In-Spite Of A Dark Disorder, And Bad Choices, I Still Believe In My Kid!

Author of 5 books, podcaster, parent trainer, husband and father.

Share This Post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on email
Maybe it would be easier to just give up, concede that his future won't be different from the present, and stay content to not believe in my son. But there's something deep within me that keeps hope alive.

I’ve just drifted off to sleep. It’s a blazing hot afternoon in Central Indiana and I only have a fleeting 30 minutes until the show my 2 younger sons have chosen, on Netflix, ends. I’ve bargained with them to let me nap in exchange for a show of their choosing. I’ve hit the jackpot. We don’t allow them to watch TV unbridled, at will. They think they’ve hit the jackpot too.

My eyes close, the sound of the TV becomes muffled, and my mind has begun the cross-over to the other side. That’s when I hear it. It yanks me back across the shiny, dream bridge and into reality. It’s my phone on the nightstand next to our bed. It’s vibrating loudly. Even with the ringer off it’s loud. I pull my heavy head off my pillow to see who would be calling me. I don’t recognize the number so my head returns to the groove my head’s created on my soft pillow. Suddenly, a second buzz. A voicemail. “Good grief! Somebody must really need to get ahold of me,” I think to myself as I reach for my phone.

“Hey dad, it’s me,” my oldest son says. “I just wanted to tell you that I got in another fight today at camp. Okay, bye.” I listen again to make sure I’m hearing this right and not dreaming. My second oldest son laughs at something they’re watching on the show, so I know I’m awake. I can’t freaking believe this! I think to myself. Another fight. I can feel the rage begin to burn in me. I told him yesterday, after the fight he was in then, that one more instance and his night is over when he gets home.

I’m so frustrated I want to quit. An hour later, I drive to his camp to pick him up. I’m bracing for something like, “Mr. Berry, we love your son, but he’s too much for our counselors to handle. We can’t have him here anymore.” It’s happened before, so I’m ready for it to happen again.


Fortunately, that’s not what happens. They hand me the incident report, wish me a good rest of the day, and we’re off. I walk to the car silently, fuming, ready to go off on him. I know this won’t work though. We’ve been down this road in the past. My son suffers from Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, so exploding on him won’t work. He’ll just explode back. And the rest of the night will be containment and restraint. His brain won’t comprehend my outburst. It’s either trying to play catch-up or it’s moved on completely to something else. One thing’s for sure, though, he won’t fully connect consequences to action.

We close the car doors, buckle our seat belts, and I turn the car on. Out of the corner of my eye I see him look at me. Just then he says, “Dad, I’m really sorry. I shouldn’t have done that.”

And that’s when it hits me. I’m reminded of something powerful that keeps me in this fight for his heart: I believe in him!


Through the darkness that often comes from a disorder like FASD, the impulsivity, the aggression, the lack of reasoning, or even the mental capacity to understand basic social skills at times, I can’t help but be filled with hope. This disorder, these letters, they don’t define him. They don’t determine his future story. It has yet to be written.

This disorder, these letters, they don’t define him. They don’t determine his future story. It has yet to be written.

There is hope in the midst of an uphill climb that’s starting to have the makings of a climb to the summit of Mt. Everest. There are so many days of hopelessness. So many days where I wonder, “Is this the best it’s gonna get with him?” It’s not, though. For as angry as I am on this day, I look over at him, and I see an innocent child with goofy ears, bright eyes, and a smile that can light up the darkest night. I believe in him and I’m filled with hope for his future.


I speak calmly to him as we drive toward home. “I want you to know something buddy. I believe in you!” The words echo in my mind and they couldn’t be more true for me. Over the past few months, even through some big battles, I’ve arrived at this place of hardcore belief in my son. I believe he has hope. I believe he has a future. That’s what makes days like today so hard to deal with. It would be easy if I didn’t believe. In that case, I could just be mad at him, drive home, and continue through the rest of the night as if nothing happened. But I can’t. My belief in him propels me to something deeper. Something raging in my heart. A passion. A longing. A refusal to give up.

“That’s why mom and I want you to stop doing things like this. You’re better than that. You’re a loving, kind-hearted kid. You don’t need to be getting into fights. You have such a bright future.” I look over to see his solemn face. He’s not angry, not blowing me off, he’s actually listening.

With all of my heart I believe the words I speak to him. That wasn’t always the case. There have been many days where I wouldn’t have said words like these, because I struggled to find any ounce of hope. But on this day, with all of my heart, I believe.

His past is over, his present is filled with promise, and his future has yet to be written.

Do you believe in your child, in-spite of tough circumstances? Share your story with us.

Share This Post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on email
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.