Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Asian AdoptionsQ: I’m interested in knowing the deal about Asian babies having natural features that are indistinguishable from FAS features. Should those of us adopting Asians from high FAS regions, like Kazakhstan, not even try to look for the facial features common to FAS kids or are there things in particular we could look for?

A: You raise a good point. The stereotypical “face of FAS” is easy to confuse with racial features.  However, an International Adoption doctor that is trained to evaluate referral pictures for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome features should be able to distinguish racial features from FAS features. Regardless of your child’s race, this is not a diagnosis you should try to make on your own. Keep in mind, of course, that a child can be affected by maternal alcohol consumption without having the facial features.  I would suggest finding an international adoption doctor that sees a lot of referrals. I list resources for finding IA doctors on the international adoption resource page.  Also, listen to the Creating a Family radio show when I interviewed Dr. Julian Davies on FAS and adoption.

Image credit:  NenaRayo