It's been a tough week for me emotionally. Those of you who read here are sure to know about the death of a beautiful little girl many of us came to know and adore through stories from her adoptive mother. Mom put up SOME fight to be able to bring this little girl home who was already a toddler. She also had a severe cleft lip and palette which was in desperate need of repair. There is a lot more to this story but this same beautiful child was murdered and the suspect just charged; that being her own mother. I have fought posting on this topic for so long because I want this to be a happy place where I can document our life together as a family. I may remove this at a later date in order to respect that some day this won't belong in my daughter's story. For now, it shall remain. My journey to adopt began in October 2005, shortly after the demise of a toxic relationship. I always knew I wanted to be a parent but was single and not in too many long-term relationships. My dreams started to become reality when I was accepted to my agency of choice to adopt a child from China. Why I chose China is of no relevance to this story so please, keep going. It was a long and arduous journey and although I yearned for it to happen, I also was grateful for this same wait which allowed me to grow by reading, watching and asking a lot of questions. I spoke to doctors and nurses and read clinical journals. I spoke to adult adoptees and heard their stories of having their names changed, having an American flag thrust into their hands and never to speak of their birth country again. Hearing these stories, makes me angry because it is my belief that EVERY adoptee has the right and deserves the respect of knowing their stories. In my case my child and I are not the same race so while we DO look alike in many ways, it is more obvious. Among the things I learned, the signs of Post-Adoption Depression (hereafter PAD) was really not discussed. It was only through speaking to my adoption coordinator (god bless you M.R) that this became knowledge. Meanwhile I am a licensed social worker and even throughout school had never heard the term. So when I experienced this incredibly painful ailment with the heart palpitations, watching the clock tick and wishing sleep upon us all, what did I do? I vacilated back and forth while in China if I were perhaps making a mistake. I had proverbial buyer's remorse. I wanted out but in my heart I knew I could not walk away. This was my daughter and for better or worse we were now a family. So forget her grief for a moment, what about mine? Where did these panic attacks come from which I had never in all my years ever experienced? Why was I afraid to be left alone with the child who kissed my nose and wanted to sleep with me? The answer is simple, I was suffering from PAD. In my case it lasted about three months. During those months I met with my primary care physician as well as my daughter's IA pediatrician and a course of treatment ensued. As a social worker trying to locate a therapist proved to be the most annoying task and in the end I relented and asked for a parenting coach/therapist through NYC Early Intervention. I ended up with a really nice male social worker who walked in and told me everything right I was doing. He noticed my growth as well as my daughter's on a weekly basis. He printed articles, he gave me homework and little by little I didn't need a pill to calm down. I no longer wished my daughter to sleep but instead wanted her awake to play with her. As a single parent going back to work sooner saved me and probably her too. She was used to being with children all day and I was used to being a career woman. A year later and I have managed to balance the best of both worlds. I couldn't love my daughter any more if I birthed her from my womb and while she wouldn't word that verbatim, she feels the same way about me. It's hard to believe I ever considered coming home "alone" or that there was something wrong with her. In essence there was something keeping me from realizing the gift I had been given but the grief that came with it. A year later we are mother and daughter in ever way and I would do anything for this child to show her how much she is loved. We make efforts to honor her birth culture and when she is a little older we will return to China so she may see where her life began and also to visit with special friends. I urge anyone reading this to please know you're not alone as you nod your head or you find yourself wiping a tear away. Through this journey I have met some of the most amazing women (and Jeff) who I am honored to call friends. There are supports out there and places to turn even in cyber-land if you need. There is the post adoption depression yahoo group for starters. It's not an easy read but some wonderfully strong women there telling their stories. Sometimes you have to endure the pain to reap the rewards of the pleasures of life. I was one of the lucky ones because I knew what it was and I RAN and didn't walk to my support network. Whether married or single, you must build those villages and build them strong. They need not be large but they most be strong enough to get you through the worst and to celebrate you with the best. Peace, Harmony and Justice for L.B and all those who have suffered unncessarily.