“From the first day I received foster care placement of my son, then three months old, I sang him ‘You are My Sunshine’ constantly. But I always skipped over the ‘Please don’t take my sunshine away’ part. I’d fallen in love with him the moment our eyes met, and the thought of letting him go was devastating. But it wasn’t about me. And for his sake, I wished for a happy healthy reunification. But it just wasn’t meant to be. A couple of years passed and I was asked if I’d be willing to adopt. A couple more years passed, and we had an adoption date. I remember every detail of that day. He wore little cuffed corduroys, an oxford shirt, and suede wingtips. I remember family and friends with balloons and cameras at the ready. I remember the judge letting him bang the gavel to finalize his own adoption.
“I remember walking out of Children’s Court on what should have been the happiest day of my life feeling the most unexpected profound sadness.
“How could everyone around us be celebrating? Didn’t they understand the depth of his loss? He no longer “legally” had siblings. His ties to his birth family have been severed. What must they be feeling today? And who could possibly understand the grief I’m feeling?”
Post Adoption Depression. Surely such a thing can’t exist for new adoptive parents? The finalization of an adoption is the happy ending to what has often been a lengthy, nerve-wracking, emotional roller coaster ride. What possible reason could there be to be depressed when it finally ends?
There are a number of reasons that new parents might experience post-adoption depression, including:
- Adoption may highlight unresolved fertility issues
- You may not feel an immediate bond with your child, as you expected
- The reality of parenting may not match expectations as you’d imagined them
- You’ve experienced a major life change that requires an adjustment period
- You may have a relationship with the birth family and cannot help but feel for their loss, even if they have voluntarily relinquished parental rights
Many new adoptive parents might feel reluctant to reach out for help, because most have spent a great deal of time and energy convincing their adoption worker what a great home they can provide for a child. A big step in coping with post-adoption depression is knowing you are not alone and seeking out help. Parenting is hard, for ANY parent. It rarely comes as “naturally” as we imagine it would, for both mothers and fathers.
Some Suggestions for How to Feel Better
- Connect with a local adoption support group
- Reach out to a therapist who specializes in adoption issues
- Ask your case worker for information regarding post-adoption resources
- Check out online adoption forums, groups, and chat boards
- Join a weekly play group with other adoptive families
Please know that you don’t have to go through your journey along. The Coalition for Children, Youth & Families is here to help and support you and your whole family. For more information on post-adoption and other resources, please contact us.
It’s World Wide Wednesday! Here’s what’s news in the world of foster care and adoption around the web:
- Youth in Foster Care Share Their School Experiences. In 12 fast-paced pages, this report shares the stories of 10 young people who faced constant hurdles and havoc while trying to advance their education in foster care.
- The Post-Adoption Life: Supporting Adoptees, Birth Parents, and Families After Adoption. It’s important to recognize that adoption is a lifelong experience, and acknowledge the challenges for many of those touched by it. In the December 2014 issue of NCFA’s Adoption Advocate, authors Kris Faasse, Sarah Horton Bobo, and Angela Magnuson outline some of the ways that adoption service providers can help adoptees, adoptive family members, and birth family members find and remain connected to vital, long-term support within the broader adoption community.
- You Don’t Have to Adopt to Make a Huge Impact on the Life of a Foster Child. (Read the article.)
- The Tax Realities of Adoption. While the children adopted in 2014 have brought joy to their adoptive families, they have also brought new tax realities for them. Here are some often asked questions about the Adoption Credit on federal income taxes.
Have news you’d like to share? Please post in our comments!
It’s World Wide Wednesday! Here’s what’s happening the world of foster care and adoption around the web:
- Five Practical Steps Foster Parents Can Take in a Crisis: In Rhonda Sciortino’s work of protecting child welfare organizations over the past 25 years, she’s had the pleasure of meeting many wonderful people who are committed to helping good child caring providers. One such person is an attorney who has spent the last twenty years focusing on defending good foster parents following a tragedy or allegation. Gina Lacagnina, Esq. is with the law firm Neil, Dymott, Frank, McFall & Trexler in San Diego. Here is Gina’s best advice for foster parents.
- Understanding Single Parent Adoption: With the number of adoptions by single men and women increasing over the past 10 years, advocates from A Love Beyond Borders produced a publication that addresses the rewards and challenges of single parent adoption.
Single Parent Adoption: An Adoption Education Publication asserts that single parents ought to be considered by adoption agencies and birth mothers for their character, strength, and potential parenting capacity, rather than by their marital status. Statistically, domestic adoptions tend to favor couples over singles for placement, which leads many singles to opt for international adoption over domestic. The publication contests the underlying assumption that “all married couples will stay married, […] and all singles will forever remain single” and suggests that empathy for single persons’ need to nurture can enhance the potential for successful adoption for children.
Factsheet on Child Trauma: The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) released a factsheet for child welfare and related professionals and the public with information about child traumatic stress. The factsheet defines child traumatic stress as the exposure to traumatic events. The resource also describes the consequences of child trauma and indicates that some children may not experience traumatic stress after a traumatic event; however, some children may experience significant reactions that interfere with their daily life and their ability to function or interact with others. Additional information details the extent of resources the NCTSN offers through its website, which include products, factsheets, training opportunities, and access to the latest research and resources on child traumatic stress.
Videos from the Attachment & Bonding Center: The Attachment and Bonding Center of Ohio emphasizes fostering connections between adopted children and their parents. The center provides a variety of resources to support families, including the following video talks:
- Strengthen Your Forever Family: A Post-Adoption Guide, Adopting a child can be the most rewarding and joyful event of your life. It can also bring a unique set of challenges. Children who are adopted — regardless of their age at adoption or the type of adoption — may need help with behavioral, emotional, or developmental issues.
As an adoptive parent, you have many resources you can rely on to help give your child the opportunity to thrive. This guide offers an overview of the post-adoption resources you may need and how to access them.
Have news you’d like to share? Please post in our comments!
Did you and your family receive a Home to Stay visit as part of the Jockey Being Family program in 2013? Did you and your children attend a Pack Party at the Coalition office this past year? If so, please share your thoughts with us!
We’d like to invite all families who received a Home to Stay visit or participated in a Home to Stay back pack party in 2013 to fill out a survey about the value and effectiveness of the Home to Stay™ program funded by Jockey Being Family®.
For families receiving a visit in Southeastern Wisconsin* or Milwaukee County, please click here.
For families receiving a visit in the remainder of state# please click here.
Your participation is very much appreciated – thank you!
*Southeastern Wisconsin includes the following counties: Jefferson, Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Walworth, Washington, and Waukesha.
#The Post Adoption Resource Centers across Wisconsin include: Catholic Charities – Diocese of La Crosse, Catholic Charities – Diocese of Madison, and Family Services of Northeast Wisconsin.