My name is Donna. I'm 43 years old. I currently run a Yahoo group called
PostAdoptionDepression, and this is an invitation for adoptive parents
experiencing PADS to join our group. Never heard of PADS? (I'm not
surprised.) Not sure if you have it? Read on!
In 2000, when I adopted my daughter from Guatemala, during our trip and
within days of arriving home, I was in a quickly increasing state of
depression. I was in an almost constant state of anxiety that I could not
explain or understand. After all the paperwork, the wait, the fun of the
baby shower, the visit, arriving home at the airport to welcoming family,
finally bringing home my first child and holding her in my arms.......it
hit. I questioned everything: our decision to adopt, what kind of parent I
was, was I doing anything right, was the baby all right, etc. I wanted to go
back to work so I wouldn't have to deal with her. I wanted her to sleep and
dreaded her waking from naps. This was all interspersed with attacks of
love/anxiety/love/anxiety that was exhausting.
The worst part about it was feeling that I couldn't talk to anyone about my
feelings, that I had no right to complain. I was afraid I'd hear, "Well,
you're the one that wanted to adopt. You got what you asked for." And it's
embarrassing to admit things aren't all peachy-keen. How could you possibly
admit to someone that you think you don't love your new baby/toddler/child
and that you think you've made the biggest mistake of your life?
The second worst part was that no one, from homestudy agency to social
worker to placing agency, had ever even mentioned Post Adoption Depression
The third worst part is there are very, very few articles available anywhere
on this subject. I have already posted the links to all the articles I could
find on the internet on the home page of the group.
Thankfully, within a couple of weeks I had myself at the doctor's office,
bawling my eyes out and spilling my story. Yes, I was put on medication.
Yes, I felt like a complete failure. But within eight weeks of bringing my
little sweetie home, after my maternity leave was up, I dreaded going back
to work and leaving her! I believe my salvation was a combination of the
medication and being able to tell my doctor, who immediately understood, how
I was feeling. My PADS story continues with the adoption of my son at 10 months,
but that's for another time.
If any of this sounds like you, PostAdoptionDepression@yahoogroups.com is
the right place for you. It is a place to talk to others who have been
through or are going through what you are.
I can honestly say that I am over my PADS but feel that this group can truly
help those going through it. It does end. Things get better, and then they
get great. Feeling this way does NOT mean you don't love your children but
can interfere with bonding, and the guilt is enormous and self-destructive.
Let's help each other through it!
Admission to the group requires a short introduction with your adoption
story. At this time, mental health professionals, adoption agencies, social
workers, etc., are not permitted to join the group *at the request of the
membership.* These are very, very personal and emotional feelings, and the
members unanimously felt that they would restrict posting their true
feelings if these types of members were permitted. However, I do have
permission from some of the members to share excerpts of their postings,
without any identifying information, with professionals interested in PADS.
There was a recent article on RainbowKids by Harriet McCarthy, and it states
that according to a recent survey, 65 percent of adopting mothers experience
PADS, so you are not alone! Please join us.
Note from Guatadopt: if you have any questions on this, you can reach Donna at firstname.lastname@example.org
This year has been one of the wildest rollercoaster rides in the history of Guatemalan adoptions. So, with the incredible excitement of getting out of PGN and getting that pink slip, how could anyone possibly become depressed weeks later???
This year has been such an emotional rollercoaster!!!! I'm not a doctor and I don't play one on TV, but such highs and lows surely leave our chemical balance in a state of chaos!!! PADS (Post Adoption Depression Syndrome) is not a commonly heard term. Even the most informed parents find themselves shocked to fall victim to PADS mere weeks after returning with their precious baby. In fact, some form of depression, blue funk, panic or mental exhaustion plague over 50% of new adopting parents.
Scarier even still, the majority of parents tend to bottle it up because they are embarrassed! We've relied on our support groups DURING the process, now we feel ungrateful to mention this new hurdle in our lives! Moreover, our family and friends are often the last people to understand (they expect us to be skipping merrily along for the entire 18 or so years our children are with us!). Under the surface it threatens our health, our happiness and our relationships.
I feel that it is EXTREMELY important that ALL parents are aware of PADS. For many of us, this is more of a life-changing experience than we ever imagined (and we THOUGHT we were prepared for it). I am adding a PADS forum. If you are one of our new parents that find yourself in a blue funk, please seek the support of another parent that has been there. You may not want to publically discuss it on a forum, but at least find someone to talk to.
The first step is to be AWARE of it.