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How to Deal with Post-Adoption Depression

By Nottage and Ward on December 16, 2013

While going through the rigorous pre-adoption process, you may be feeling anxious and at the same time thrilled at the prospect of providing a home to a child in need. Once the paperwork is completed and the child is finally under your care, everything else will work itself out, and you and your child will soon develop a loving, trusting relationship with one another.

Or that’s what you want to think. The reality is many adoptive parents, especially mothers, go through a great emotional trial in the early stages of adoption. It is often referred to as post-adoption depression.

The Causes of Post-Adoption Depression

According to Dr. Carole Lieberman, a psychiatrist at UCLA’s Neuropsychiatric Institute, these are some of the primary causes behind post-adoption depression:

  • Coping with the inability to conceive
  • Dealing with perceived “flaws” in adopted child when comparing with the ideal
  • Fretting over genetic disorders the adopted child may develop

Of course, just the work and stress inherent in child-raising can contribute to feelings of depression and ineptitude. Holding unreasonably high expectations in regards to one’s own parenting skill is not healthy. An adoptive parent, like any other parent, should accept the fact that parenting isn’t easy and look at it as more of a learning process, rather than a test.

How to Cope

Adoptive parents who face post-adoption depression should seek some form of help as soon as possible. It is vital that they do not let the depression fester to the point where it becomes apparent to the child, negatively impacting his or her self perception.

Those in major cities can most likely find a post-adoption support group. These groups are invaluable for adoptive parents who want to get together and share advice and stories with one another, which can do wonders to cure or at least alleviate depression.

Individual and couples therapy can also be helpful. A good therapist will be able to identify the source of your depression and assist you in addressing it so you can move on and live happily with your new child.

Helping Those Interested in Adoption

If you are looking to introduce a child in need into your family, but are unfamiliar with the adoption process, please call the Chicago adoption attorneys at Nottage and Ward. With our assistance, you will have an understanding of all your options and how to move forward. For a comprehensive consultation with one of our knowledgeable associates, call (312) 332-2915.

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