"Baby blues" don't just happen to mothers who have just given birth (and their husbands). Parents who adopt can also experience depression after their child comes home. They may have had unrealistic expectations of parenthood or are struggling with a lack of support from their family or friends. The adoption process can be so long and exhausting that perhaps they neglected to focus on what life would be like once a child was finally theirs.
While some adoptive parents describe a "love at first sight" experience with their child, that's not always the case. It may make you feel guilty, but it's normal to build that relationship slowly. It's also important to keep in mind that older children aren't likely to accept you immediately as their parent. If they were in foster care, an orphanage or otherwise had multiple caregivers, they will be especially slow to trust. Children who have been abused often have emotional and behavioral problems, and working through these will be challenging. Sometimes, it takes years to create a deep bond. You may find yourself with mixed emotions over your decision to adopt your child and feel anger toward the birth parents.
This is why it's important to build a support network before adopting. If you anticipate a lack of support from family or friends, seek out groups for adoptive parents. Some of them are very specific -- for parents who adopt from specific countries, for example. You may also need the services of therapists who are experienced in working with adopted families. If you decide that adoption is right for you, now's the time to make those decisions and begin your journey. Parenthood, no matter how you get there, is a truly amazing experience.
- Adamec, Christine. "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Adoption." Alpha Books. 2004.
- Adoptive Families Magazine. "The Adoption Guide." Adoptive Families. 2010. http://www.theadoptionguide.com/cost/articles/how-much-does-adoption-cost
- Allenburg, Chrissey. Personal interview via email. June 24, 2010.
- American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. "Attachment Reactive Disorder." AACP. 2010.http://www.aacap.org/cs/root/facts_for_families/reactive_attachment_disorder
- BabyCenter. "Parents Say: Things I wish I'd known about the adoption process before I started." BabyCenter.com. 2010.http://www.babycenter.com/0_parents-say-things-i-wish-id-known-about-the-adoption-proces_1381362.bc?page=1
- Child Welfare Information Agency. "How Many Children Were Adopted in 2000 and 2001." Child Welfare Information Agency. 2004.http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/s_adoptedhighlights.cfm
- Dakss, Brian. "Adoption 101." The Early Show. December 16, 2004.http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/12/16/earlyshow/living/parenting/main661398.shtml
- Dalrymple, Mary. "Million-Dollar Baby?" The Motley Fool. May 9, 2007.http://www.fool.com/personal-finance/general/2007/05/09/million-dollar-baby.aspx
- Adoption Freundlich, Madelyn and Sarah Gerstenzang. "Ethics and Adoptive Family Recruitment." Adoptalk. North American Council on Adoptable Children. Spring 2004. http://www.nacac.org/adoptalk/ethics.html
- Harris, Hannah. Personal Interview via Facebook Message. June 28, 2010.
- Holtan, Barbara. "Are you ready to adopt?" Babycenter.com. 2010.http://www.babycenter.com/0_are-you-ready-to-adopt_1372535.bc
- Humphreys, Kimberly. "Mental health of adopted children: risks and protective factors." AboutKidsHealth. January 16, 2009.http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/News/Mental-health-of-adopted-children-risks-and-protective-factors.aspx?articleID=13361&categoryID=news-poh5
- Isaacs, Bekah. Personal interview via email. June 25, 2010.
- PBS. "Precious Cargo: Transracial Adoption." ITVS. 2010.http://www.pbs.org/itvs/preciouscargo/babylift1.html
- Purdue University. "The 'blues' can surprise even adoptive parents." ScienceDaily. April 1, 2010. http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2010/03/100331141013.htm
- Shapiro, Connie. "Troubled Adoptions: Why? What to Do?" Psychology Today. April 29, 2010. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/when-youre-not-expecting/201004/troubled-adoptions-why-what-do
- Wolff, Jana. "You Have to be Perfect to Adopt…and Other Myths." Adoptive Families Magazine. 2010. http://www.adoptivefamilies.com/articles.php?aid=169
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