Demetrius had his first trip to the dentist a few weeks ago, without me (our wonderful Sara took him). He loved it, and our dentist is the sweetest most wonderful lady. But she called me later and asked me to come in as soon as I could. When I arrived she took me into her office and closed the door... not good. She went on to ask where Demetrius was born. I said "Aurora."
She said "Aurora, where?"
Oh... she paused.
Then she went on to explain that Demetrius has a pediatric dental malformation in all of his baby teeth, which has resulted in malformed teeth and little to no enamel on most of his teeth. His teeth were very clean she said, but he has cavities in almost ever tooth as a result of this malformation.
She went on to explain that this malformation is most often seen in children from third-world countries because it is often caused by extreme maternal malnutrition. But that it can also be caused by drug or alcohol use during pregnancy.
And that's when I began to process what this really means, for him, for us.
There are a lot of Demtrius' prenatal experiences I don't know about, but the few things I learned from his mom and the case worker, were definitely not ideal things.
But as moms we always believe the best for our children. Yet with this diagnosis I can no longer ignore that his prenatal experiences have effected him long term. And probably not just his teeth. If there was such severe malnutrition (or other abuses) in-utero to cause this, then it is now definitive, other things were not developed in perfect conditions either. And that is big.
I'm not sure where to go from here. Accept to remember this, his teeth are just a visible, and tangible, reminder to his less than desirable beginnings. And although I grieve for what that means in other areas of his life. I am grateful that we can begin to fix his teeth, I'm grateful that he is not afraid of the dentist, and I'm grateful for a glimpse into his prenatal history, so that we can pray even more specifically for what else lies ahead.
I could never encourage parents enough to look at Karyn Purvis' learning materials (no, we're not related, but I wish we were!), take her conference, or read her books. I have attended her conference several times, listened to her speak at other conferences, and read, and re-read her book, The Connected Child. She often speaks about prenatal traumas, prenatal conditions, and all of their effects on children. I am going to re-read some of those chapters now. And one of the things I love about her, is that she is grounded in science, but she is also incredibly hopeful. Her books will bring hope to parents, and hope to us, when it seems like the battles we have to face seem insurmountable. (This links to many of her resources! And she has a conference in Denver if you are local, YOU HAVE TO COME if you are thinking about or HAVE adopted. HAVE TO. April 20-21, 2012 at Mission Hills Church.)
There is never a dull moment when raising children, and especially so when their histories are a mystery in so many ways.