Post Adoption Depression

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author: Jamie

Sometimes things aren’t as rosy as they appear.

Post Adoption Depression And Attachment Issues Of Adoptive Parents.

I don’ t know why this isn’t emphasized in the multitude of adoption education potential adoptive parents are required to do!

If you are an adoptive parent there is a very good chance you will not attach to that child right away.

Most adoptive parents are aware that their child may come home with anything, from minor attachment issues, to full-blown RAD.

They are prepared for it.

However, not many educational materials these explain these issues are common in adoptive parents. Anything from minor bonding issues to severe post-adoption depression.

Parents often are caught off-guard when they first experience PADS, because this isn’t something adoptive parents are educated about in pre-adoption education. Once the child comes home, it is very possible they feel like they are the only one with this problem. Very few people talk about it openly.

The main problem is that it isn’t an issue with the child, it is an issue with the parent. The parent can be even more depressed because they feel guilty that they can’t control it, or there might be something intrinsically wrong.

In adoption, there is so much criticism coming from every place imaginable, this is just another way for people to feel judged. People tend to keep quiet. I don’t blame them one bit.

However, I am thankful for the few strong people willing to talk about this.

Melissa Fay Greene is one of brave souls bearing it all for the well-being for other families. If any of you are unfamiliar with this remarkable woman, please educate yourself. She is a legend in the international adoption world with her very honest and articulate thoughts.

Plus, she’s hilarious. Pick up her new book and you’ll understand what I mean:

But I digress….

I read two articles by MFG a couple of days before Samuel came home from Ethiopia.

Article 1 was about her first adoption and how she suffered from post adoption panic/depression.

Article 2 was a serious article about older child adoption with a humorous undertone.

Both I NEEDED to hear. If I hadn’t come across the articles I would have been completely beside myself when Samuel came home.

If you’re in the adoption process I highly suggest reading both of those articles, and realize that not attaching with your child right away is completely normal.

My hope in the first part of this series is to start a dialogue. We should be talking about this.

Jamie Lynne Grumet is a wife and mother by way of birth and adoption. Jamie is a lactation consultant and advocate of adoptive breastfeeding. She is founder of the Fayye Foundation, dedicated to family preservation and lowering maternal mortality rates in Ethiopia. Jamie currently blogs at and also co-authors – a product review blog.


  1. When we adopted our newborn daughter I had tried to induce lactation and bf her. I had so many expectations of myself as a new mommy and I lapsed into PAD before two months. I was bonding just fine, but not adjusting like I thought I would. There was no one to talk to, it was horrible. I agree that we need to spread awareness about the possibility of that happening!

  2. As an adoptive mother of four who suffered from Post Adoption Depression…thanks!

    When I wrote this personal account of my bout with PADS,

    I could find almost nothing else out there to read about it. But this is a very serious problem and one study shows that PADS lasts longer and is more severe on average than Post Partum Depression. We need to break the silence on this one.

  3. I have had to deal with both of these issues and though the prep course did seem quite thorough nothing prepared us for the realities of adjusting to traumatised children. Funnily enough though our daughter is the one with the biggest issues it wasn’t until we adopted DS that the PAD hit me like a brick.


  1. […] at April edition of Western Journal of Nursing Research.   Here is a link for more info:A study based in Purdue University says that unmet or unrealistic expectations of adoptive parents c…albeit via adoption rather than childbirth. Researchers thought that depression after adoption is a […]

  2. […] Before the adoption, the quote “God does not call the qualified. He qualifies the called.” had come to be my mission statement or at least my comforting statement during the adoption wait, so I tried to cling to it again, but I was barely hanging on. It really was only through grasping onto God that I could even face each day. I didn’t realize it until much later when I was able to look back on that time, but I think I was suffering from post adoption depression. […]

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