Karen Anderson is the Community Engagement Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends the bulk of her time interacting with, and helping, people through our various social media channels, as well as providing support for Oasis Community members through chat support or Zoom calls. In the same spirit as Beaver, Karen is also passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and supported. Karen is also an FASD trainer and travels often, equipping and encouraging parents.

Beaver Trumble

Beaver Trumble is the Customer Care Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. Chances are, if you have been in need of technical support, or forgotten your password to one of our courses, you have interacted with Beaver. He is an absolute pro at customer care. In fact, he single-handedly revolutionized our customer care department last year. Beaver is passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and encouraged.

Kristin Berry

Kristin Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Content Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends most of her time researching and connecting with guests for our podcast, as well as direction, designing and publishing a lot of the content for our social media channels, blog and podcast. She loves to connect with fellow parents around the world, and share the message of hope with them.

Mike Berry

Mike Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Marketing Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. He spends the bulk of his time and energy designing and building many of the resources you see within our company, as well as social media and email campaigns. His goal is to use media as a means to encourage and equip parents around the world. He is also the co-host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.