This week we are taking a part-two look at the opioid crisis and talking about who opioid addiction really hurts: children. The foster care system in this state is flooded with children who have had their lives impacted and uprooted by opioid addiction. In this episode we will hear from CPS workers, foster care parents, family service professionals and addiction councilors.
This Rural Mission is a podcast brought to you by Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. The podcast is produced with funds from the Herbert H. And Grace A. Dow Foundation and the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine family medicine department. Welcome to season two. I'm your host Julia Terhune and I hope you enjoy this episode.
This season I knew I had to address the opioid crisis that is affecting rural communities, but I really didn't want to do it in the traditional way. Truly because there is so much to unpack and in my opinion, I think that when we talk about the issue, we have a tendency to either focus on numbers or start blaming and pointing fingers as to why and who and when and who's not being considered and what the real root cause is. Really what I think is that isn't where any of the conversations should start because it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter how it all started. It's here and it's affecting real people and we have a problem.
We're going to talk about the real consequences and why we should care and why we all should care is because we're talking about children. When it all boils down, the people who are really affected the most and the longest in the midst of this crisis are kids. So in the efforts of impact and to contextualize this real issue, we are going to tell the story of the Brown family. The Browns adopted both of their children from foster care and the origin story for why they are together and a family today is because of opioids.
Back in 2010, Todd and I decided to go for foster care and in 2012 we were gifted with two wonderful children, their ages were nine months and four years at the time. They had been taken out of a home where they received trauma from abuse and neglect and they were placed in our home in a very short amount of time. From the call to the time they arrived in our driveway was about 45 minutes. They came to us, very malnourished. They were very dirty.
We believe they were under the influence of cannabis or second hand of cannabis because they were very dazed and confused. Our foster son at the time was very underdeveloped. We could tell that he had speech issues. He had gross motor skill issues and the little girl, our daughter now, which was nine months at the time, she weighed about 12 pounds and she wasn't able to crawl yet. She was just barely rolling over, so they were very much on the lower end of the scale of development.
Our children's mother had an opioid addiction and actually her mother overdosed on opioids in front of her and died when the mother was about 19 years old. With the opioids, we have all of our children's medical reports and our daughter, especially when she was born she was born at 31 and a half weeks, so she was very premature. She was less than three pounds. She was addicted to meth and cannabis and there was many things in her toxicology when they pulled it. So they had to put her on Suboxone and a bunch of different other medications to help her come off of that addiction along with trying to build her way up because she was so small and she was a premature.
Because of that, now she is a fully developed child. If you saw her, she's very small but she is fully developed mentally and physically and all that, but she does suffer from deteriorated vision in her left eye because of the opioids. So unfortunately she has a patch that's over her right eye right now trying to strengthen her left eye.
That's one thing. People will always say