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The Fantasy of Post-Adoption Bliss

After all you endure on the adoption journey, you’d expect a little bliss to be at the end. Not always. You definitely deserve to feel happy, but the reality may be that you’re left feeling sad, under-prepared, and exhausted. While every person is unique, there are some general themes in the emotional ups and downs of adoption. This is common. How do you overcome post-adoption depression?

We hear a lot about Postpartum Depression, but we don’t often hear about depression following a lengthy adoption journey. Like a pregnancy, adoption is stressful, it’s just stressful in different ways. Entering an adoption journey can create unrealistic expectations, and when those expectations don’t meet reality, the feeling of failure can set in. 

If you start to feel down in the days after your adoption is finalized, don’t feel shame. Here are a few steps you can take to help yourself and regain emotional balance:

  • Find a therapist. Perhaps look for one with experience in adoption, parenting, or depression. A therapist can help you understand what you’re feeling, and give you the tools you need to feel better, more grounded, and confident in your parenting journey. 
  • Join an adoption support group. Often when someone feels depressed, they feel they are totally alone. In joining a group who has experience with this situation, it’s more likely you will find someone going through the same thing. Community is key, and a powerful tool for navigating the highs and lows of being a new parent.
  • Be open and honest with family and friends. Don’t be afraid to lean on your support system. Communicate how you’re feeling and let them help. 
  • Take care of yourself. Make sure that you are eating, sleeping, and exercising. Take time out to do something you enjoy. Remember that taking care of yourself is taking care of your child — it has to start with you. And the better your mental, emotional, and physical health, the stronger you can be as a supportive, loving parent. 

For a deeper look into the struggle with post-adoption depression, check out Amy Rogers Nazarov’s story of her journey after adoption