Broken Hearts #FASD and Grief

rjcatSpecial thank you to guest blogger — From R.J. Formanek – R.J. is one of our beloved FASD Survival Strategy Teachers

When dealing with FASD it is important to recognize that everyone is at some point, confronted with grief. And with the growing number of grandparents taking over raising children I feel it is something we need to confront, understand, and accept.

Let’s take a look at who grieves, and why.

Image
The process of grieving through FASD will last a lifetime. It is a daily process we all can walk together. It is not necessarily a sad daily process though. _ CLICK PHOTO FOR FREE SURPRISE!!!

The Child – The child living with FASD grieves for his own lost potential at times, but very often the child grieves each and every time he fails and lets down those around him. He wants to do well, he tries to do well… but when he fails often it isn’t just A failure, it’s ANOTHER failure.
This leads to guilt, shame, and self blaming… that’s ALL grief. The child is grieving. The Parent – The parent of a child with FASD is often battling feelings of guilt and shame as well, whether that is their biological child or not. The reasons for the bio mom may seem evident, but the adopted mother or caregiver also join her in a shared grief of sorts. Each of them wants the best for the child, and each time the child fails at something, or is hurt the parent feels not only that pain, but the guilt of not being able to stop it.
Not being able to help when you want to causes feelings of shame and guilt. The parents are grieving. Grandparents – The grandparents are often saddled with guilt themselves, and this often goes unnoticed by those who don’t really understand.
There is an added dynamic here, the grandparents are naturally grieving for the child, the same as any other parent. But they are also often grieving for their own child as well, the parent of the child they are now raising. Many people do not understand this double level of guilt and shame and how it impacts so many people. Like any parent, when their child fails they feel it, and doubly when raising an FASD affected grandchild. The grandparents as well are grieving.

When we deal with people in the FASD world it is important to recognize this, and rather than ignore it we should honor what these families are going through every single day.

A workbook to help persons with concrete understanding navigate grief.
A workbook to help persons with concrete understanding navigate grief.

http://online.fliphtml5.com/aajh/noxx/
FREE sample pages from Broken Heart – a concrete understanding workbook to help adults, late elementary and teens deal with grief.

This is inter-generational grief. There is no ‘cure’, but there is acceptance and understanding.
 Everyone is at a different point in this journey with grief, and we all must deal with it at some point.

It is good to help one another along this hard part of the journey; we need to remember we are all in this together.

Thank You.
R.J. Formanek, FASD Survival Strategy Teacher

What is FASD?

FASD Think Tank – Premiers Blog with Holiday Strategies.

Enjoy our first FASD Think Tank article
  

to help families 
live, laugh and love
 throughout the holidays. 
May your celebrations be filled 
with love and peace. 

Jodee, Liz and Karl Kulp

#8 Days To FASDay – Write a letter to the first lady

How to Write a Letter to 

First Lady Michelle Obama


Dear First Lady Obama
let me tell you about FASD

As part of International FASD Awareness Day, please join us in this easy, free activity to help raise awareness of FASD at the highest levels of our government.

This idea originated with Tami Eller, a member of our local FASD Council.
Cheri Scott, FASD Family Support Project
Stone Soup Group
www.stonesoupgroup.org

If you would like to write a letter to First Lady Michelle Obama there are certain steps you need to follow. While you may feel comfortable writing letters to your friends and family this letter needs to be formal and concise. Please follow these steps to correctly send the First Lady a letter.

________________________________

Dear First Lady Michelle Obama…

Let me tell you about FASD

International FASD Awareness Day Letter Writing Campaign

Did you know that First Lady Obama reads 10 letters each night written by everyday Americans?
Imagine if every letter the President read was written by someone whose life is impacted by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.
If everyone affected by FASD writes to the First Lady prior to 9/9 then the probability of her opening even one letter regarding FASD is incredible.
The more letters, the higher the probability that all ten letters she reads will be written by those affected by FASD.

  • Are you a parent of a child with FASD, are you an adult with FASD?
  • Does your sibling have FASD?
  • Do you teach a child or an adult with FASD?
  • Are you a grandparent of a child with FASD?

For everyone person born affected by prenatal exposure to alcohol, everyone who loves that individual lives are also affected.

Join us in educating our First Lady regarding the most prevalent of all birth defects: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.

Join us in asking our First Lady to ring a bell at 9:09 am on September 9, 2009 to recognize the importance of Nine Months of an Alcohol Free Pregnancy.

Tell your story of how Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders have affected yourself and those you love.

Send First Lady Obama a letter to at:
First Lady Michelle Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20500

Send First Lady Obama an email by filling out the form at:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact

Talking Points

* The Facts:
* Fetal alcohol exposure is an international and national crisis
* Prenatal exposure to alcohol causes permanent brain damage
* Prenatal exposure to alcohol is the leading cause of mental retardation
* Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders are 100% and easily preventable – simply no alcohol consumption during pregnancy
* Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders are a life long disability – from cradle to grave
* More babies are born with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders than Autism Spectrum Disorders or Downs Syndrome
* There is no safe amount of alcohol to drink during pregnancy
* It is estimated that more than half of the prison population is affected by FASD
* Prenatal exposure to alcohol costs the United States millions of dollars a year to provide services to individuals affected by a FASD
* Early identification and intervention has huge impacts on the reduction of mental health concerns and behaviors resulting in legal intervention
* Even with early identification and intervention,individuals with a FASD will need to lifelong supports
* The Daily Realities of Living with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

As a Parent:
* Struggles with you have raising your child with FASD
* Struggles you have explaining the invisible brain damage to others who deal with your child
* Struggle finding appropriate services for your child
* The lesson you have learned in your journey of raising a child affected by FASD
* Your dreams for your child

As an Adult affected by FASD
* Struggles you had to overcome in your lifetime
* Strengths and talents you have
* Accommodations that enable you to be successful

As a Profession working with individuals affected by FASD
* What systematically is working for your clients
* What systematically is not working for your clients
* Struggles your clients face on a daily basis
* Struggles you face on a daily basis in obtaining resources for your clients
* What resources are necessary for your clients to be successful
* What needs to happen
* Proclamation by the President of the United States recognizing September 9th as International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Awareness Day and the importance of abstaining from alcohol during pregnancy
* Ask him to ring a bell at 9:09 am on September 9 in recognition of the individuals affected by FASD.
* Diagnostic teams in all 50 states to facilitate and identify early diagnosis and intervention
* More resources toward prevention and early intervention

#11 Days To FASDay – Tie Some Knots

Let’s Knot to be Silent
INSTRUCTIONS TO TIE YOUR OWN FASKnots

By Bonnie Buxton,
author Damaged Angels
co-founder International FASDay
Re-printed from December ICEBERG 2008

In January of 1999, while digging out from a Toronto snowstorm, my husband Brian Philcox and I realized that September 9, 1999 (9-9-99), would present an opportunity to inform the world that during the nine months of pregnancy, alcohol is dangerous to the baby.

Within 24 hours, Teresa Kellerman of Tucson, Arizona, had contributed her creativity and Internet genius by encouraging volunteers in seven countries and 11 time zones to participate in the first International FAS Awareness Day.

Because every ribbon colour had been taken by other causes, Brian and I spent several hours developing the FASKnot symbol in honor of the first book about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Michael Dorris’s “The Broken Cord.”

Ten years later, the events continue and now we challenge FASD advocates to take advantage of 2009 to build awareness all year long, particularly on 09-09-09. This year in Canada, FASDay events included a major conference, some candlelight vigils, “mocktail” competitions, breakfasts, luncheons, a play, and one brave woman with ARND speaking out for the first time to a group of university students. Many of these events brought media attention to FASD, building awareness in the community.

Join the movement to Build Better Baby Brains Let’s Raise the Standard

Jodee

#23 Days To FASDay – Host a drop in event

So easy….


Host your own drop in event.

offer coffee and cookies on FASD Awareness Day
Simply send out an invite to your clients, friends and family.

Sample Invitation

FASD Awareness Day –
Owen Sound Drop In Event
September 09

Organization: Children’s Aid Society
Wednesday, September 9

Children’s Aid Society
1290 3rd Ave E,
Owen Sound

2:00 – 4:30 pm

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is the most common birth defect in the industrialized world causing permanent damage to the developing brain of one in every one hundred babies born in North America.Join us for this drop-in event, which will include refreshments, networking, education, awareness, and advocacy for those with FASD.

For more information contact:

#25 Days To FASDay – Information table

FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder)
Information Table

You may want to have an information table, which can include the FAS Knot, a cash box for donations, and relevant local material.

  • Correctional Service Canada has produced a well-written research report, “Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: Implications for Correctional Service” which is applicable to most English-speaking countries, and is also available in French. It’s available, free, in bulk, from the Research Branch, Correctional Service of Canada, 340 Laurier Ave. West, Ottawa, ON K1A 0P9, or phone Tina Bada at (613) 996-5222, fax (613)996-2867, reslib@magi.com
    It is full of facts and figures about FAS/FAE, relating to the lifespan of the affected individual, and includes recommendations for changes in the criminal justice system, taking into account the needs and disabilities of offenders with fetal alcohol disorders. This report would be particularly useful for members of the media who would like more information on the secondary disabilities of people with FAS, which make them susceptible to getting in trouble with the law.
  • Your committee might consider making various petitions available, and Bonnie Buxton ogrady@axxent.ca can suggest a number which might be appropriate.
  • We particularly like a “declaration” for men to fill out, promising to support their wives, partners, sisters, daughters, and friends in sobriety when pregnant. This declaration was developed by the Lakeland FAS Committee, in northern Alberta, Canada. The complete petition form can be downloaded at www.come-over.to/FASDAY/FathersDec.htm

Encourange Partner Declarations
The partner declaration, in the form of a petition, reads:

“I am aware that alcohol exposure during pregnancy may cause irreversible brain damage to the baby, therefore, I declare that I will support and encourage my partner, friends and family members to be alcohol free during pregnancy.”

FAS fact sheet and educational handouts
There is a file called FASdisk that can be downloaded in its entirety or just selected documents. The FASdisk can be found at http://come-over.to/FASdisk/

Suggested documents include:

#28 Days To FASDay – An easy FASDay Plan

AN EASY FASDay Plan
Yes! You and one friend can do something!

Easy Plan – The Foolproof FAS Day Formula
Sit down with paper and pen. If you have one or two other key people to work with, print up copies of this manual, and invite them to join you. Give them some time to read it, and then answer the following questions:

  • Who is chairing this event?
  • Who can we count on to help out?
  • What kind of help can they give us?
  • Who do we know will want to attend?
  • Potential attendees — what other people and organizations in the community do we want to reach? (Start with interested friends and family members, and professionals –doctors, lawyers, teachers, etc. – that you know. Then add people who should be interested: e.g., local municipal, state/provincial and federal politicians, agencies with an interest in FAS, school personnel, etc.)
  • How many people can we reasonably expect to attend?
  • Will we require child care?
  • Where should we hold this event?
  • Who are our best local media contacts to promote this event and the FAS issue?

1. Confirm location.
Once you’ve decided how many people are likely to attend, choose your location. Try to find a reasonably-sized meeting room with comfortable seating, and a convenient area to serve coffee, tea, juice, and snacks.
2. How to Obtain a FAS Day Proclamation
If you want civic and state FAS Day proclamations, find out the appropriate name to write to, and do this immediately. You’ll find a boiler-plate letter plus sample proclamations in this document. (Note: Canada’s provincial governments are not likely to issue proclamations.)
3. Planning the Video Premiere — Plus
The program is a simple one, but you’re going to need to make some choices.
Who will be M.C.? Choose the most articulate person in your group, or try for a local personality who could be sympathetic to your cause – e.g., a TV or radio broadcaster or local entertainment figure.

  • Will you use the Invocation, and if so, who will read it?
  • Will you ask your mayor or a municipal counsellor to read the Proclamation?
  • How will you observe the worldwide “Minute of Reflection” at 9:09 a.m.? e.g., will someone ring a bell nine times?
  • Or will you say a prayer, sing a song, have someone play a musical instrument, or have simple silence?
  • Will you have a keynote speaker following the video, and if so, who?
  • Or will you have a panel discussion? Your panel could include a birth parent, a foster or adoptive parent, an articulate survivor of FAS/FAE and a professional (teacher, doctor or nurse, psychologist or social worker, knowledgeable lawyer or judge, etc.)
  • Will you add music to the mix – possibly a live musician?
  • Would you like to close with the poem, “The Integrity of Hope,” by Michael Kami? And if so, who will read it?

4. Invitations and flyersWe’ve enclosed a sample invitation and 2 sample flyer/posters. Ask your committee members to come up with names of people to invite, and make a master list, which can be used in 2001. To save on postage, you may want to e-mail and fax many of your invitations, but make sure to follow up with a personal phone call. The invitation contains a RSVP: whose number will invitees call?
5. Breakfast Food and Drink
Easy does it. Muffins and/or bagels, cheese or cream cheese optional, possibly some cut-up melon or citrus fruit, coffee, tea and fruit juice, cream/milk and sugar. Possibly a local retailer or coffee shop may be willing to make a donation. If you’re tight for cash, possibly a local service club or church will help. Will you need storage or refrigeration or help setting up tables? Do you have enough electric coffeemakers?
6. Other equipment
Make sure your video equipment is adequate well in advance of Sept. 9.

  • Is your VCR working?
  • Is your TV set or monitor large enough for the size of group you expect?
  • If you’re expecting two dozen people or more, you may need two or more monitors hooked up to one VCR: this can be done easily with a splitter. Most audio-visual specialty stores can show you how it’s done.
  • If more people than you expect turn up, simply hold two screening sessions. One group snacks and chats while the other group watches the video. Then they trade places.
    Your alternative is to rent a video projector and screen from a company specializing in video display or presentation rentals. This will cost about $250-$300 per day, and you will need to darken the room. Some colleges and universities have this equipment in screening rooms.

7. Media RelationsYou’ll find a sample media release, ready for you to personalize with local information. Make a list of all of the members of the media you would like to reach, particularly those whom you know personally. You should also prepare a list of individuals who are knowledgeable about FAS, and willing to talk to the media. These might include participants on your panel – parents, people with FAS, and professionals. The media release can be faxed, but make sure you have a person who will make follow-up phone calls. You will also need a media contact for any members of the press, radio or TV who want to know more.
8. OtherBells and carillons around the world will be ringing nine times at 9:09 a.m. in the international Bell Concordance, to remind the world that during the nine months of pregnancy, a woman should not consume alcohol. If there is a church bell in your community, you may want to speak to the minister or priest, to ask if it is rung manually. If so, we suggest you photocopy the material from the FASworld Report regarding the Bell Concordance, or download and print it from the website http://www.come-over.to/FASDAY/manual.htm , and invite the church to join in. If you live in a city which is lucky enough to have a carillon, get the name of the carillonneur and do the same. Gerald Martindale, carillonneur at Toronto’s Metropolitan United Church geraldm@planeteer.com> is building on last year’s concert of international lullabies and would be pleased to share this with other international carillonneurs.

  • Make sure you have a guest book easily accessible as guests enter or leave. It would be useful to have someone stationed to remind people to sign the guest book and hand out FAS Knots as your guests arrive.
  • The FAS awareness symbol, the FAS Knot can be easily made for about 8 cents each. They can be given away, sold for about $2-3 each, or you can simply have a cash box available for donations. Complete information on the FAS Knot can be found at www.come-over.to/FASDAY/manual.htm
    FAS Knots and the guest book can be placed on an information table, with other available material. The table can also include petitions your group wishes to support.

For suggestions for both U.S. and Canadian petitions, e-mail Bonnie Buxton at ogrady@axxent.ca.
For suggestions on posters and printed material you can download yourself, check out the website
http://come-over.to/FASdisk/

#29 Days To FASDay – How to make a FAS Knot

TIE SOME FASKnotsand Pass Them Around Town or School

The FAS Knot – A Symbol for Our Time
We have been pleased by the enthusiasm that volunteers from New Zealand to Arctic Alaska and Canada’s northern territories of Yukon and Nunavut to South Africa have expressed for our unique, wearable symbol, the “FAS Knot.” Each FAS Knot can be easily made in about a minute, for less than ten cents, and can be used as a fund-raiser ($2-$5 each) or given away as reminders of the work we all do to help prevent FASD.
This piece of knotted cord was designed in memory of Abel Dorris, 1968-1991, whose brief and poignant life resulted in the groundbreaking 1989 book about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, “The Broken Cord,” written by his father, Michael Dorris, 1945-1997.
The broken cord may refer to the umbilical cord, the spinal cord, the nervous system, the cord between the generations, or the cable on an elevator. Michael Dorris wrote that if we back off on our children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or Fetal Alcohol Effects (i.e. Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder), they will sink and crash like an elevator once the cable is snapped.
Years later, a loving community around the world reconnected the broken cord, and the FAS Knot is our symbol. The cord is tied in a square knot, sometimes called a reef knot, the favored knot for reconnecting a broken line or cord. The knot is stronger than the cord itself, and cannot be broken or snapped.
To make the FAS Knot, we suggest an eight-inch piece of 3/16″ white cord, available in most hardware stores for a few cents per foot. You make a circle approximately the size of your thumb, then tie right over left and under; left over right and under. It should look like two loops intertwined. (Volunteers in Germany and New Zealand use a thinner cord, and make a more discreet knot. The choice is up to you.)
By choosing a cord instead of a ribbon, we are separating ourselves from all of the other campaigns. We are not just another cause trying to raise money – we represent those millions of individuals and their families who have gone unrecognized, unidentified, neglected on this continent and throughout the world.
The circle symbolizes the womb, a baby’s head, the human brain, the earth. And we, a planet-size network of people who care about people living with FASD, are the knot that will make them whole. If women did not drink in pregnancy, FASD would be totally eliminated.
Our long-range goal is to rename this small piece of cord, “The FAS Not!”
The FAS Knot lapel pin is a more recent innovation and can also be used for fund raising. Many groups resell the pin for $5 or $6.
The pin is available for the low cost of C$3/pin for orders of 25 or more. Shipping is free for orders of 100 or more. The pin is white enamel with a faux gold edge and is approximately 1.8 cm wide. The FAS Knot lapel pin is a registered trademark of FASworld Canada. The lapel pin may not be replicated, copied or incorporated into any other design without specific written permission from FASworld Canada.
The original FAS Knot was designed by Bonnie Buxton and Brian Philcox, and is an official symbol of FASworld. You can find step-by-step photos above. We encourage groups supporting FASD endeavours to use it for promotion or fund-raising, and ask only that you notify us before doing so.

E-mail us at info@fasworld.comHow to Make a FAS Knot

THE FAS KNOT STORY

“A threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
–The Bible, Ecclesiastes IV, 10

In 1999, volunteers from New Zealand and South Africa to Nunavut used the FAS Knot as a symbol of our worldwide campaign to inform the world about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and related disorders.
This piece of knotted cord was designed in memory of Abel Dorris, 1968-1991, whose brief and poignant life resulted in the groundbreaking 1989 book about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, The Broken Cord, written by his father, Michael Dorris, 1945-1997.
The broken cord may refer to the umbilical cord, the spinal cord, the nervous system, the cord between the generations, or the cable on an elevator. Michael Dorris wrote that if we back off on our children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or Fetal Alcohol Effects, they will sink like an elevator once the cable is snapped. Ten years after Dorris’s book, a loving community around the world reconnected the broken cord, developing the FAS Knot as our symbol.
Each knot can be made easily and cheaply in less than a minute. The cord is tied in a square knot, sometimes called a reef knot, the favoured knot for reconnecting a broken line or cord. The knot is stronger than the cord itself, and cannot be broken or snapped. You may want to sell the knots for $2-$5, or ask for donations.
Volunteers in the U.S. and Canada generally use an eight-inch piece of 3/16″ white cord, available in most hardware stores for a few cents per foot. Volunteers in New Zealand and Germany have made smaller, more discreet FAS Knots, using thinner cord. Make a circle approximately the size of your thumb (possibly smaller if you use a thinner cord), then tie right over left and under; left over right and under. Using a straight pin or safety pin, pin this to your lapel or other garment with the loop above and the knot below.
Step-by-step photos of the FAS Knot may be seen on the website at www.come-over.to/FASDAY/manual.htm
We have chosen a cord instead of a ribbon, to separate ourselves from all of the other campaigns. We are not just another cause trying to raise money — we represent those millions of individuals and their families who have gone unrecognized, unidentified, neglected on this continent and throughout the world.
The circle symbolizes the womb, a baby’s head, the human brain, the earth. And we, a planet-size network of people who care about people living with FAS, are the knot that will make them whole. FAS is totally preventable. We must create a society in which everyone recognizes that there is no lower threshold for drinking in pregnancy. Our long-range goal is to rename this small piece of cord, “The FAS Not!”
The FAS Knot was designed by Bonnie Buxton and Brian Philcox, trademark pending.

Copy for FAS Knot Scroll (optional)
(You may want to print a one-page sheet, roll it up in a scroll, and tuck each one inside the loop of a FAS Knot. The sheet can contain information about the program, and also includes this information about the Knot.)

THE FAS KNOT
This piece of knotted cord was designed in memory of Abel Dorris, 1968-1991, whose brief and poignant life resulted in the groundbreaking 1989 book about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, “The Broken Cord,” written by his father, Michael Dorris, 1945-1997.
The broken cord may refer to the umbilical cord, the spinal cord, the nervous system, the cord between the generations, or the cable on an elevator. Michael Dorris wrote that if we back off on our children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or Fetal Alcohol Effects, they will sink like an elevator once the cable is snapped.
The circle symbolizes the womb, a baby’s head, the human brain, the earth. And we, a planet-size network of people who care about people living with FAS, are the knot that will make them whole. FAS is totally preventable. We must create a society in which everyone recognizes that there is no lower threshold for drinking in pregnancy. Our long-range goal is to rename this small piece of cord, “The FAS Not!”

#30 Days To FASDay – #FASD Twitter Party

FASD Awareness Day 2011 was a a terrific initial success for increasing FASD-specific tweets and increasing awareness on Twitter; we’re doing it again in 2012 to have even more participation!

@FASDElephant (Twitter username of Michael Harris) is starting early and again encouraging and hosting a worldwide #FASD #TwitterParty on September 9th to make #FASD a worldwide Twitter trending topic and increase FASD awareness across the world.

See last year’s video (2012 video will be made in summer 2012):

1. Register for the Event: Register on either Facebook (to be set up in summer 2012) or Eventbrite, then I will send you an email and Tweet reminder on September 9th.
2. Share this invitation: Tweet or “Like” it from the “Share this!” section above.
3. Visit Tweet4FASD.com: Find sample tweet ideas, more info about the 2012 #FASD Awareness Day #TwitterParty, video tutorials on setting up and using Twitter, and links for more about FASD.
4. Tweet #FASD messages with 120 characters or less: No matter the time, no matter your location… Tweet several times using the hashtag #FASD on September 9th so it will show up as a trend on Twitter. (BTW, Tweets 120 characters or less are easy to re-tweet.)
5. Document your FASD Awareness Day event: Send Tweets and Tweetpics from your event on September 9th – Include the hashtag #FASD.
6. Retweet other #FASD Tweets you receive: Keep the momentum going!

A. #FASD Awareness Day! Alcohol+Pregnancy=Lifetime of Problems. Please don’t drink when pregnant. B. #FASD is preventable! Alcohol in pregnancy can cause brain damage. Please don’t drink while pregnant.
C. @FASDElephant I’m honoring #FASD Awareness Day in [city/country] by [tell me something about your event].

Follow FASDElephant on Twitter

Event registration for 2012 #FASD Awareness Day #TwitterParty Hosted by @FASDElephant powered by Eventbrite

 

Tell the “Twitterverse” that FASD is 100% preventable on September 9, 2012!


What if each of us chose to reach out to another person with a disability.

An kindness of simple things will make a HUGE difference in the daily life of a person with an FASD disability.

A ride to the store for groceries
Coffee once a month at the local cafe
Sitting on a porch swing.
Helping to organize a room
An invitation to dinner
Helping with a project
Going to county services as a friend or brain coach

We would love to hear ideas on how you can “be a friend” to a person with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD)

For t-shirts, hats and other gear visit www.cafepress.com/fetalalcohol

#35 Days To FASDay – Invocation


FASDay Invocation & Poem

(This beautiful and inclusive prayer was written and delivered by Sister Eileen Power at the Toronto observance, and has been updated. It’s freely available for anyone in the world who wants to use it. If you use it, please credit Sister Eileen Power, and mention that she is a teaching sister of the Congregation of Notre Dame in Toronto.)

by Sr. Eileen Power, CND

O Great Spirit, Creator of the Universe, we gather on the ninth minute of the ninth hour of the ninth day of the ninth month in the (first year of the New Millennium).
Our connection with our whole world is made visible in a special way today.
People in every time zone gather, as we gather, to change our world.
By our coming together and our working together, we will make the world better.
Accept our prayers with all who are praising you this very moment and with all who will gather today.
As we begin (this millennium), we are filled with hope,
O Ever-Creating God,
that in the circle of life,
in the cosmos, in the womb,
in our hearts,
your hope goes round,
your strength goes round,
your power goes round,
your love goes round and
our hearts and spirits are joined in a new birth.

We gather to intensify our awareness of the fragile beauty of life from the first moment of conception, of the privilege of the nine months of pregnancy, and of our resolve to help all children and adults with fetal substance disorders to lead happier and more fulfilling lives.

All of our words, gestures and hopes of today:
Our silence and our bells,
Our dance and our reflection,
Our words and our drums,
Our children and our knots,
Our lullabies and our resolve,
All of our words, gestures and hopes of today,
Are powerful reminders that life is your gift to us.
May the drumming of our hearts, echoing the drum of the heartbeat of the universe, be the sound of your tender love.
May the knot of our connections be ever firm. And may this special moment on this special day continue to mark the beginning of change, for mothers, for fathers, for all children and for those yet-to-be, and for all of us who join in spirit today around this unique planet, so beautiful, so fragile, so large and yet so small. Together, we are family.

“The Integrity of Hope” (optional)
This is a warm and positive way to end your event, particularly if it is read by a birth mother or person living with FASDs.

The Integrity of Hope
by Michael Kami, 1993

Just as the gentle flutter of a butterfly’s wing
Can change the path of a hurricane
So the gentle beat of a child’s heart
Can change the destiny of the world.
Children are our future and our hope.
Only they determine humanity’s progress.
We must protect all children.
We must feed all children.
We must educate all children.
We must love all children.
They are we and we are they,
In a joint journey to a better future!