Mothering Forum banner
1 - 9 of 9 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
1,166 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just read through the thread about PAD and it makes me wonder about adopting after a history of depression. Anyone BTDT?

I guess there are two questions, the first being did you run into any objection from your agency regarding your history of depression?

Second, did you deal with depression again during the process of adopting, or after the adoption was final?

I struggled with an eating disorder with diagnosed depression and anxiety about 10 years ago. I was on meds for a few years, but have been off them for about 7. My husband struggled with a few months of depression two years ago. He was never on meds. I see in myself that I am more prone to feeling depressed when life gets hard, but since my ED I've never been "clinically" depressed. I've been on the edge of PPD during and after my pregnancies, although I've been able to cope well with life without meds or counseling. As we're considering adoption, I know we'll have to talk about this with our agency. Any experience or thoughts?

Thanks!
 

· Registered
Joined
·
638 Posts
Assuming it isn't debilitating depression, I would think you would be fine. I think that they want to see that you are handling whatever issues you have, it isn't taking away from your ability to function well and take care of your child/ren well. We had a few things that we were concerned about when we did our home study (my husband and I were in therapy and I had breast cancer not even two years before we started the process), and while the social worker brought them up, it was fine. Nobody has a "perfect" life or background - they aren't looking for that. They are checking to make sure you are functioning, responsible people who can handle parenthood. Good luck!
 

· Premium Member
Joined
·
2,369 Posts
i was treated for depression several years before our adoption. it came up in the homestudy and the social worker askedsome questions, but it seemed like a non-issue.

i didn't have any problems with depression after the adoption that i recall. i get "the blues" or mild depression phases every once in awhile but i've been pretty good about recognizing them and being proactive.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
1,609 Posts
I had a history of depession as well. As others have said it was clear from my medical history that I had dealt with it and in talking with me the SW could see I knew what to do if the symptoms returned. My issues were also fairly clearly tied to the endocrine issues that also caused my infertility. I would guess that they see that a lot.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Hello,

I was concerned about this as well during our process, especially as I am still on meds. Our agency and then county DFACS office just asked more questions.

They asked how was I managing my depression and what did I do when I felt overwhelmed or depressed. I "spun" it into a positive really. After struggling with this for years, I KNOW what my triggers are, I know how to ask for help and when I'm going to need it. I have a support system in place. That's a lot more than some people have. . . a lot of people really. I've been in a "bad place" and I know how to get out of it.

And as our county worker said, "If we disqualified everyone who had ever suffered from depression, no one would ever get to adopt. . ."

My advice is to be very open. Don't hide your "secrets." They want to know not just that you have struggled, but how you've overcome. That's what we have to teach our kids eventually. It's better to have parents with practice in that area!
 

· Registered
Joined
·
47 Posts
1. Most American agencies don't have a problem with a person who has been treated for simple, mild clinical depression with medication and/or talk theray, as long as the person has not had hospitalizations or suicide attempts, and doesn't have a more complex condition such as bipolar disorder. Agencies recognize that getting help for mild depression or anxiety is much better than trying to parent with such conditions, and view getting help as positive.

2. That being said, if a person is adopting internationally, he/she should be aware that foreign countries often view treatment by a mental health professional or the use of anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs unfavorably and may have a policy against placing a child with a prson who has had such treatment. The reason is usually that, in those countries, people don't usually get mental health help unless they are well and truly "crazy" -- psychotic and out of touch with reality. The authorities tend to assume that an adoptive parent who has sought mental health help is too impaired to parent a child. They find it hard to understand that Americans seek such help for all sorts of conditions that do not qualify as mental illness -- fear of flying, shyness, protracted grief after miscarriage, minor marital issues, problems with their boss, and so on.

Some countries are also aware of well publicized cases where agencies approved people to adopt who subsequently wound up abusing or killing their children, or who committed suicide. As a result, they have begun tightening up their requirements to try to exclude such people. Even though most people treated for mild depression do not commit child abuse or murder, and rarely kill themselves, the result is often a prohibition of people who have had such treatment.

In short, if you hope to adopt internationally, you will probably have a little more difficulty than the average person, in finding a country that will accept you. It's not impossible, but it may be a challenge.

3. Domestically, you should be able to adopt through agency, private, or state adoption, but a lot will depend on how your circumstances are viewed. In many cases, your homestudy agency will ask you to have your mental health professional write a letter explaining your diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis. If it's sensitively done, and it doesn't show a history of significant problems, it can probably be very helpful.

4. Do be aware that post-adoption depression is almost as common as post-partum depression. While you don't have pregnancy hormones throwing off your body chemistry, as an adoptive parent, you often have a roller coaster ride to adopt that is so full of ups and downs, that your body starts running on stress and excitement. Once your child comes home, there may be something of a letdown, as this child you worked so hard to adopt turns out to demand endless feedings and diaperings, to keep you awake at night, to throw up or get ear infections with alarming regularity, and so on. You begin to think, "Is this all there is?"

Post-adoption depression is very amenable to treatment, and anyone who experiences it should definitely get help quickly. Just like post-partum depression, PAD can escalate and lead to feelings of hopelessness and anger, that can cause a person to harm himself/herself and/or the child. The good news in your case is that, knowing what depression feels like, you can probably identify it more quickly than most people and, if it hits you, you can probably get help before it takes control of your life.

Sharon
 

· Registered
Joined
·
1,166 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you for all of this.

My husband and I are good, stable and loving parents...and if needed we could have the counselor we both saw write a letter. That's a good idea. We also already have three children, so hopefully through the homestudy it will be clear that we've been able to get through our issues and be good parents.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
165 Posts
When my husband and I were looking into adoption, we were looking at a hard-to-place boy, so I don't know if social services was more lax, or if this was their general rule.

Anyways, one of the first questions I asked was, "I have depression, am I automatically not going to be considered?" and she said that wasn't the case at all. This is in Canada, and she said that assuming my depression has been under control for at least one year, then it should not be a problem. It is really case by case, but they use the one year mark in most trauma situations, so you can't have lost a child or gotten a divorce and rushed into adoption as a "This will fix everything" thing. I guess the same sorta goes with depression.

I don't know how it comes up later on... we decided not to pursue it due to finances, but that was one social workers opinion on the matter :)!
 

· Registered
Joined
·
6,792 Posts
In general, I think almost anything imperfect about a family can actually IMPROVE your homestudy experience. Social workers seem to like to see families that have dealt with adversity in an effective, family-centered way.

No family is uber-perfect (or if they are, they're probably lying about it). Social workers want to know the struggles you've been through, and the steps you've taken to heal. Knowing how and when to seek out help is a good parenting trait.


In our case, we had a history of having marriage counseling (due mostly to having a very stressful life with two special needs kids, but also just dealing with the regular crap you encounter as you try to build a life together). The social worker's first response was of surprise, but once we explained what our goals had been and how we dealt with our struggles, she actually said it showed the strength in our family and marriage.

Just be honest (and be willing to get a dr.'s letter of support if needed).
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top