International Spotlight: India

 

We have been working with India for a little over 30 years now. Nightlight’s India program first began in Missouri with Love Basket Adoptions in 1984. Love Basket merged with Nightlight in 2015 and brought this wonderful program along with them. India is a Hague country, and we work directly with CARA (Central Adoption Resource Authority), that oversees all adoptions in India.

Our India program has continually grown over the years and has successfully found many loving families for waiting children in India. Since our India program first started, we have been able to welcome around 400 children into their forever families here in the U.S.

Typical Ages, Wait Times, and Special Needs

Both male and female children are available for adoption in our India program. Most of the children that we see available from India are around ages 2-15 years old with special needs. India also has older sibling groups available, as well as children with no special or medical needs 8 years and older.

Families adopting from India are able to be matched with a child with special needs from India’s Waiting Child Portal. Families adopting a waiting child with special needs, can be matched in around 6-12 months after being registered with CARA. An additional option for families that have NRI status (Non-resident Indian) or OCI status (Overseas Citizen of India), is to wait for a referral from CARA of a child with no special needs; however, prospective adoptive parents that are open to special needs will have a much shorter wait time.

Typical special needs can vary from minor to severe; however, many are manageable with proper medical treatment. Some common special needs we see in the children placed from India include: vision and hearing issues (including deafness and blindness), heart conditions of varying degrees, developmental delays, thalassemia, cleft lip and/or palate, hydrocephalus, and malformed and/or missing digits/limbs. Families that are open to these types of needs would be a great fit for adopting from India. In most cases, we see significant improvements in children with special needs once they are able to receive medical treatment and live in a healthy environment.

Recent Matches

So far this year, Nightlight has found new forever families for 6 children! In addition to this, 9 families were able to return home with their children this year. Below are the ages and medical conditions of children recently placed from India:

  • 3 year old girl: microcephaly
  • 2 year old girl: congenital deformity of feet
  • 5 year old boy: leg spasticity & dystonia
  • 3 year old girl: birth hypoxia
  • 8 year old girl: no special needs
  • 3 year old boy: low birth weight, premature
  • 9 year old boy: no special needs
  • 4 year old girl: cerebral palsy

Grant Opportunity

For families that apply to our India program in the month of October, Nightlight will waive their $500 application fee! Applications must be submitted by October 31st, 2022.

If you are interested in adopting from India or hearing more about our program, please reach out to Kate Resh at kate.resh@nightlight.org . You can also find more information on our India Program webpage.

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

 

October is recognized as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, with the aim to honor the millions of families who have experienced loss of children through miscarriage, stillbirth, termination for medical reasons, or infant death.

Historically, such a loss either was not recognized as significant or was just one of those things we did not talk about, even though an early miscarriage represents a profound loss for hopeful parents. It is important not only for our society to recognize and give voice to this type of loss, but also for those who have experienced it to allow themselves to grieve and to honor the children they have lost.

In 1988, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed October as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, stating, “When a child loses his parent, they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses her or his partner, they are called a widow or widower. When parents lose their child, there isn’t a word to describe them.”

Here are some small things you can do to honor those who have lost pregnancies and infants. Even if you have not experienced this kind of loss, anyone can participate.

  • Participate in the International Wave of Light campaign by lighting a candle at 7 p.m. (your local time) on October 15. You can share photos on social media platforms using the hashtags #waveoflight, #waveoflight2022
  • Join a walk or other remembrance activity on October 15 (Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Remembrance Day).
  • Help spread awareness through social media.
  • Ask your local government to recognize and officially proclaim October 15 Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.
  • Wear a pink and/or blue ribbon, or tie pink and blue ribbons around trees.
  • Join a local ministry or church support group for grieving families or those facing infertility.

Many families have experienced joy after pregnancy or infant loss through the miracle of embryo adoption through the Snowflakes Embryo Adoption Program! Visit Snowflakes.org to learn more.

Prioritizing Self-Care During the Adoption Process

 

Self-care. This has become a frequent buzzword in our society. It is so wonderful to take some time for yourself for a change; to treat yourself to a bubble bath, massage, pedicure, or even a large fry at the drive through to satisfy that junk food craving. With the pandemic and the more stressful state of our country, we did better collectively at acknowledging the need to prioritize our self-care.

Let’s face it—slowing down to actually put yourself first, can be a lot more difficult than it sounds. Especially when you are on the journey of adoption.

Whether you are adopting your child from foster care, an international program, or a set of embryos, the adoption process can be stressful for all involved. You become so wrapped up in squaring everything away, filling out the paperwork, checking things off the list, and all the emotions to process that you forget about yourself. There is a multitude of excuses we use:

                “My future child is more important”

                “Making sure that this embryo sticks are more important”

                “Making sure my child has a smooth transition is more important”

                “Having a spotless home for the home visit is more important”

You are part of the family that this child is joining. If you are running yourself ragged, your stress levels are high, and your relationship with your spouse is on edge, the process will become rocky. In addition, if these issues are unresolved before the child arrives, it could only get worse. Perhaps you will start to feel very alone and secluded on your journey while forgetting that your spouse is going through this with you. You may even lose sight of why you started this journey in the first place—to grow your family. This is supposed to be an exciting time, right?

During your journey, take some time to step back from the process to care for yourself. Get the excitement back. Go on a date with your spouse. Take a weekend road trip to the mountains. Go out for ice cream after dinner. Take a walk with your spouse around the park. Pay attention to your emotional state and get support where it is needed from a friend or therapist.

The journey to adoption in any form can be stressful. Do not add to it by not taking the necessary steps to take care of yourself. It will be much easier on you, your child, and can even help your reaction to certain situations throughout the process. Take some steps back when you are feeling overwhelmed, and take care of yourself. After all, you cannot pour into others when your own cup is empty.

7 Myths and Misconceptions about Foster Care

 

There are many myths that exist when it relates to foster care. Many of these myths and misconceptions may either prevent someone from becoming a foster parent or even act as barriers to a successful foster parenting journey.

 

Myth 1: There are many children under age 5 awaiting a foster family.

  • Children under the age of 5 represent less than 30% of the children in foster care, while children under the age of 1 only represent about 7% of kids in care. It is critical to keep in mind that oftentimes, those young children are also part of a larger sibling group with older siblings who may be elementary age or teenagers. The average age of a child in care is 8.

 

Myth 2: I can’t be a foster parent because I will get too attached.

  • Though this can be a difficult reality for a foster family, the purpose of foster care is to get attached to the foster children entering the home. That is what these children desperately need. However, that does not negate the significant loss that foster parents will feel once foster children are reunified with their families. It is a heavy burden, one that is challenging and emotional to navigate during a family’s fostering journey. It is almost important to note, however, that foster children have experienced significant loss and trauma, to a degree that a child, no matter the age, ever should. As a society, it is our responsibility to care for the most vulnerable of our population and fulfill the needs of these children during this time. If we as mature, stable adults can step in so that they experience a little less loss and trauma, why wouldn’t we?

 

Myth 3: Adoption is the primary permanency goal in foster care.

  • The primary goal of foster care is for children to be reunited with their birth families. About 50% of children who enter foster care will return home to their families, while another 25% of children exit foster care with the permanency outcome of adoption.

 

Myth 4: All foster children have experienced physical and sexual abuse.

  • Neglect is the highest reason for entry into foster care. Parental substance abuse is the second highest percentage reason for entry into care. It is important to remember, however, that children enter foster care at no fault of their own, and each deserves love, safety, and stability, no matter the reason they enter care.

 

Myth 5: The problem is too big. I can’t make a difference.

  • Foster care is a major crisis in the United States. It cannot be fixed by one foster family. However, the impact that a foster family will have on each child placed in the home has the potential to influence generations to come. It takes one family at a time to show children from hard places what it means to be unconditionally loved and supported.

 

Myth 6: Foster children will be grateful to be in your home.

  • After all, you went through all sorts of paperwork, appointments, interviews, and phone calls to become a foster parent. You sacrifice so much to be a foster parent. Imagine, though, what it must feel like as a child in foster care – you have been removed, involuntarily, from your family. You may not understand why. You have to change schools; you don’t know if you will see your siblings or pets again; the new home smells different; you have new siblings; you miss your teacher and your classmates; and instead of sleeping on the top bunk, you are now stuck on the bottom bunk. The inherent trauma of entering foster care is significant, and it is critical for foster parents to remember that it is not a responsibility of the child to be grateful to be in a safe and loving home.

 

Myth 7: Working alongside the child’s biological family is too hard.

  • Children in foster care oftentimes have a strong desire to be reunited with their families. While partnering with the biological family can be challenging and complex, it is also deeply rewarding and important for the child in foster care. The child, no matter the permanency outcome, has a deep connection with his/her family, and any negative feelings associated with reunification are oftentimes sensed by the foster child. If something is wrong with their birth family, isn’t that the case for them too? They’re related, aren’t they? Honoring and loving a child’s biological family is a way to also love the foster child in the home. In addition, many parents of children in care were also in foster care themselves and experienced trauma as well.

 

All data was provided by KIDS COUNT Data Center. If you are interested in becoming a foster parent, please visit our Foster Care page here.

Country Spotlight: Taiwan

 

Nightlight’s current Taiwan program has been operating since 2017 and has placed 12 children to date. It is a smaller program and we work with Chung Yi Social Welfare foundation. They are licensed by Taiwan’s central adoption authority and operate ethically, following all Hague, US, and Taiwan standards for care. Taiwan has a strong social services system and the majority of the children available are placed with foster families. Once in care, children received regular evaluations and medical and early intervention services before being adopted. Chung Yi does an excellent job of preparing children for adoption, which includes talking with the children about their future family and life in a new country, as well as preparing life books for them.

 

Most families in our program adopt waiting children, but families can also register for the blind referral process and wait to be matched with a child based on their preferences. To be successfully matched, families should be open to children up to at least the age of 5, with mild special needs, such as developmental delays, and children with a birth parent history of alcohol and substance abuse. Depending on each family’s preferences, the wait time to receive a referral can range from about 6 to 24 months. Once a family is officially matched, the process in Taiwan will take 12 to 18 months to complete.

 

The wait time for a referral can be significantly shortened if a family chooses to pursue adopting a waiting child. These are children who have all necessarily investigations and paperwork complete and are only waiting to find their forever family. Some examples of current waiting children available for adoption are:

10-year-old Boy – No special needs

10-year-old Boy – Vision impairment

9-year-old Boy – Developmental delays, mild intellectual disability

8-year-old Boy – Cognitive and speech delays, mild intellectual disability

8-year-old Boy – Mild cognitive delays, hypothyroidism

7-year-old Boy – No special needs

6-year-old Boy – Developmental delays

5-year-old Boy – Speech and motor delays, vision impairment, epilepsy with no current symptoms

5-year-old Boy – Mild speech and motor delays, Epilepsy (fully stabilized with medication)

3-year-old Girl – Comprehensive developmental delays, vision impairment

 

Child profiles can viewed on Nightlight’s Adoption Bridge website. If you are interested in learning more about these children, you can inquire to view their full file. You can learn more about Nightlight’s Taiwan Program on our website or by contacting Liana Stoddart at liana@nightlight.org.

Five Things to Know When Donating Embryos

 

So, you have decided to take the plunge and donate your embryos to another family! You may think the process is simple: Speak with a representative, sign some papers, and then you are done! There is so much more to the embryo donation process then some families initially realize.

Here are the top five things you should be prepared for when starting the embryo donation process:

1) You do have a choice in which embryo donation programs you work with, but not all embryo adoption or donation programs are the same.

With most embryo donation programs, you do not have a say in who receives your embryos, and because many clinics place anonymously, you will have no idea if you (or your child!) will cross paths with the baby who was born from those embryos. Snowflakes Embryo Adoption not only allows you to know whom the embryos were placed with, but also allows you the opportunity to choose the family yourself!

2) Many clinic donation programs will not take embryos that are more than five years old.

Embryos that are more than five years old typically have older protocols for thawing and transferring embryos. Consequently, many clinics and adoptive families opt not to use “older” embryos for family building. Currently, Snowflakes has adopting families who are willing to be placed with these embryos, with the help of our preferred partner clinics.

3) If you have less than three embryos, it is likely there is a cost to donate.

It costs twice as much to donate two embryos as it does to donate four embryos. When you donate, there are multiple logistics to consider, like legal paperwork, FDA donor panels, etc. In addition, the cost of administration, support, and storage. Some embryo adoption or donation programs charge you for all the fees that are incurred, while others may just need to offset some of the cost. But be aware, while you might find a program that has no fee to donate, you may also discover they do not give you much say in the donation process either.

4) You are responsible for storage and transportation costs of your embryos, until you sign the contract to release them to someone else.

United States law still regards embryos that exist outside the womb as property. Therefore, as these embryos are viewed as your property, you are responsible for storing and transporting them. This can become quite costly over time if it is taking time to find the right family for your embryos. As a result, one of the most popular questions asked is, “Is there a less expensive place I could store my embryos?” Yes! Moving your embryos to a storage facility is highly recommended. You can speak with a Snowflakes representative for more information on how to get the process started!

5) The Snowflakes program empowers placing families with confidence in choosing life for their remaining embryos.

The term “Snowflakes” was coined by Nightlight in reference to embryos–because each one is unique and frozen in time. For over 25 years, Nightlight and Snowflakes has been empowering placing families with confidence when choosing life for their remaining embryos.  For more information on donating embryos through the Snowflakes program, call our Colorado office at 970-578-9700, or visit snowflakes.org.

 

By: Jen Grams

Prayers for Those Touched By Adoption

 

Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

Mark 11:24

 

Prayer is an essential part of an adoption journey, as the adoption process requires courage and trust in the Lord every step of the way. The adoption process can be long, scary, and full of ups and downs for all those involved— adoptees, potential adoptive parents, and expectant and birth parents.

Not everyone feels led to adopt or has a personal connection to adoption, but everyone can pray for those involved in adoption. If you are pursuing adoption or have been touched by adoption, share these words with your friends and family and have them join you in prayer. There is so much power in prayer.

 

Heavenly Father,

Bless all expectant mothers who are placing their children for adoption and who may also be young and afraid. They love their children so much that they are willing to place them with a loving family. Bless, too, all the women who already have shown the sacrificial nature of a mother’s love in making adoption plans for their children. Give them all your courage and your peace, through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

 

Dear Jesus,

In word and sacrament, you make known the depth of your love for each person.  Never let us forget the tender compassion and mercy which you have shown and continue to show to us.  Instill in our hearts deep love for those who suffer, and help us reflect the face of the Father’s mercy. May the family members of each child to be placed for adoption lovingly support his or her mother as she chooses love and life. And may these family members themselves find continued support in the kindness and encouragement of others. Give to all wisdom and understanding, and may we be instruments of your grace.

Amen.

 

Lord Jesus,

You saw in the innocence of children. the attributes which make us worthy of heaven— trust, joy, humility, obedience and faithfulness. Bless all children who are awaiting adoption. They seek love—may they find it in loving parents. They seek stability—may they find a home rooted in faith. They seek acceptance—may their gifts be recognized and nurtured. And may they always know your steadfast love for them and the true joy of loving you.

Amen.

 

Heavenly Father,

We are all your adopted children, not by flesh or by desire, but through the power of the incarnation of your most beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Bless those children who have been adopted into new families, that they may experience the love that you have shown us which surpasses even the love of a mother for her child. In the difficult transitions and hardships that might beset them in their struggle for belonging, give every adopted child the grace to embrace their new family and trust in your paternal care for them, which lasts forever. Grant this through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

 

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,

You are one God, living in a relationship of love. When Christ became Man, you shared that divine love with the human race, forever wedding earth to heaven. Send your blessings upon all who nurture children who have been adopted. Give them generous and understanding hearts. Give us all a spirit of understanding and welcome so that all peoples of every nation, race, and tongue may live together peacefully as members of your family. Grant this through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

 

Source: https://www.usccb.org/

What to do While You Wait

 

After what may have felt like a long and tedious paperwork process you have made it to matching! Have you ever heard the phrase “hurry up and wait”? Now that you have hurried through paperwork and completed everything on your end it’s time for your Foster Care Advocate to work on your behalf. For some families, placement can happen within days of certification, but for others, the wait time can feel impossibly long.  We encourage you to use the time of waiting to continue to prepare your minds, homes and hearts for the kiddos that will one day call it “home” even if just for a while. Here are some tips or suggestions on how to use the time of waiting to its full potential!

  1. Continue to Educate Yourselves –there are so many incredible training out there that are geared towards helping you parent children from foster care. Learn from the experiences of those that have gone before you by reading their stories, watching their talks, and engaging in training to help you be prepared. This is also a great time to get ahead on your annual training hours so that when there are extra schedules to accommodate after placement you don’t fall behind. One specific training that would be great to participate in is TBRI (Trust-Based Relational Interventions). Taking an in-person TBRI class will provide you will so many practical tools that when you find yourself needing to use those techniques later on you are ready to jump into action. If you want more specific training ideas reach out to your Foster Care Advocate to see what they suggest!
  2. Prepare other Kids in the Home – adding children to your home is a big change for everyone. If you have littles in the home they may have a hard time understanding why someone new is sleeping down the hall, calling you mom and dad, and bringing new dynamics to your home. Taking the time to help your children understand why you are welcoming new children into the home, and what their role is as a foster sibling can help empower them and help them feel safe and secure when the big changes come. Build intentional time into your schedules with your children so that it can continue after placement and give them a consistent time to connect with you and talk as they process change.
  3. Get connected to a Therapist – We encourage our families to seek out therapeutic services for themselves as the Fostering process is a lot to process! Also, it helps normalize therapy for the children and youth in your home that will need to their own therapist. Getting connected and building a relationship with a therapist before placement will allow them to get to know you and then better serve you when there are times of difficulty in the placement.  This doesn’t have to be super frequent, but having this relationship established is super beneficial!
  4. Join a Support Group – it truly does take a village! Find a group of people to walk through this journey with. If you need help locating a support group in your area ask your Foster Care Advocate for help. Lots of times there are churches that host, and if not there may be specific ones offered by Foster Care groups in your area.
  5. Stay in Communication with your Advocate – not only will Nightlight need to know about any changes in your home or circumstances, but we also desire to serve you even in the waiting. Maintaining communication will help us share updates with you as well regarding the kinds of placements are needed and also what you can do to serve the children and youth in care.

The time of waiting before placement can feel discouraging, but it can be such a sweet time of preparation for everyone in your home and in your support system.  If you are in that time of waiting and wanting support reach out to your Foster Care Advocate to see what you could do to take advantage of this time.

Signs of Post Adoption Depression

 

New adoptive parents never expect to feel anything but happiness, however, depression symptoms may occur in as many as 65% of adoptive parents after adopting their children.

What you are experiencing is natural. Though the rewards and joys of parenting are huge, the challenges can be draining, confusing, and…depressing.

Loss is a catalyst for depression. Post Adoption Depression (PAD) is a response to new experiences and to losses — from feelings of let-down, to the hard work of meeting an adopted baby’s special needs, to the physical and emotional strain of not being prepared for any of the above.

Unlike full-blown post adoption depression syndrome (PADS), in which overwhelming despair, panic, a sense of disconnection from your child, and sometimes even frightening feelings and thoughts occur, the sadness of post adoption blues is more subtle, and alternates with, or exists right next to, truly positive feelings about parenting. These lighter shades of post adoption blues, which are much more common than PADS, can be just as isolating. After all, your dream has come true! Any tinge of guilt, sadness, shame, or dissatisfaction during what is supposed to be a joyous time is unexpected, and makes the blues hard to talk about.

Many of the suggestions recommended to lessen a child’s trauma as she transitions to her new family could actually contribute to your feelings of isolation and depression. Allowing yourself to seek support and communication with other adults is vital to your emotional health. Modify how you think about your new family, and enlist your friends and relatives.

Risk Factors of Post Adoption Depression in Adoptive Parents

There are many risk factors that lead to the development of depression in adoptive parents after their child comes into their home.

Adoptive parents place a lot of pressure on themselves, especially if their child may have come from a difficult background. The extra pressure leads to extra stress and unrealistic expectations. These emotions become feelings of shame and guilt if the parents cannot live up to their idealized view of parenthood.

This pressure, combined with the fact that many adoptive parents do not form an immediate bond with their child, creates a recipe for depression.

Other risk factors that may lead to post adoption depression include:

  • Feeling isolated from peers
  • Society’s attitude toward adoptive parents over biological parents
  • A lack of boundaries between the child and the birth parents
  • Exhaustion from a rigorous adoption process and preparation for the child to arrive
  • Not having support from the rest of the family or friends

The factors faced by adoptive parents make it as likely for adoptive mothers to develop post adoption depression as birth mothers are to develop PPD.

Signs of Trouble

Maybe you are just having a bad day or maybe your depression is larger.  If you answer yes to a number of the questions below, you should discuss your feelings with a professional.  If you answer “yes” to the last question, get help immediately!

In the past few weeks, have you experienced any of the following:

  • Loss of interest in being around other people?
  • Always on the verge of tears?
  • Difficulty concentrating – unable to make decisions?
  • General fatigue or loss of energy?
  • Difficulty sleeping or an increased need for sleep?
  • Significant weight gain or loss?
  • Excessive or inappropriate guilt?
  • Feelings of worthlessness?
  • Feelings of powerlessness?
  • Feelings of hopelessness?
  • Loss of enjoyment in things?
  • Irritability?
  • Recurring thoughts about death or suicide?

Take Care of Yourself – and your Child

If you think you may be experiencing Post Adoption Blues or PADS, do not try to tough it out. Instead, take extra-good care of yourself, as you stay attuned to your new baby’s needs. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Mind your health. Go easy on yourself.  You making a huge transition – often from a prolonged state of wanting a baby to the reality of becoming a parent.  Take naps, eat thoughtfully (more fresh fruit and vegetables, less caffeine and sugar), go for walks, and cut back on outside obligations when possible. Caring for your body will decrease the negative effects of depression and stress.
  2. Ask for support. Do not expect yourself to be a perfect parent!  Accept the fact that, even though you wanted this baby, parenting is difficult and there are times when you will be exhausted.  Ask for help when you need it.  Allow friends or family members to help you with household chores, meals and some baby care.
  3. Strategize. Discuss with your spouse, who is going to perform which duties and when.  Review your agreements and allow for change.  Talk about fatigue and about taking care of each other.  Keep the lines of communication open to discuss sex, and communicate your interest and disinterest in a loving fashion.  Stress, depression and a high-needs baby can strain any relationship.  If you can afford it, consider hiring someone to clean your home or mow your lawn.  Simplify your life so you can devote your attention to your family.
  4. Take care of you. Build in some time away from your baby to relax and clear your mind. Breathing deeply and getting quiet will ease stress. When you are tired, take a nap, take the phone off the hook, and do not feel obligated to answer the door.  Do not feel guilty about lessening your responsibilities or decreasing your volunteer hours.  If you are in a position to do so, quit your job or work part-time, if that is what you want to do.
  5. Take control of visitors. Limit your visitors to one or two at a time and schedule them at your convenience.  If you need adult interaction, phone and friend and invite them to visit and ask them to pick up some take-out on the way over.  It may also be necessary to help your family and friends to understand adoption.
  6. Give yourself and your child time. Attachment and bonding occur in real time, not instantaneously, as you may have imagined.  Not all mothers — adoptive or birth — have an instant connection with their babies. Do not be hard on yourself if you do not feel that “magic bond.” But remember that withholding physical affection can delay a child’s development, so keep cuddling your child to benefit both of you.  Focus on being a parent one step at a time.  Soon enough it will feel more natural.
  7. If you have another child, make a point of spending some time alone with each child. Arrange an outing or other plans for your older child, so you can have some private time with the baby.  Have someone watch the baby while you connect with your older child.  Otherwise, you may start to feel you are not giving either child your full attention.
  8. Learn about grief. Feelings of grief ebb and flow.  It is processed in bits and pieces and tends to resurface at various points in the life cycle.  You will learn to manage the variation of these feelings.  Understand that you can love your baby and feel sad at the same time.  Experiencing more than one emotion at a time is a normal human experience.  Sadness does not mean you are unhappy about the adoption of your child.  You will find that many other adoptive parents have had these same feelings.
  9. Connect with other adoptive parents. They will get it!  Talking to friends and family may help a little but they will not understand the issues you are experiencing.  Other adoptive parents will make you feel like your experiences are normal and okay.  Consider joining an adoptive parent group for support and understanding.
  10. Seek professional help.If self-help methods do not work and post adoption blues or depression persists, ask your physician and/or your adoption social worker for a referral to a qualified mental-health professional who understands concerns surrounding adoption.  Sometimes, seeking a few sessions with an adoptive-savvy counseling are all you need to work through any uncomfortable feelings you may be experiencing.

Sometimes an attitude shift is all it takes to make a difficult situation manageable, but sometimes post adoption depression requires outside help. Finding innovative ways to meet your own needs, while giving precedence to your child’s, is a day-to-day balancing act that requires thought and action. Being aware of PAD (and seeking help quickly) will mitigate the effect that baby shock can have on you, and will give you the freedom to enjoy the child you have forever dreamed of parenting.

Treatment for Post Adoption Depression

Treatment for post adoption depression is similar to any other kind of postpartum depression treatment.  A combination of medication, such as antidepressants, and therapy will help ease the symptoms of postpartum depression in adoptive parents.

Additional treatments may include counseling, support groups or online forums.  These options help you connect with other adoptive parents going through similar experiences.  Work with your doctor and mental health care provider to develop a long-term post adoption depression treatment plan.

By: Dana Poynter

A Birth Family Member Perspective of Adoption

 

I was only a child myself when I learned my sister was pregnant and I would be an aunt again. While I went through the excitement of becoming an aunt once before when my oldest sister had her first child, this time was different. I did not understand why my sister was not going to school, instead having someone come over to teach her because of the judgement she would receive at school. I did not understand why I was sitting in an office listening to my parents talk to lawyers and another family who wanted to raise my sister’s child because she and the dad were just kids themselves. I did not yet understand why there was so much tension and stress in the house and in the family surrounding this pregnancy. A time that is supposed to bring so much joy and excitement.

What I later learned was that my sister, at sixteen years old, was making an adoption plan for her child. While my parents fought and fought to take custody and raise her, I now know letting my sister choose adoption was the right choice for my niece.

Fast forward to Fall 2020 when we receive a text from my mom. “Isabell {name changed for privacy} has contacted your sister”. So many thoughts instantly started racing through our minds. After growing up knowing that in all actuality, I had five nieces instead of four was always a strange feeling. There was one out there I knew nothing about other than she was still living in the area close to her parents. Here we are 30 years later and she wants to know about her birth family. We all wondered, “Did she want to have a relationship?”, “Did she want to meet us?”, “What did she look like?”.  So often you think of this day and what it will be like, or if it will even happen. Yet, here we are and she found us through a DNA match in Ancestry DNA.

I wish I could say that these questions were answered face to face with my niece, but they were not. We were blessed to meet her mother and hear all the lovely stories of her growing up. My mom, both sisters and her mom sat around my mom’s dining room table enjoying tea and listening to stories about her childhood, school successes, struggles and goals. We had the joy of looking through photo albums from birth all the way up to her recent wedding. We were able to see how much she really does look like my sister and hear how similar her personality was to that of my sister’s. While we did not get to meet the daughter my sister chose adoption for, she did. She was able to meet her daughter for coffee and begin creating a relationship. Over one year later, the two continue to write back and forth to one another.

As I sit and write this, I remember a time when my sister knew her daughter was approaching the age of 18, the age when many adoptees start trying to find their birth parents. We were sitting at Culver’s when she looks at me and tells me that she feels abortion and adoption are just as hard a choice as the other is. I thought to myself “How could she possibly think this?”, but my sister felt these choices were of equal outcomes because she thought she would never meet her, never know how she grew up or what she looked like. She was non-existent in her perspective. I’m here to tell you now that even though I still do not know if I will ever see or talk to my niece, the gathering we shared years after this conversation gave me the opportunity to see the wonderful life my niece was given. A life that offered stability, love and direction. A life that allowed her to be successful in school eventually earning her Masters and moving to Massachusetts with her husband. Even though I have never met her, I am still so very proud of her and grateful my sister chose adoption.