Wednesday, March 3, 2010

An interesting article about PADS

To learn more about Post Adoption Depression Syndrome, click on the link below:


We've adopted what?

Our friends have recently found out that they will finally meet their little girl in China this Spring. We are beyond thrilled for them. Even though this is a joyous time for them (and their friends and family), it also brings me to ask: "Now that we've adopted.... what do we do next?

I really feel that this should be a question that adoption agency's should be prepared to answer for their "alumni" families but in my experience they are not. How do you handle the first visit with a birth family? What should you say or not say? When will everything be finalized? How do you file your income taxes and claim your child without a social security number?, etc. The list could go on and doesn't matter if you were given an orientation and a packet of articles to read before you adopted. If you didn't read it then, you certainly aren't going to have time to read it once your baby is home !

After being told for almost 4 years to be "cautiously" optimistic about the entire process, I certainly did not feel that way during the wait nor did I feel that way when we finally brought our daughter home. I was everything but "optimistic".. there were too many unanswered questions and unknowns for me. I definitely felt "joy" but also felt a nagging sense of anxiety and depression which resulted in a loss of appetite, crying jags and major sleep deprivation. I don't know what I expected but my vision was definitely different from the reality of having a premature infant who had been in the NICU for 2 months living with us.

The truth is that no one can prepare you for the change that your life will undergo when you become a parent. We were told to get a good night's sleep the night before we brought our daughter home because it would be the last night we would probably sleep for the next 18 years ! What is so unique about the adoption experience is that one day you're not a parent and the next day you are an "insta-parent". This 'insta-parent" needs to know many of the same things that a biological parent does except there are more mounds of paperwork to deal with, there are birth family visits to coordinate, and there is also the constant wondering if you will ever bond with that little baby that you hold in your arms.If you also add on top of this list , the question of whether or not your child will have a permanent disability,your stress level has now gone from 0 to 100 in a short matter of time.

So this brings me to a topic that is not discussed very often (if at all) with prospective adoptive parents. That topic is Post Adoption Depression. Just as those that can produce a biological child, adoptive Moms and some Dads also can suffer from a form of Post Partum Depression named Post-Adoption Depression Syndrome of PADS. Although a lot it unknown about what the exact cause of this syndrome is, many believe that it is linked to a drop in estrogen after a child who is being placed for adoption comes home. This drop in estrogen can cause some of the symptoms that I mentioned above. If this affects you, it is not something that should be taken lightly. PADS can make you feel like there is no way that you could possibly be a "good" parent to your child. Fortunately, help is available in the form of a doctor, social worker or therapist. It is also always therapeutic (in my opinion) to talk to those that have experienced PADS first hand as well. As I have discovered throughout this journey, those that have experienced what you have make you feel less alone.

Hopefully, we will all become more educated on the post-adoption process as it warrants as much if not more attention than the adoption process itself.

Go out and have a great day !