Monday, April 6, 2009

Foster Kids Medication Use

There's debate over the use of Ritalin, Lithium, and other psychotropic medications in foster and special needs adoptive kids. Parents find it hard to accept depression, ADHD, and mood disorders as real issues when they themselves have not experienced it first hand or have ever loved someone who's struggled to be good enough, "get it" as easily as peers, or live unburdened by the mood storms these kids and teens have inherited from the very biological family members who failed to care for the child due to the limiting effects of their own mental health issues.
Sorrowfully parents feel they are being manipulated, tricked, duped, or bullied. "If only the child were less selfish, could just apply himself, needs more discipline or punishment."
Failing to recognize, accept, or seek help for a child experiencing hereditary mood disorders, brain chemical abnormalities, or cognitive impairments can lead to a teen or adult who feels they'll never measure up, be normal, or worthy. An attitude that medications and therapy is wrong, dangerous, or unnecessary can lead to the very self medication (drugs and alcohol), suicide and attempts, isolation and failures that cost the child's birth parents the right and ability to raise the child that is now living their legacy.

The medications aren't perfected and some do have dangerous or bothersome side effects but the alternatives can be worse. Children should be allowed help without the guilt of not being able to power through mental health issues on their own. Accepting the child's extra needs and supporting them is a true act of understanding and compassion.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Post Adoption Depression

Post Adoption Depression Syndrome. It's not commonly known that it happens after a baby or child joins a family through adoption not just a form of post partum depression post giving birth. It can happen a day after your child joins your family or a year. It can happen to a Mom or a Dad. It can happen if your child is perfectly perfect or beautifully flawed. Some call it adoption blues but it can feel much worse then a small case of being down. It can range from annoyance from losing the life you previously had before children arrived or all the way up to anxiety episodes or panic disorders. The triggers can be anything from lack of sleep, discovering a difficult special need, feeling overwhelmed. It's really really real and will improve if seeking support from others who've adopted, a professional to talk with, medication, journaling, just be sure to seek help in some way. You don't have to feel guilt or do this alone.

Here are some real mom's experiences with PADS:

Mom #1-My daughter was adorable! That is for certain. We adopted her at one year old through our state's Social Services Department. Actually she moved in then (legally free), but didn't finalize the adoption right then. She had a loving but over bearing foster mom who was a constiant intrusion with visits, phone calls and how-to lessons on the care of my daughter. My dear daughter was a little off always. I couldn't explain what it was a just brushed it aside as a drug effect and probably some issue attaching to me after the trauma off moving. The caseworker and attorney visits with their annoying unhelpful intrusions, the therapist appointments where it was made clear they are the experts on my child and the fact that my dd was having some kind of issue all bogged down on me at once. I'd given up a life with my two older boys where I could sleep in a bit, no diapers, no hand holding, no need to constantly watch over the child for this new life that included opening my home to scrutinizing, strangers and a child with issues I didn't have a good idea what they were. If depression is rage turned inward then I was feeling it full force! My body physically ached, I lost friends interest who didn't have little kids anymore, and I felt alone as if I had no right to "complain" because I had a million chances in my 2 year adoption process to change my mind. I still wrestle with depression symptoms 3 years later. Three years later I still don't have a 100% clear idea about what's going on with my daughter. But I know that this period in her life isn't permanent, we'll reach new stages as time goes on. Kids are little for just a short time in their lives. I have appointments with all the professionals. Someone will help my daughter or I'll just keep advocating till they do. I know that much is true.

Mom #2-I tried to talk to my husband about my feelings but he didn't seem to feel the same way. I tried to talk to my best friend but her attitude seemed kinda like she thought I got a child after a two year wait so I should just be happy. I was glad to find a message board that had other moms who've been through it. My ND put me on 5HTP. I got over it pretty much but did find that the hard behaviors I have to put up with have required counseling, more help with my child and a lot of work. It's hard but got easier when I found out I didn't cause this, choose this and don't have to control it by myself.

Mom #3- I still take medication. My child takes medication. I'm as crazy as they are. Life is what it is. Gotta love it.