Well I debated whether to write this post, but after much thought I decided it would be cathartic for me and perhaps help others who have, are or will go through what I am going through. I ask that people please refrain from sending judgmental and negative comments (I will be moderating all comments from now on). Comments that begin with "I know how you feel..." or "I was there myself...." are more than welcome!!
I think I have post adoption depression. There, I said it. It started coming on in Vietnam and has grown worse since being back in Canada. I think Samantha posted this link but here it is and I suggest friends and family members that read my blog, read this article http://www.adoptionarticlesdirectory.com/Article/Post-Adoption-Depression---The-Unacknowledged-Hazzard/53. It will allow those who care about us understand what we, mainly me, is going through. Apparently up to 70% of adoptive parents feel some form of PAD (I know, it an unfortunate acronym).
It can be brought on by many factors. The adoption itself is a roller coaster of emotions that come to a head at the point of the adoption and then suddenly fall. Kind of like an anti-climax as it were. You've waited for this moment for years. You and all your family members have expectations that are sometimes to the point of being pure fantasy. Very few little tykes can live up to the fantasy. Another reason is that you go from having a settled and happy life to suddenly being thrown into a situation of chaos. If you happen to have been matched to a little one that has higher needs than average or a more high maintenance personality the problems can be compounded. You are essentially thrown into parenthood with, in many cases, little knowledge of what to expect. It can be very overwhelming even though you have been planning for it for years. On top of all that you feel this incredible, overwhelming guilt that you are not the "happiest person alive" as everyone expects you to be. I can't tell you how many people say to me "You must be so gloriously happy!!" and I smile and say 'Uh huh" even though inside I am not happy. Not at all. I feel so guilty about this. Because I think "Yes, I should be happy! All my dreams have come true. I finally have what I have yearned for, for so long. What is wrong with me!!".
The truth is I am struggling right now. I wonder if I will ever like this little person never mind love and attach to him. He is not to blame here at all. However, his personality has assuredly made this process more difficult and perhaps has aggravated the PAD that I may or may not have developed even if he had an easy transition. But unfortunately this process has not been easy for him either. He is unhappy about 80% of the time. His unhappiness manifests itself in almost constant whining. He'll whine to be picked up than squirm and whine until you put him down and the whole cycle starts again. I have to believe that this would be hard on any parent to deal with day in and day out but perhaps it is just us that finds this behaviour so challenging and difficult. We have found solace in out of home play dates that seem to make him happy. On Saturday we had a full day of general happiness. We were thrilled. Then today was the worse he has been. Other than about 40 minutes when our friends came over with their little girl, he whined the entire time. Our bliss of the day before crashed as we struggled to understand his behaviour. He's been to the doctor and is completely healthy. We have little explanation other than the tried and true adoption fall back of he's still adjusting. Which very well could be likely. However it does not make it any easier to deal with, on a daily almost constant basis. Especially as we know he has the capability of being happy for a full day.
Having said all this I only bring up his behaviour in the context of why perhaps PAD has hit me so hard. I am not blaming him at all for his behaviour or my reaction to it. He is after all just a wee child. Having no history of depression I am not even sure how to deal with this or how to make things better. I have made an appointment for Wednesday to speak with a professional in the hopes that they can help me find the tools to get through this and whatever the future holds for us. I am so very grateful for my amazing, rock solid husband who, although struggling a bit himself, has been a stabilizing force in our little family.
As I said at the beginning of this post, it took me a long time to get up the courage to admit all of this in a public forum. However I felt that it may help people we know appreciate what is happening and hopefully help others who will, are or have gone through this. I really think a support group would be fantastic. If anybody is interested let me know in a comment.
I will fight hard to become the mother that Van deserves!