For anyone considering adoption or anyone who may have just adopted a child, The Post-Adoption Blues: Overcoming the Unforeseen Challenges of Adoption is a must-read, filled with important information that could mean the difference between a successful adoption and one filled with ongoing questions, chaos and disappointment.
The authors, both adoptive parents with plenty of hands-on experience in addition to their training in the medical and psychiatric fields, provide a comprehensive guide to the many challenges adoptive parents are bound to face, yet may not know about beforehand. Many of these challenges, the authors tell us, can lead to a type of depression very similar to post-partum depression, where expectations are unmet and often turned on their heads, and emotional reactions are much different than what was expected. Adopting a child is not always the rosy, shiny event many people make it out to be, for it includes many of the same challenges that new parents encounter with birth children, and many others that they never dreamed of. Some of these challenges last years, while others are overcome quickly, but always they require tremendous patience, compassion and courage.
We are first presented with a run-down of the various ways children are adopted, either through agencies and state-run facilities or private, closed adoptions where no info is ever given about the birth parents, or open adoptions that involve the birth parents. We are then presented with the challenges and obstacles parents who adopt will face, such as dealing with depression, special needs children, dealing with family and societal prejudices towards adopted children, finding the right support system, legal problems that may result with kinship adoptions, and a host of other critical issues that, if not resolved, could undermine the happiness of everyone involved.
Many of the emotional issues that come with adoption are also explored, via fascinating personal anecdotes from adoptive parents whom the authors interviewed, and provide a real in-depth view of what it is really like to deal with having a new child come into your family and integrate with the existing family structure. I have been thinking about adopting, and this book really opened my eyes to what truly is involved in this wonderful and noble decision, but it also gave me much food for thought about my own preparedness for what situations I might have to deal with.
The Post-Adoption Blues is a serious book, but although much of the information can intimidate and even cause fear to anyone seeking to adopt, the message of the book is positive and empowering; that any problems can be overcome with a good support system, the right information (this book has it all!), and plenty of preparation for the issues that may rise up once the new child is home. With this knowledge, and this book, in hand, adoption can truly be blessed and joyous, if not challenging, and always rewarding for any family that dreams of expanding their capacity to love, to care, and to nurture.