What The Runner’s World Cover Competition Taught Me About FASD.

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

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Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder brings about a myriad of struggles for those who suffer from it, and heartache for parents raising children with it. But one competition is changing the face of FASD...

I am the mother of 5 children who were exposed to alcohol before birth. My children run the full spectrum of affectedness. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is a lifelong condition. Throughout their entire lives they will struggle with a range of difficulties…

  • Impulsivity – Some of my children lack the ability to think ahead. They cannot see that an action will have a consequence. They live completely in the moment. They do not believe that what they did 5 minutes ago is any more relevant than what they might do in 20 years.
  • Learning Disabilities – Some of my children struggle with academics. They may learn something at school in the morning and by the time lunch rolls around they have completely forgotten or misunderstood the concept.
  • Difficulty with judgment – Some of my children think in black and white. They may know the facts about a situation but lack the ability to see all the repercussions of a certain decision.
  • Hyperactivity – One of my children, in particular moves like a little human hummingbird. The amount of movement is enough to make me dizzy.
  • Attention – For one of my children, lack of focus is often seen as defiance or unwillingness. It looks like they don’t want to do the task at hand when in reality their brain is just distracted.
  • Memory – Memories can become distorted, misunderstood or completely forgotton. For one of my children, any direction given verbally will not make it into her long term memory.

My children don’t look any different from a typically developing child. The “invisible” nature of this disorder can compound the devastation it brings. A child with an FASD may be misdiagnosed with any number mental illnesses. A child with an FASD may be misunderstood as a bad or disrespectful child.

I feel scared for my children. I’m worried that they will get in trouble. I’m afraid they will be taken advantage of. My heart hurts when they are not welcomed by others and it breaks when they are frustrated with their own challenges.

Recently I’ve been following a story that gives me hope. I found the story through a Facebook page on FASD. I love the page because it is a mixture of parents raising children with FASD and adults who have FASD. It is so exciting to see a community come together to encourage one another and raise awareness. I love the way this group of people chooses to take away the stigma of FASD. They talk about the struggles openly and without shame. This is where I first heard about Andrew Peterson. He was born with FASD and struggled throughout his childhood. He began running and found a way to persevere. He is now one of the finalists in the Runner’s World Magazine Cover search contest. If he wins the contest he will be the first person with a disability to be featured.

I would encourage you to read his story and vote for him here.

Here is what he had to say when asked why running is important to him.

“Running is important to me because I can succeed. Although I like to have a partner, I can always run on my own – either in my neighborhood or on a nearby trail. I am able to push my body and feel good about myself. I like that feeling. For several years I have motivated many Special Olympics athletes to believe in themselves, train harder and improve their times. Running has also allowed me to inspire hundreds of people on and off the track. Last year I started speaking to high school students about including others and accepting them.”

There are three things that just jump out at me…

  1. I can succeed.
  2. I feel good about myself.
  3. I Inspire others.

This is what I want for my children. This is what keeps me up at night. They will always have FASD. There will never be a time that their brain will heal itself. Basic things in life will always be a little more difficult. I understand that and so do they. My heart’s desire is for my children to one day be able to say that no matter the circumstances, I can succeed, I can feel good about myself and I inspire others.

If you are pregnant, please remember there is no safe amount of alcohol during pregnancy.

If you are a parent of a child who was exposed to alcohol, please don’t forget, there is still hope!

Are you parenting a child with FASD? What struggles have you had to overcome? Share your story with us.

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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.