Understanding Post-Adoption Depression

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Some couples cannot have a baby of their own. No matter how many years of trying, they still end up with just the hope of holding a little angel in their arms. So instead of prolonging the agony, some couples decide to go through the process of adoption. But like any other life-altering decision, there are many considerations and consequences that should be pondered upon before finally going through the process. Many couples ignore those things because of the excitement they are feeling. They believe that adoption could once and for all be the solution for their longing for a child.

Unfortunately, some people may experience a not so pleasant experience after an adoption. Some may experience a post-adoption depression. According to Ruta Nonacs, MD PhD, “Post-adoption depression is relatively common, affecting 10% to 32% of adoptive parents.  Many of us are familiar with post-partum depression or the mental issue that a mother feels after giving birth. Post-adoption is similar to it.”

Dr. Liji Thomas, MD says that “Post-adoptive parents are also prone to experience depression after the adoption.” She adds, “They may range from personal stressors such as infertility and lack of parenting skills, to the emotional residue of past treatments and failures to conceive, lack of support for the adoption, and physical or emotional stresses of raising children.”


Symptoms Of Post-Adoption Depression:

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  • The feeling of sorrow and loss of interest in activities that once were exciting
  • Differences in eating habits
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Nausea, dizziness, and panic attacks
  • Low self-confidence
  • Doubted self-worth
  • Anxiety
  • Feeling of guilt
  • Insomnia
  • Unexplainable fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Loss of concentration
  • Suicidal thoughts


A person may experience PADS or post-adoption depression symptoms, and they are noticeable after a month of adopting a child. These symptoms or changes are physical, emotional, and mental which can affect the overall health.


Causes Of Post-Adoption Depression

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  • A woman might feel guilty about getting someone else’s child. The thought of the biological mother will always be present because the new mother knows how much one can love and miss a child.


  • An adopted child may continuously serve as a reminder of the inability to procreate. A person may love his adopted child as much, but the thought of having his own will always cross his mind, and that can be emotionally stressful.


  • A couple who is longing to have a child could overlook at the responsibilities they have to face. It is similar to having a baby of their own that many could not anticipate or cope up with the additional obligations of raising a child.


  • One may be jealous of the attention the baby is getting from the other parent. At first, when there is still less connection with the child, one may not be as delighted with the divided attention from his partner. It can be because the child did not come from their flesh and blood.


These emotions may arise alongside adoption because it is a significant decision that will make a substantial change to a couple’s life, and if one is not aware of these consequences, he may experience considerable effects as well. Anna Glezer, MD adds that, “Going through the process of adoption is a lengthy and emotionally taxing endeavor. There is often uncertainty, a roller coaster of hopes and disappointments, and financial stress. Initial expectations of a prospective adoptive couple may not be consistent with realities, and confronting this can lead to distress.”


Post-adoption depression may very well benefit from psychotherapy. A couple may undergo a series of counseling to address the issue. During this time, the therapist and new parents will discuss the cause of the emotion as well as the things needed to be done to be able to counter any negative thoughts.  Overcoming PAD is critical not just for the couple but the adopted child as well. It is necessary to go on with the purpose of why they decided to adopt a child.