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Post Adoption Blues?

Ann E. Butenas


It is common knowledge that many new moms deal with post-partum depression. In some cases, it can be quite severe. In most cases, however, it is simply a short period of the blues, where the new mom just feels a bit down. The cause of this is generally physical in nature, the result of hormones thrown out of balance temporarily. This blue feeling is usually short-lived.

Is it possible, then, for adoptive parents, especially the moms, to feel similar bouts of "the baby blues" after bringing their much-anticipated little ones home? Kay ( just loves babies, whether they are her own children or the one she has adopted.

"I love babies. I love the baby time," she explained. "After the births of each of my own three children I never experienced a case of 'the blues." Even after I adopted my little girl a couple of years ago, I was so elated. I never had feelings of depression or the blues. I just love babies."

However, Kaye, who offers adoption resources through her web site, has seen that adoptive parents can and do experience the post-baby blues. "No matter if it is your own baby or a baby whom you have adopted," she explains, "you still have to get up in the middle of the night for feedings, deal with crying spells, and everything else that goes along with having a baby. So, instead of being hormonally-induced, this type of blue feeling is emotionally induced."

In a sense, adoptive parents can experience some form of temporary depression due to the change in their home environment and all of the demands a new baby puts upon them. Denise, (, mother of two young adopted boys, indicated she did experience a certain down period each time she brought home her new baby boys. "Both of my adoptions were open-adoptions," explains Denise. "Michael, now four years old, was our first adoption so this was all new to us. We went through several situations before being connected with his birth mother, Andrea.

We met Andrea when she was two months pregnant. Although we lived eight hours apart, we stuck with it. We talked on the phone weekly and went to visit her monthly. She also came to stay with us for a week a couple of times." Denise and Andrea grew close and shared so much, practically becoming the daughter Denise never had. "I really do love her" Denise noted.

During the course of Andrea's pregnancy, Denise explained that the plans were made with all of them and with the attending physician that once Michael was born, Andrea did not want to have him placed on her belly."Well, the delivery was a long one and the doctor must have forgotten about Andrea's wishes, and once Michael made his entrance into the world, he was placed upon Andrea's belly. Andrea immediately and tearfully requested that Denise take Michael. Denise was shocked to find out she just could not take him from her. Andrea's best friend was in the room at the time, so Denise requested that she take Michael. "I just could not take him from Andrea," Denise sighed. "I felt like I was stealing her baby."

Eventually, Denise held Michael and it was love at first hug! In fact, Andrea referred to Denise and her husband as "Michael's mommy and daddy." Denise was just sobbing. Andrea recorded on video how much she loved Michael, but that she knew he would be much better off with Denise and her husband, Dan.

Denise's heart ached for Andrea. She felt an emptiness she could not explain. "I truly felt her loss, her pain and her emptiness. "As much as I was happy, it was really hard for me to take him," noted Denise, who confided in her husband that she knew this was all meant to be and if anything should happen to let this adoption not go through, she would be so distraught. "I literally forgot I didn't give birth. All I knew was that he was mine, and I loved him so. I didn't wonder if I would have felt differently if I would have given birth. I love him with all my heart and he is a part of me! I have always felt this for both of my sons." (Denise has a 14-month-old son, Anthony, whom she has also adopted.)

As far as the post-adoption blues, the emptiness and lost Denise felt was for Andrea. "I went through all those emotions with her as we continued phone and letter contact for awhile afterwards. Maybe that was my adoption blues, feeling a little bit of guilt for being so happy, yet sad for Andrea at the same time." Soon it passed, and Denise just became a real Mom, not an adoptive Mom. She was, as she puts it, "a real tired Mom, lacking sleep, wondering if Michael was breathing at night, checking in his room for the hundredth time, wondering if he was eating enough, if he was warm or cold and if there was anything else she could do for him. "I love him like I have never loved in my life," beamed Denise. "The hollow feeling inside has become full and is running over!"

Having a baby of your own or adopting one does produce a variety of emotions, as these two moms have noted. In the end, however, they both agree that they are so happy with their children and could not imagine their lives any different!

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