Terry is the biological mom of 2 and the adoptive mom of 1. Prior to the adoption of her son, Terry was a registered nurse for 25 years specializing in critical and coronary care. Upon adopting their son from Russia, Terry and her husband decided that she would stay home and care for him. Knowing the possibility of fetal alcohol exposure in children, they worked with an international adoption specialist to evaluate their son’s medical record. The specialist felt like he would thrive given proper nutrition and support from his parents. They have tried to be proactive parents, acquiring multiple evaluations and therapies through the years. They are happy to report that despite the challenges, their son will be graduating from high school this year and plans on attending college in the fall. They credit the support and interventions he has received and his determination to be independent for his success.
Terry joined the board because of help and information she received from others also on this board. She is passionate about helping inform practitioners, educators, families, and lawmakers about FASD. She desires change, so that getting the proper diagnosis and services isn’t so difficult for families navigating the challenges of FASD. Knowing that in the United States, the prevalence of FASD is 1 in 20, that change is now more important than ever.
Becky is a mom to 5 children, some by birth and others by adoption. She and her wife became fully immersed in the FASD life by accident when their youngest child was placed with them in 2009. The family quickly realized that there was more going on than developmental delay and the quest for answers began. After he was diagnosed with FAS two years later, at age six, Becky began training and advocating in earnest.
Becky spent many years as an educator in community-based early intervention settings, special education classrooms, and the family homeschool prior to landing in her current role serving adults as a psychiatric registered nurse. She believes that it is her responsibility and great privilege to walk alongside folks during some of their hardest times and remains convinced that supporting one another can help us all to thrive.
Alison is a developmental psychologist and Research Scientist and is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of children and adolescents and their families. As part of her work as a Research Scientist, Alison has become knowledgeable in the available resources and interventions for youth with FASD and their families. She led the development and evaluation of an online mindfulness-based program for adolescents with FASD, which included feedback from adolescents with FASD as part of the development of the program. Alison has been a practitioner of mindfulness for the past 14 years and strongly believes in the benefits of mindfulness practice for children, adolescents, and adults. Alison was fortunate to be a member of the FASD Collaborative of North Carolina during its tenure and met many parent advocates and professionals all committed to raising awareness about FASD and supporting individuals with FASD and their families. She joined the intervention subcommittee as part of the Collaborative in order to assist with identifying resources and interventions for children and adolescents with FASD. As part of NCFASD Informed, Alison hopes to continue advocating for access to more services and resources for individuals with FASD as well as to increase awareness and understanding of FASD by educating others through webinars and trainings across the state.
Susan is the adoptive mom of two children. Her son, the youngest of her two children, has low vision and FASD. Susan’s FASD journey started with her determination to find help and support for her son. Seeing first-hand the lack of resources, professional knowledge and support for FASD, Susan became an ardent advocate for her son and the FASD Community, at large. She dreams of a world where all people, including those with invisible disabilities, are accepted and admired for their strengths and contributions. Through her participation on the NCFASD Informed Board of Directors, Susan desires to help build a community that will drive a movement of change for all who are living with FASD. Prior to becoming a mom, Susan received her MBA from Drexel University and worked in Marketing and Communications. In her spare time, Susan is a clean beauty consultant with Beautycounter and enjoys playing tennis, practicing yoga and traveling.
Christy is currently serving her community as a reading specialist and math interventionist. She has taught for over 20 years. She and her husband adopted their only child when he was ten days old. Their FASD journey began when she took her son to a doctor’s appointment and shared that her son’s birth mother drank alcohol while she was pregnant. That was in 2015 and she has continued in her journey for knowledge about FASD ever since. She is disheartened about how few services and how little information is available in the area in which she lives.
Christy wanted to share resources she found with other parents in the community and she started a group that met monthly. She dreams about starting meetings again and creating a resource center for parents and caretakers of special needs children. She also dreams of providing training and information for healthcare workers, teachers, law enforcement and legislators about FASD and how to support individuals on the spectrum. Christy and her sweet family live in the foothills of western North Carolina.
Valerie is mother to five permanent children, two girls and three boys; the oldest and youngest boys were adopted out of the foster care system at a young age. Valerie and her husband, Casey, formerly served as foster parents to 38 other children who called their house home for a time in their journeys. Valerie worked outside of the home as a software engineer until the arrival of their second adoptive son who was prenatally exposed to alcohol and required more intensive attention at home. Valerie transitioned to working from home and managing the children’s care. Valerie spent 15+ years running a construction business with her husband and then eventually returned to her first career as a software engineer where she now continues working remotely and caring for the remaining teens at home.
Valerie joined the board because she saw the people of NCFASD Informed making a difference in the lives of people like her and her family. She is passionate about raising awareness and educating others about FASD. Valerie longs to see children and families living with FASD welcomed and accommodated as valuable members of their communities, admired for their strengths rather than judged by their challenges. She looks forward to connecting with others working for the benefit of people with FASD and sharing learning, resources, hope, support, and encouragement.
Valerie and her family are residents of Lincoln County, North Carolina.