Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
Family Album Snapshots

Fran (left) with daughters Katie and Christine

Fran with her best friend Casey

Hi. My name is Frances Marie Valentine. I am an adult with FAS, ADD, and Bipolar Disorder. I was diagnosed with FAS a few years ago. Part of the diagnosis came from characteristics of my face. They are: the absence of the "v" they call it the indistinct philtrum. Anyway mine is missing. Low nasal bridge (on birth pictures) thin upper lip, pointed chin, small almond shape eyes, and my palms have lines that go straight across. Small short nose. I look nothing like my mother or father. I have my mother's hair color and texture. That's all.

This is not easy for me to write. I have trouble with writing. I get all mixed up and confused with my thoughts. And my stomach starts to feel empty. Understand this is not going to sound like the perfect essay. It's like I have a lot to say, I can't just sit and write down in an organized matter about myself. My thoughts are jumping around from one to another. Sometimes my mind works well other times its hard and I get frustrated and run away. I just feel empty inside. You see, I want to write about myself. I just find it hard. Oh, it is easy to write a few lines in a letter to help someone. So, here are a few things about me.

One, I look perfectly normal. Two, I have the IQ of 84. I am 43 years old. My personal hygienic needs are not normally taken care of. I sometimes forget to take a bath. I have no concept of right or wrong. Poor judgment, poor speech. I do not pronounce my words correctly and have trouble with math. I also have mood swings and depression.

My biological mother was an alcoholic since the age of 15. She gave birth to me at the age of 35. My father is also an alcoholic. I can't honestly write that my story is not full of tragic happenings. I was physically and emotionally and sexually abused as a child. I have abused myself, given myself black eyes, bang my head against the wall. I am bulimic.

I am still working on my GED, but fail math. I am not easy to live with. I have been known to hide the truth and lied to my husband on issues of money.

Honestly, I don't really think ahead my thoughts are always like a mixed puzzle. I have several good days and during these times I think the medicine is really working. I feel different and feel like I can do anything. Then I wake up and don't want to get out of bed, or I'll put things off. I don't know why I have these serious upheavals. I just know its hard on my family and friends. I forget things and forget to write them down and then forget to remember I wrote them down. I am simply not capable of accomplishing to finish anything. I have to remind myself to stop and finish.

I used a spell check and grammar check and a book that helps me to explain my feelings. I am lost without these tools and couldn't on my own even write this letter to you all. Its like getting what's in my head onto paper takes work. Some day I hope to write a book and tell the world that drinking or doing drugs and smoking will produce a mentally sick and physically sick baby.

Hugs to all from Fran.

Email Fran at valentfr@comcast.net

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