For Jack and Maggie Lang, Nicholas* was the perfect bookend to their family. A bouncing baby boy that, through adoption from foster care, made their happy brood of four become five. They were in love with baby Nick the moment they saw him. Since he was still in diapers, the Lang’s were sure that he would just meld right into their family as their youngest, cherished son.
His challenges, however, began before Nick ever took his first breath.
This is Nick’s story.
“He just seemed different.”
Nick was one of millions of babies whose biological mothers used drugs while pregnant. It reshaped his brain in ways no one could imagine, and those changes showed up in behaviors the Langs never could have expected.
The baby years faded away and with them, the Lang’s hope for a smooth transition. Nick was a challenging toddler and preschooler. Once in school, he struggled academically, but as Nick grew into a teen, the Lang’s home shattered.
Nick had violent mood swings and became increasingly anti-social. He seemed to battle his parents on all fronts. His behavior was far more than just a teenager trying to find his own independence. Jack and Maggie thought the parenting tools they used with their two older children as teens would work with Nick as well. They didn’t. Nick’s behavior only grew worse and more alarming.
By the time the Langs first met with Chosen, they felt completely disconnected and defeated, wondering if, all those years ago, they should have remained a peaceful family of four.
Finding Hope Again
After learning more about Nick’s history, their Chosen Casre Manager began to help the Langs understand just what the in-utero drug exposure had done to their son’s mind. His brain structure was different and those differences changed Nick in ways he simply could not help.
But Chosen offered something else: Tools for connection and hope to press-on with Nick despite his neurological differences. Using these new techniques, Jack and Maggie built connections with Nick they had missed over the years. The battles lessened and calm returned to their home, or as calm as you can manage with three teenagers in the house. As Maggie said months later, “I have hope again!”
However, the biggest impact is on Nick himself. When Nick first met with a Chosen Care Manager, his mental health was near a breaking point. He suffered from anxiety, depression, and PTSD. After working with professionals and building new bonds with his parents, Nick now shows no clinical signs of anxiety or depression. He continues to work with counselors to better learn to express himself and build a better relationship with his parents.
Now instead of fighting each other, the family is united to help Nick heal from his past.
*Names changed to protect privacy.
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