BBC: Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder: The ‘heartbreaking’ reality

Eleven-year-old Reece and his brother Jordan, 10, do not like change.

Their mother, Alison, says every day is like groundhog day, with the McNamara family following a strict routine.

Everything from the way they are dressed in the morning to how they go to bed has to be the same.

The brothers, from Dromore, in County Down, are living with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), meaning that exposure to alcohol in the womb has left them with life-long disabilities.

They were adopted by Alison and Brian McNamara as babies and both have developmental delays and thin top lips, which is common in people with FASD.

“Drinking alcohol while pregnant is like playing Russian roulette with your baby’s life,” Alison tells BBC News NI.

“I live the reality of it every day. We call it groundhog day.”

Alison and Brian McNamara with their sons Reece (left) and Jordan
Image caption: Alison and Brian McNamara adopted Reece (left) and Jordan (right) when they were babies

“Reece and Jordan are our whole worlds – they are amazing – but living with the effects that alcohol has had on them is a lot of work.

“They have no real working memory so they struggle with the here and now.

“They are very forgetful and can’t control their behaviour so they act on impulse.”

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