When an adoption is finalized, the papers signed and your little one finally home with you, you will likely experience a flood of emotions: joy, relief, love, gratitude, awe. But in addition to these wonderful feelings, you may also experience feelings of sadness, which confuses many adoptive parents. You made it through the hard part and now your dream has come true- what is there to be sad about?
Feelings of sadness are completely normal post-adoption, and can stem from many factors. Perhaps memories from struggles with infertility or obstacles to the adoption linger, or you feel a sense of grief, even guilt for the birth parents experiencing a loss as you bask in the bliss of your successful adoption. You experience these emotions because you are human, and there is no need to feel ashamed or embarrassed of that. But there are ways to combat any post-adoption blues you may have.
Firstly, remember that you are not alone. You are not the first to experience sadness or grief following an adoption, nor will you be the last. A great way to find support is through other adoptive parents. In both online and local support groups, you can find parents who understand your struggle and can help you to overcome it.
Taking care of a child is hard work, and just because you didn’t give birth to your baby, doesn’t mean that you don’t need help. You will have countless late nights and early mornings, and it’s important to remember that you too need your rest. Physical exhaustion can lead to emotional exhaustion, so if a friend or family member offers their help, take it, and use the time to rest and do something for yourself.
If you and your child aren’t connecting as quickly as you’d hoped, don’t be discouraged. You are new to one another, and it takes time to form a natural bond. It’s much better for a natural bond to form over time rather than try to force it.
Lastly, acknowledge all of the feelings you experience. You have nothing to be ashamed of, and should not try to push feelings away or refuse to acknowledge them. That will only make it harder to overcome them. Take the time to consider your emotions- where they stem from and how you can cope with them, and learn to accept every feeling, good or bad, that comes your way.
Parenthood is no easy feat. It is a journey full of ups, downs, joys and struggles. Some days you may feel defeated or disheartened, but those feelings are only temporary. As a parent, you will experience more love and happiness than you knew were possible, and the bad days will only make you appreciate the good that much more.