Posts tagged ‘adoption’

May 3, 2013

Survivors Guilt

The news of Blossom’s reunification was difficult for a number of reasons.  Sad for the foster family, worried for Blossom and bio mom, anticipating hurt and confusion for Sprout, fear about loosing touch with Blossom, and then there was something else.  Something deep and powerful that I couldn’t quite put my finger on for a while.

Well, I know what it is now.  Survivor’s guilt.  Such a strange feeling…tucking my children into bed every night.  MY children.  The ones I get to keep forever and ever.  My happy ending come true.


But why? Why us?

Right time, right circumstances.

It so easily could have been us with the broken hearts and home. Instead, it was someone else this time and I can’t help but think of their pain when I look into the faces of my joy.

February 27, 2013


  • It has been more than a year since the children last saw their mom.  We’ve heard from her a couple times since, but not nearly the contact I was hoping for.  Sprout has mostly stopped asking when he’ll see her again…
  • Blossom celebrated her first birthday.  It was one year ago today that we learned of her and made a terribly hard decision.  Still not sure if it was the right one.  But on the other hand, she is still in foster care limbo with no indication of finalization any time soon…
January 11, 2013


It has been a long time since we’ve heard from bio mom and close to a year since we’ve seen her.  Sprout misses her deeply and I’m running out of feasible explanations.  Each day is another day he does not see her, and each day he grows more mature and gains more understanding.

For a while it was “she’s working on getting better.  maybe soon.”, then “she’s moving and will let us know when she’s all set up”, and now, “I don’t know”.

He’s smart enough to know that if she wanted to see him, she could.  But he’s not yet old enough to understand all that may be holding her back.

I don’t know why it’s so important to me to “cover” for her.  To keep her on the pedestal.  Even now I am browsing amazon for a replacement Sponge Bob pillow – the one he talks about missing all the time and hopes that mom will send to him some day soon.  It would bring him so much joy if I ordered a pillow and pretended it was from her.  But why?

I guess it boils down to not knowing what is easier…being left to wonder, or having all hope lost.

January 3, 2013

Post-Adoption Depression

Original here.

Go ahead and start typing “post adoption” into Google.  If yours is set up like mine, to give you short-cuts to the most popular search terms, your first option will be Post Adoption Depression.

Here. Here. Here. Here.

No shit.  This is a real thing.  I’ve spent years in the foster and adoption community.  I’ve completed more than 100 hours of training and plenty of reasearch on my own covering various adoption-related topics, yet I’ve never once seen or heard mention of this mysterious syndrome.  But there it is – if you go looking.

The term Post Adoption Depression Syndrome (PADS) was introduced by June Bond in a 1995 article for Roots and Wings Magazine.  She rocked the adoption world with the suggestion that the post-adoption period was a time in which parents experienced anything but the fulfilment of dreams come true.

The NY Times touched on the topic in their article Understanding Post-Adoption Depression.

One reason is that during the adoption process, prospective parents go to great lengths to prove they will be fit parents. After the adoption, some struggle with the fact that they aren’t the “superparents” they promised to be, Dr. Foli said.

Even the US Administration for Children and Families knows about it.  They describe the warning signs of Post Adoption Depression as:

  • Loss of interest in being around others
  • Often on the verge of tears
  • Difficulty with concentration or making decisions
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Difficulty sleeping or increased need for sleep
  • Significant weight change
  • Excessive guilt
  • Feelings of powerlessness
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • A sense of hopelessness
  • Loss of enjoyment
  • Irritability
  • Recurring thoughts about death or suicide

It had been creeping up on me.  Started just days after finalization with a looming sense of “now what?”.  Then the weeks fell into each other.  There were no more court dates.  Social workers stopped visiting.  No more deadlines or roller coasters or hoops to jump through.  It was just life.  And with the dust of 2+ years settling all around me, I didn’t quite recognize it any more.

This is what I had spent so long fighting for?

Dishes. Laundry. In and out of car seats. Temper tantrums. Crying (them and me).

Of course there was more.  There were smiles, tickles, cuddles, vacations, all of it – I had adopted 3 really wonderful kids.

But that’s not what I was seeing.  I saw crayon on my walls and scratches on the table.  Yet another meal to cook, serve, and eat standing up. I saw my wife passing me like a ship in the night as we juggled work and childcare schedules.

This? This is what I spent years of my life working for?

Verge of tears. Check.  Difficulty with Concentration. Check.  Irritability. Check. Fatigue. Check. Weight Change. Check. Loss of Enjoyment. Check. Hopelessness.  Worthlessness. GUILT. Check. Check. Check.

Then the panic attacks started.  It was the worst when I was home alone with the children.  That superstar mom our social worker described in her reports was nowhere to be seen and I found myself wondering how to summon the strength to meet their basic needs.  Dress, feed, kiss, play – these felt like monumental tasks.  How would I do it?  Why did they think I could do it?

My mind flirted with the idea of getting in my car and driving away.

It should have hit me the night I told my wife I wasn’t the mom “they” thought I was.  It should have hit me then, but all I could feel was the worthlessness.  I didn’t deserve these children.  Hell, I wasn’t even sure I wanted them. 

It wasn’t until weeks later, as my fingers hovered over the keyboard, that I first spoke the words to myself.  I typed “post adoption”…and it read my mind on the rest.  Relief and tears flooded over me to see that, yes, this is a thing.  I am not the only one.  PADS hasn’t quite gotten the research interest its sister syndrome PPD has gotten, but a 1999 study by the Eastern European Adoption Coalition found that 65% of adoptive mothers surveyed experience some type of post-adoption depression. 

Not the only one by a longshot. 

Thankfully my experience was more akin to the “baby blues” with the most acute symptoms lasting a very short time.  The crayon on the wall still gets to me – but it leaves me wanting a night out with the girls rather than an escape to Mexico.  Still, it was enough for me.  Enough for me to feel the call to action.  We must speak out for advocacy and awareness.  Adoptive parents – all parents – have enough obstacles in front of them, feeling alone in this type of darkness should not be one of them.

December 1, 2009

4 Weeks

Today marks 4 weeks that we’ve been licensed and waiting for a match.  As with everything I’ve experienced this past year, I never would have believed it would take this long for placement.  4 weeks with only one call is simply mind-blowing.  I can’t wrap my mind around the fact that it is December and our nursery is still empty.  Most of the time I’m not angry. Or even sad. Just shocked.

That being said, there is a development on the horizon that has softened the blow of the wait.  I’ve made mention to it in my password protected posts, but in the interest of keeping everyone updated, I’m excited to share that a baby might (emphasis on MIGHT) be joining our family soon.  Here’s the brief and vague, names-changed-to-protect-the-innocent summary:

An acquaintance of an acquaintance of an acquaintance knows a teen who is pregnant and is receiving services from the state.  “Receiving services” is the PC way of saying that the state is involved in ensuring the welfare of the unborn child and will be involved in the care of the baby once its born.  It’s unclear to me at this point why exactly the state is involved (generally they don’t get involved until after the child is born) – but, it may have to do with the mother testing positive for drug use, or planning to take advantage of the state’s Sa.fe Have.n Laws. 

In any event, it appears to be imminent that the State will be taking custody of the baby once its born.  In situations such as this, the social worker will often ask the bio mom if she knows of any family or friends who might be interested in taking custody of the child.  Well, we’ve been told that this bio mom has given our name as a potential placement.  And not only as a foster placement, but as a pre-adoptive placement…or so we’re told.

Wow.  If we weren’t so intimately familiar with the state and its unpredictability we would be jumping up and down, crying, and shouting our newly-expecting status from the rooftops.  I mean, this is an update of the most incredible kind.  But, we are intimately familiar with how “these things” can change at a moments notice.  So, we are proceeding with ever-so-guarded hearts and the knowledge that many little things must fall into place before we can rejoice this maybe, possible, might-be miracle.

So for now this is just a pipe dream (is dream even the word? so many things about this story are nothing short of a tragedy).  But even if nothing ever comes of this, the possibility is helping the days go by.

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October 21, 2009

Support the Adoption Tax Credit

Please help support the Adoption Tax Credit!

The full article can be found here:

The federal adoption tax credit has helped thousands of families say “Yes!” to adopting a child. It’s vital that this financial support stay in place to help families offset the costs and fees associated with adopting a child. Unfortunately, the tax credit is set to expire in December 2010 unless Congress votes to continue it. It’s time to take action!

The Adoption Tax Relief Guarantee Act of 2009, H.R. 213 , will keep the adoption tax credit from being repealed, and may make the tax relief measure permanent. It only takes a few minutes to email or call your senators and congressmen it’s important for them to hear from families impacted by the tax credit.

Currently, there are 76 State Senators and Representatives cosponsoring H.R. 213. However, there are 16 states that currently have no sponsors of this bill, including eight on the East Coast (one of the largest areas of the US with internationally adopted children). H.R. 213 is currently in committee, where most bills die. 

It only takes a few minutes to write, call, or email your representatives. Please do so today! A message as simple as “As your constituent, I urge you to support the adoption tax credit, HR 213” could be incredibly helpful.

Email Representative:

Email Senator:

Currently, the following states have NO cosponsors or commitments of support for H.R. 213: West Virginia, Delaware, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine, Idaho, Oregon, Nevada, Montana, South Dakota, New Mexico, Arkansas, and Hawaii.

 The two states offering the greatest support are Texas & Georgia with 6 cosponsors each, closely followed by Pennsylvania with 5.

Pass this on to friends and family, and ask for their help in writing, calling, and posting on blogs and facebook. To gain momentum, we must have an absolute ground swell of families lifting their voices together for the well-being of children throughout the world.