Families affected by alcohol-related birth defects can get information and support from these organizations:
Fasstar Enterprises at http://fasstar.com.
National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS), (800) 66-NOFAS at http://nofas.org.
Family Empowerment Network: Support for Families Affected by FAS/FAE. (800) 462-5254.
The Arc, (800) 252-9054 at http://thearc.org.
Woman with FAS struggles to find a place to belong
She sucks on her fingers, her only security blanket.
Linda knows she should never be alone. When her boyfriend goes to work in the evenings, she retreats to her bed, the only safe place she knows.
The 20-year-old woman has fetal alcohol syndrome. She was born on the Tohono O'odham Reservation, and moved to Tucson a year ago, with dreams of finding a job and taking care of herself.
"My mom said I couldn't make it on my own," she said, sitting cross-legged on a couch in the tiny living room of her apartment. "I believe her now."
Linda is one of an untold number of adults with FAS who cannot make it in the world. Because of her history of victimization and her mental impairment, the Tucson Citizen is not using her real name.
In the time she's lived in Tucson, Linda has held a few jobs. None lasted long.
She's lived with depression and hyperactivity most of her life, and tried to commit suicide when she was 12. "I couldn't take what was going on in my life," she said.
To battle the depression, she takes Prozac, which helps make her life more manageable.
"When I don't take it, I get depressed, and it's hard to do things. It's hard for me to behave around men when I'm not on it."
Now Linda is trying to figure out how to survive in the city, miles from her native homeland.
"I feel like I'm better off on the reservation than I am in town, because I know how to get around there," Linda said. "There I have family. Here I don't have nobody."
But Linda said she has been cut off from some of her adoptive family members, who are frustrated at the problems that plague her life.
She says she was raped repeatedly by adoptive family members throughout her life, starting as a young child.
There were never any arrests, and a caseworker says it's impossible to know if Linda was raped, or if the incidents occurred only in her head.
At 12, she moved into her first group home. Since then, she's lived in a number of homes and shelters, trying to find a place to fit in.
"I want to go back to the reservation, but I got no place to go," she said.