When we began our second adoption, it felt like an episode of déjà vu. We filled out the same paperwork, collected the same letters and references. We underwent police clearances, fingerprinting, and visa applications. The day we received our match, we knew our family was complete. We showed our daughter’s photo to our son and anxiously awaited word we could travel. When we journeyed to India to meet our new daughter/sister, it was the most magical time. We explored temples and spice markets, shared tea with the amazing individuals who had cared for our daughter, and got to know our daughter’s birth country through food and stories. Then we returned home.
At first, we seemed okay. Another successful adoption completed! But then the reality of our new life together as a family set in. My son was regressing, hard. My new daughter was clinging, hysterically. I was battling typhoid and sepsis. And my husband had to return to work. Each day I slipped deeper into depression, and each day I wondered why “this time was so different?” True, our first adoption three years ago had been hard, but this struggle felt herculean.
Conversations with fellow adoptive parents helped me realize why our second adoption was so tough. And more importantly why we, as an adoptive community, need to do more to support and acknowledge the challenges of second time adoptive families. Here’s what I have learned through my struggles with post-adoption depression during our second adoption: