Monday, June 27, 2011

Post Adoption Depression Syndrome (PADS)

my current favorite picture of my new niece, Sophia

Exhausting, emotional months (years) of waiting. Whirlwind international travel. Adrenaline rush. Adrenaline crash. Sleepless nights. Unexpected joys. Unexpected hurts. Confusion. Questioning. Guilt. Fear. Hopefulness. Hopelessness. Worry. Delight. Laughter. Tears.

Each and every one of these could characterize the homecoming of a child through adoption, especially international adoption. While adoption is a beautiful thing, by no means should it be considered the "easy" route to parenthood. In fact, in recent months when I have occasionally been asked by people here in Chile if it was hard to adopt our Haitian sons I have chosen to respond in this way: "Yes, it was hard. Very, very hard. But nothing that is worth anything comes easily."

When our sons came home last January, I kept a running journal of our first days and weeks together. Most entries were fairly lighthearted, though occasionally I would refer to the tantrums and bickering that took place (often at ear-piercing level) between our newly-arrived toddlers. I also mentioned the unexpected struggle it was for Owen to accept his new siblings. I'm sure I even stated a time or two that Mommy had to give herself "time outs" when the frustration level would rise around here!

The truth is that the experience was much more challenging than we ever anticipated (although I know now from swapping stories with other families that in reality our boys did really well with the transition overall.) It put a strain on our family relationships as our children jostled for position and attention in this new dynamic. It put pressure on our marriage as Pedro and I did not always agree on the same methods for handling the needs of our newest family members.

Our boys, as toddlers, came with personalities pretty well formed and knowing their own minds. The only problem was communicating those thoughts to us! By trial and error and fighting and forgiveness and patience and planning and lots and lots of prayer, we finally began to gel as a family unit and rejoice in the new and improved Garcia "tribe." But even now, we still have our days!

Why do I share all this? Because right now my sister and her family are in the trenches of transition with their precious new daughter, Sophia. And I am so proud of my sister for being transparent about their struggles and sharing tonight about Post Adoption Depression Syndrome and its effect on her. I want her to know she is not alone and that this, too, shall pass one day and the sun will rise and their family will one day be a glorious reflection of God's grace.

A fellow adoptive mom, Jamie Ivey, wrote about her similar experience after the homecoming of their two children from Haiti last year as well. She entitled her post simply and sincerely, "I'm a mom and I need help." An outpouring of encouraging comments followed and I was reminded of how we are called to build one another up in every season of this life.

So thank you for your continued prayer for sweet Sophia, my sister, and her family as they transition through not only the arrival of a new family member but also a temporary separation due to work; an upcoming major move; and the need to sell their home in Pennsylvania so the entire family can be permanently reunited in Indiana. So many huge pressures but we know GOD IS ABLE and trust Him to do a mighty work through it all! I love you, sis!

1 comment:

Life with Kaishon said...

Oh my goodness. She is so precious.