Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Post-Adoption Symptoms

I was just with an adoptive mom this morning helping her with her newborn girls. We were discussing the similarities between the emotional and physical toll of delivering a baby and having that new baby at home, and of adopting a baby and having that new baby at home. Our conclusion- it's not much different!

When I was carrying around our newly adopted daughter, I heard comments like this, "Must be nice to have a baby and not have to do all the hard work." Now, I'm not knocking the fact that carrying a baby for 9 months, along with labor and delivery is exhausting. I've done it three times! I am simply writing for all of you new adoptive moms or soon-to-be adoptive moms to let you know you're not crazy if you feel exhausted, overwhelmed, and emotional after bringing your baby home.

Adoption is labor. It is a labor of the heart. You wait, you carry a child in your heart, deep in your emotions, sometimes for months! It is an emotional roller coaster many times, and it is tough on the heart. It is physically challenging as well, the paperwork, hours of writing, and running here and there to gather all that is needed for your home study, applications and so forth takes its toll. We sometimes tell couples, "Your paperwork pregnant now!" The adoption process is a a labor of love- it is a deep, incredible experience that I wouldn't trade for anything!

There is many times an initial emotional reaction to a child you are about to adopt (speaking mostly to mom's at the moment) that I honestly believe causes a hormonal shift in your body. I can't document this scientifically, and I could do some research I guess, but that's not the point of what I am writing. I know from the experiences of both natural birth and adoptive birth that the impact was much the same on my emotions!

Finally, there is the practical issue of sleep-deprivation. This impacts an adoptive couple no differently that any other couple with a new born at home! Adoptive mom's often get remarks like this, "Wow, you look great, you're still in the same jeans!" I always thought, "Yeah, my jean size is still the same, but I'm not getting any solid sleep, my emotions have been on a roller coaster, and I'm worn out. The size of my jeans has nothing to do with how I am doing!"

So to all you soon-to-be adoptive families or new adoptive families out there, much grace and strength to you today! May your journey be blessed and full of joy. Know that it is a labor of love, one that will be richly rewarded.

I welcome comments from adoptive moms and dads that might help or encourage another adoptive couple!


Somedays are Worth Remembering said...

Thank you for this post. Emotional roller coaster is a gentle way to put it. Scientifically many of the female hormones we woman produce respond more to psychological stimulus than physlogical stimulus. The first week we had Shiloh my hormones were a reck.I was tired and emotional, plus my body was reacting in funny ways to having a baby. It is so refreshing to hear that other adoptive moms are in the same boat. I guess if you have to swim in the ocean, it is nice to know that there are others out there to.
Oh and the jeans comment is the weirdest thing. It is like when you have been married for two weeks and people ask you when you are going to have kids.

Tracie said...

Dear Anonymous,
First, I don't publish any anonymous, unsigned comments.

Secondly, please understand that I was in no way comparing adoptive moms to birth moms. As a matter a fact, I didn't mention birth moms at all in this particular post.

I was writing from personal experience as a mom who has both biological and adopted children.

I have a great deal of respect and admiration for birth moms and have several friends who are birthmoms who do not live their lives in anguish, but in peace knowing that they made the best decision possible for their child given the circumstances and time in their life.

I have a wonderful relationship with our daughters birth mom and it has been an emotional experience for both of us! I am no stranger to the heart ache that birth mom's face and was not minimizing it in any way shape or form.

I plan to devote more post to birth moms in the future.

Anonymous said...

I love this post, my mom and I were just talking about it. Believe it or not we are BOTH adoptive moms(she adopted me, and I just adopted, Luke).I absolutley went through an emotional labor and felt exhausted and hormonal when all was said and done. Scott felt a lot of the same things, but not in the same way. I have absolutley carried Luke in my heart for 9 months.

I believe there is something going on spiritually as well that we can not even fully comprehend. Almost like there is a fight going on above our heads that we cannot see or hear but it is still very real. I believe the decisions the birth mother have made for life and the natural adoption is surrounded by angels and principalities. I had some crazy dreams the first few nights and had lots of strong emotions. That is why I believe prayer has to be such a huge part of labor and delivery time too. We really felt surrounded by the prayers of the saints as some really hard things happened to us.

The Vance's said...

Thank you so much for you post. I plan on using a portion of it in my blog, if that is ok. We adopted a baby girl and she is 2 1/2 weeks old. I am exhausted! From the time we got an e-mail about her birthmother looking for a family till the day she was born was only two months. We weren't planning on adopting right now, but God had another plan for our family. So, we didn't have a lot of time to prepare and actually did our homestudy the day we got the phone call that our birthmother was in labor and we needed to get on a plane!
I can relate to everything you posted. Thank you

Tracie said...

Feel free to quote or link to my blog any time you want to!

Blessings as you adjust to life with your new little one!