Author Melissa Jacobus’ lived experience of raising children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.
The Accomplice, by author Melissa Jacobus, is a courageous and inspirational true story of the authors personal experience of parenting children with FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder). FASD, also known as the ‘invisible disability’, is an umbrella term used to describe a range of conditions that can occur in an individual as a result of exposure to alcohol in utero. The effects can have life-long implications, including physical, mental, behavior, and/or learning issues.
Mother of four, Melissa, describes her journey of caring for two adopted children, Natalie and Nicky, both challenged with FASD, and the impact this disorder had on the children and on family life. Natalie ran away from home and fell in with a wrong crowd, who took advantage of her disability. She became involved with Max, also suspected of having FASD, and both were incarcerated for involvement in check fraud. Natalie became pregnant prior to her sentence, and gave birth shortly after her release, but the baby was taken into foster care, as Natalie and Max were unable to take care of her. Melissa describes her struggles as she tried to get the courts, health care system, and social services to recognise FASD and get the support Natalie deserved. Nicky, feeling abandoned while Melissa was supporting Natalie, and experiencing significant work-related stress, also ran away from home. He lived with his older brother for a short time, before ending up homeless and on the streets. Melissa describes her struggle to find her son and bring him safely home.
Melissa works tirelessly to increase awareness of FASD, through advocacy and speaking events. Alongside her own lived experience, she describes how FASD has impacted the lives of many others, including a fifteen-year-old boy suffering from FASD, who killed his mother in a violent rage. The book deals with some of the common outcomes of FASD, such as homelessness, violence, drug and alcohol abuse, and criminality. It is a heart-breaking and difficult read, but it is a story that needs to be told.
The book is a call to action to raise awareness of this invisible disorder, and to recognise FASD as a developmental disability.
Star rating: 5 Stars
Summary: An inspirational story of one woman’s fight to protect her children and raise awareness of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.