Your adoption is complete. Well, you may still have those pesky post-adoption reports that seem to sneak up on you, but for the most part, you’re done. The paperwork is behind you. No more fundraising events to host, and no more mandated interviews to schedule. No more home tours, updates, or fingerprints. No more fees, grant applications, or apostilling. No more waiting. What a relief.
It should be. All those things were horribly time-consuming, monotonous, expensive, and time sensitive. It adds so much pressure and stress into your days, weeks, months, and years that you should be happy it’s gone. The process is long and tedious; you should be thankful your child is home and it is over.
And maybe you are thankful they’re home. Really.
But it’s okay if you miss it. It’s okay if you miss the alluring nature of adoption. Fighting for a child stuck on the other side of the planet, or inside the belly of someone else. Maybe you miss feeling like you were rescuing someone who desperately needed saving. Maybe you miss getting one step closer to pick up. Telling people you were done with your dossier, or you just passed court, or birth mom went into labor is exciting, but now it’s over. Maybe you miss the unbelievable anticipation of meeting your child for the first time. The first time you lock eyes, the first time you stroke their cheek, the first cuddle, the first smell – having that gone can feel a bit like a hole in your heart.
Post-adoption blues can manifest itself in all those varieties of ways. It can show up as sadness, madness, grief, anger, loneliness, stress, sleepiness, anxiety, or depression. My own post-adoption blues manifested itself as anger. I was constantly angry at what my son had been through. No one stepped in to right the many wrongs done to a small child and now he was taxed with the burden of battling a plethora of issues that should never be present in the mind of a child. My post-adoption blues really shed light onto my need to please others. I never thought I liked being the center of attention, but I’m learning that that isn’t true. I crave it, in a backward way. I like people being excited about things that are happening around me. I was letting my desire to rescue this poor orphan boy overtake my realization that I was the one being rescued. I was allowing myself to fluff my tail feathers and shout to the world how wonderful I was for adopting. Sure, this was a calling I was responding to, and boy has it been difficult, but I was seeking out favor in return for obedience. I had let my pride get the best of me, and was now going through the “grieving process” of that ego.
Your post-adoption blues may not look like mine, but they may very well be present. Don’t ignore those feelings – especially those feelings where you just don’t seem to be yourself. Embrace this moment to better yourself. Find a therapist that specializes in attachment needs, especially parental attachment to the child, and make each session count. Grow, love yourself, and share your experience with others. Your experience may help another adoptive mom find the help she doesn’t realize she needs.