I posted a question in the SN forum to see if I could get a clearer picture of what's going on with this little guy. He's 10 months old, and has some prenatal-exposure-related issues. I don't know what he was exposed to. His facial features don't appear to be FAS/FAE related, but I'm certainly no expert and the pics weren't clear closeups. If his symptoms are mild, they could be the same description as my son (who is now 4 and bright and has no issues) at that age. If they are somehow different/more severe, it looks like he could be developmentally delayed or end up somewhere on the autism spectrum/Asperger's or something else.
Since there's no crystal ball, we are trying to figure out how much we can handle. I'd be a lot more open if we didn't already have kids, but we have a son and want him to have a sibling. Since he was adopted from foster care, I feel like he needs to have family that understands where he came from, and a sib from the same situation could help as he gets older. They won't feel as alone in the world, they'll have someone to talk to after we're gone, etc. But since that's the point, I can't see purposely adopting a child whose needs are so high that DS will be obligated to take care of him/her when they're grown and we're gone and the second child is unable to live on his/her own or at least in need of constant monitoring/support.
My great-uncle had mental retardation and his family (parents and two brothers) abandoned him to the care of my grandmother, his only sister. She had to care for him on her own for her entire life. She was bitter and resentful and completely uneducated about his condition and often lost patience with him. He was able to live on his own, but they talked on the phone multiple times daily and it was a struggle. I remember seeing the pain in her face as she tried to communicate with him over the phone, how exasperated she got with him, and the relief mixed with guilt when died. I cannot do that to my son. We have no other family who could help him out if it came to that. I know that things are different now, my son will be educated, we will teach him what he needs to know about any special circumstances, but it's still not fair to lay that burden on him. I feel it's not our choice to make for him, but if he chooses not to take it on, where does that leave our second child? So even worse, our child would not have the care he/she would need.
I know I'm overthinking, but I feel I have to, given my family's history. I saw how all the rest of the aunts/uncles/cousins reacted to my great-uncle; no one wanted to get too involved. They were happy to see him at Thanksgiving and maybe call once or twice a year and that was it. He needed companionship. He needed to know his family loved him. There were TONS of relatives and no one stepped up. He was alone. DS wouldn't have anyone to rely on to take some of the burden off him when he needed it. He wouldn't have anyone to turn to. I can't do that to either of them.
So what do we do? Just refuse to take any child who MIGHT have some issues? We'll likely end up with no sibling for DS. Take a chance and hope that by the time we need it, there'll be research and cures or treatments that will make the issues insignificant? I can't fathom saying no to this kid due to developmental delays. And I can't imagine how I'd feel if the child ended up unable to be a self-sufficient adult.
Has anyone else here BTDT?