Dealing With Post Adoption Depression

Most people assume that adoptive parents must be on a perpetual high after bringing their baby or child home.  After all, they've wanted a baby for a long time; they've gone through an incredible amount of negotiations, periods of waiting, and financial stress to adopt; and they finally have the child of their dreams.  What most people don't realize, however, is that post-adoption depression is very common.  It is important to understand this syndrome and to learn about ways to overcome it.

Depression Studies

June Bond, an adoption advocate in North Carolina, created the term Post-Adoption Depression Syndrome (PADS) in 1995.  One psychotherapist in Denver, Dee Paddock, says that adoption depression is very common.  The world, as she explains it, sees you as a hero for rescuing a needy child. It's very hard to take on this title, and then to express your insecurities, frustrations and fears.  Adoptive parents, therefore, find themselves feeling outside of the parenting club and they feel guilty for finding their new situation so difficult.  This leads to depression and hopelessness.

Feeling Different

Many women who adopt babies have a hard time relating to other women who birthed their own children.  While sitting in a support group for new mothers, the other women will be discussing their delivery and recovering, their breastfeeding woos and their hormones. These are not the same considerations that an adopted mother is experiencing.  While they do both experience adjustments to their new routine and their new child, the adoptive mother has some considerations that are different than does the women who delivered her own children.  Similarly, many women don't understand what adoptive mothers could be experiencing.  They assume that the adopting parent got to do it the easy way - without the pregnancy, the delivery, the nursing, and so on.  This can create a feeling of isolation for adoptive moms and make it difficult for them to share their feelings with other new moms.

Getting To Know The Baby

Most babies that are adopted don't come to the new family as soon as they are born.  This means that the parents receive a baby who is already weeks, months or years old.  While filling out all of the paperwork and dreaming about the new baby, most people have an image of this baby in their minds.  This image does not always mesh well with the reality of the living, breathing child in front of them.  Some children will have emotional scars, they may throw tantrums, resist eye contact, refuse to be hugged, and so on.  It's important to know what to expect when adopting and to be ready for the obstacles you may encounter.  These surprises can often cause adoptive parents to sink into depression, to worry that maybe they made the wrong decision, and to feel inadequate as new parents.

Table of Contents
1. Depression After Adoption
2. Post-adoption tips
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