Ever get the adoption blues? If so, you’re not alone.
Adoption is complicated. It doesn’t matter whether you’re thinking about “giving a baby up for adoption” (or placing)? Or if you’re trying to adopt, and fearing the wait may be endless? Or maybe you’ve already placed/adopted or been adopted?
Either way, adoption is a major life decision. And it has lasting repercussions, like the rings if you throw something into a puddle.
What causes adoption blues?
When you’re planning for adoption, it seems like if you’re doing a good thing, it should all feel good, right? Okay, so it’s not like you expect anyone to throw you a parade or anything. But if you’re placing or adopting, you do deserve some props for trying to do right by a child, amirite?
Yes… but. But adoption is hard. It’s hard if you’re the one putting your child up for adoption. And it’s hard if you’re the ones taking on the responsibility of raising someone else’s child. It’s hard to have the most private facts of your life out for public review. It’s hard to deal with all the requirements of the adoption process. And it’s hard to manage all the emotions that come along with it, too.
You’re only human, you know. You still have your own needs, in addition to the needs of the child you’re trying to plan for. (And it’s not just all hunkydory after the adoption is done, either. That’s when all the real adjustments usually begin.)
If you’re adopted, you have a whole ‘nother set of challenges. Adoptees are often hardwired for abandonment, rejection and loss issues because they had no say in their own adoption stories. You might struggle to make sense of who you are and where you belong, or why adoption happened to you.
Layer on the opinions of others who don’t understand adoption issues, and it’s easy to get why adoption gets so exhausting sometimes. That’s enough to give you a bad case of the adoption blues.
Cures for the Adoption Blues
First of all, please understand: there’s no quick fix. Adoption isn’t a simple concept, so there’s just no easy cure (unfortunately.)
For starters, find you some adoption-savvy folks to talk to. Whether that’s an adoption-competent therapist or a friendly adoption support group, there’s comfort in knowing what you’re feeling is normal. (Even if it feels anything but normal.)
Try to balance your adoption fatigue with other non-adoption interests. If your conversations with your spouse are all about adoption, the other aspects of your relationship are surely being neglected. You still need a well-rounded life of your own, with hobbies and interests having nothing to do with adoption or parenting.
Finally, take care of you. If depression or anxiety are eating away your joy, that’s a clear sign that you need some love and care from yourself. Whether you find renewal in church or yoga or working out or nature or whatever, tend your own garden for a bit. Put adoption on the back burner if you need to– that’s okay.
You may be adopted, or have adopted, or have placed, but you are not adoption. Adoption may be what you’re doing or what you’ve done, but it isn’t all you are. The adoption blues are like a litmus test that’s telling you your focus is out of balance right now.
Take time to explore what it is that’s wearing you down. Is it the uncertainty? Lack of control? Fear of loss? Whatever it is about the adoption experience that’s got you feeling less than, take truth of that lesson, and harness it for your own gain.
Life is full of uncertainties and control issues and identity questions and losses, sure. (With or without adoption.) But you are full of potential, and resilience, and strengths you don’t even fully know about yet.
Don’t let the adoption blues deplete you… add more color to your palette, and turn your story into a glorious masterpiece that celebrates all of you, and not just your adoption experience.