Saturday, February 5, 2011

Post Adoption Depression Syndrome (PADS)

I must tell you that I have been overwhelmed by your support and stories of similar experiences as a result of my last post.  I am sure that you realize that it was very difficult for me to put that "out there", but I feel it is necessary.  I know that many women go through the same thing that I did.  Many women experience post par tum depression after delivering a child, but did you know that an adoptive mother can experience the same thing?  It is called Post Adoptive Depression Syndrome, PADS.  You can read about Post Adoption Depression - The Unacknowledged Hazard @  This article described my behavior exactly.

Journal entry dated April 2, 2002 - Today I sat in the emergency room for 6 hours waiting to see a doctor.  There was a bad accident on US23 that involved many cars, so there was a lot going on in that ER.  I debated on whether to just go home.  Nope.  I told myself that I cannot go back until someone tells me what is wrong with me.  I don't feel like me.  It is like I am in someone else's body.  I am exhausted mentally, physically and I just don't care about anything.  I called my mom at least 4 times while waiting in that little lobby, just to let her know that I didn't flee the country, I was just waiting.  When I was growing up, my family used humor to get through things.  We were very close.  We shared everything and fully supported each other.  I knew they had my back.   Finally, about 6 hours in, a doctor came out and talked to me.  He said, "I know that you have been here a long time, and that tells me that you must really be in need of help".  I told him that I wasn't going anywhere and I will wait as long as I needed to. 

Once I was with the doctors, there were a zillion questions as you can imagine.  They asked if I thought that I would hurt myself.  I said no.  They asked if I thought I might hurt the children.  I said I don't think so, not physically, but I feel emotionally vacant and that can't be good for either of them.  They started to explain what was happening to me,  and that it was an imbalance of serotonin levels and physical exhaustion along with the stress from the unexpected adoption.  They gave it a name.  Post Adoption Depression Syndrome (PADs). Ok.  What do we do to FIX it, I asked.  They actually wanted to admit me to the hospital and have me go through a program which involved medication, therapy and education.  I wasn't digging that plan.  I wanted to go home and handle this.  They said that they also had a program which involved partial hospitalization  in which I go home, but only if I wasn't to be alone.  I had to have someone take over the care of Cameron and Jacob while I worked through things.  Monday through Friday from 9-4, I would attend group therapy and see a doctor to manage medication.  Sign me up for that!  This meant that I needed to enlist help from my family and my husbands parents.  So, when I got home, I said, ok troops, we have a plan. 
The mom's took turns with 3 day intervals of staying with me.  Thank God that I had these two amazing Women to sacrifice their own daily life....for me and Jacob and Cameron.  The Grandpa's were on board as well.  They held down the fort so to speak at their homes while the ladies kept me on track.  Jerry was very supportive.  I realize that, this experience was very difficult for Jerry.  Imagine that you are at work providing for your family and your wife is "ill" and can't do what is required of her job at home and you are worried about the kids and then on top of that, the Grandma's have taken over the household.  It is a lot for a guy to absorb. 

So the journey began to "GET Momma Back".  I started medication right away and started that group therapy the next day.  It was a very strange experience.  Everyone there was dealing with depression of some kind.  I had to introduce myself....yikes!! This is scary.


Much of this next few months would be difficult on the whole family, but we were committed to the process, because we believed in it and had a vested interest in seeing it through.  I planned to share the journey with you, but first I want to give some thanks.

To Mom - You amaze me.  You are mother in every sense of the word.  You have always given yourself to me as your child, but never more than in my darkest hour.  I mean it when I say, I would not be where I am today without your love, your "give it to me straight" support and I owe you everything, but I know that all you wanted for me. was that I experience motherhood with joy and to be the best mom ever!  You and GOD got me there.  I send you the deepest heartfelt thanks ever. I love you. 

Joann. -  What can I say.   You are the best Mother in Law that I could have ever hoped for.  Your love and support for Jerry and I was key to our success.  You gave your all to us.  Thank you.  You love me like I was your own.

Jerry. - Everyday you amazed me through this process.  You never questioned the process.  I know that it WAS NOT easy dealing with "the wounded Me".  Amazingly, our relationship deepened, when many would have failed and walked away.  You "get me"......and the times when you don't, you just love me and make me laugh at myself.  We have come a long way BABY!

Dad. - You still make me feel like your little girl.  It is an amazing feeling that no one can take from me.  Thank you for supporting me and sharing your wife with me so that I may get to where I am today.  Your example, helped me recognize a really good man to share my crazy life with. Thank you Dad.

Marla D. -Thank you for that insane day when you "turned the tide".  You made me see that I wasn't myself anymore,  and that it was O.K. !  You were a pivitol part of the whole process. I will never forget it.

Monica H. - Words can never express what you have meant to me through my struggle.  I remember that I could just talk to you on any given day and you would just listen and really get it.   I am so thankful for your friendship over the past 10 years.  We rode the storm together.  You need to know that just a simple hug from you made me feel better and gave me strength.  I love you and will forever be here for you no matter how far you go away.  I know that Divine Intervention brought us together and will keep us together forever.

Lisa C. - You are my best friend.  You have been there for me from before the day Cameron was born to present day.  You taught me to trust in friendship.  I never new that feeling....ever.  I trust you with my life and with my children's lives.  My mother trusts you and THAT is BIG my friend.  I love you.

As I sit here, I am in tears at the sheer gratefulness that I feel towards all who helped me get through the most difficult time of my life.  If you are reading this and you are experiencing any signs of depression, reach out please.    Sometimes, it is easier to talk to a stranger.  It can be fixed.  I don't want any mother to feel that they are hopeless because they can't seem to bond with their new child.  There is so much help and understanding available. 
Six weeks into treatment and Cameron and I were beginning to bond.


  1. Thank you for writing this. My husband and I adopted a 7 month old baby boy in March. Since then, I have been so emotionally eratic...crying, feeling immense guilty, stuffing emotions, losing weight, feeling irritable, etc. I just read an article about PADS last night and it seriously changed my life. I too am going to seek out treatment and help. Even I kept telling myself I was being selfish and should tough things out for my son and for our family. Thank you for your blog and for the wonderful inspiration you are to all adoptive parents!

  2. Awesome. Thank you dor th note. Just knowing that Inmay have helped one person, inspires me to continue to share. Let me know if I can help at all. Hang in there. It gets better.


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