Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Post Traumatic Adoption Disorder (P)TAD

I keep having a recurring dream that I am in algebra class and I keep failing.  No matter what I do, I cannot figure out what n equals...

In my dream, I am carrying around a huge, disheveled folder that is overflowing with papers.  Crumpled papers, some upside down, and some with coffee stains.

Each night as I rush to my class, I drop the folder and papers tumble everywhere.

My hands cannot move fast enough as I try to collect the massive mess.

In my dream, it is hot, the world seems to be closing in on me, and I am always late.

I am constantly forgetting assignments and reminded each minute that I am failing.


Each morning when I wake up from this awful dream, I take a deep breath, give myself a little pep talk and repeat,

 'I can do hard things!'

The long wait for Finley is over, but the next chapter has begun.

While we were all waiting and waiting and waiting for Finley, a term was coined to describe the waiting me.  The term was TAD (Traumatic Adoption Disorder)

You see, with TAD, a waiting mother can have symptoms ranging from forgetfulness, night sweats, bizarre medical issues, wild mood swings, lack of focus, no appetite and so much more.  I would go on to explain it, but this blogger explained it better than I ever could.

Now that Finley is home, I can now say that I have moved from TAD to (P)TAD, (Post Traumatic Adoption Disorder)

Things you should know about your friend with (P)TAD

1. She Still Loves You

You have walked with her through four years of adoption drama, heartbreak and celebration, and now she seems to have fallen off the face of the Earth.  When she would instantly return a text or a message before, she is now taking a couple of days to get back to you or possibly not even getting back to you at all.  Please forgive her and text her again....She still loves you..... see #2

2. Her Mind is Mush

Your friend, while at one time held down a full time job and seemed to have it all together, can no longer hold a thought in her mind for more than a minute.  She has just spent way too much time in another country, in another time zone and has spent over 50 hours on an airplane....  12 of them with a toddler.  She is adjusting to her new life and has trouble recalling proper verb tenses in her everyday speech, let alone her daily schedule. So, if she seems like she isn't all there when you are talking to her, or doesn't remember that she already told you something, just nod and smile..... And pray that it passes.

3. She is Tired

Four long years of angst, tears, and tireless fighting have come to a close. Your friend is trying to recover from the most emotional roller coaster ride of her life while at the same time keeping up with a two year old. Long story short, your friend never had anytime to recover from the first roller coaster before jumping on the next one, and that has left her tired to her bones.

4. She is Adjusting

A new child, (little person with a huge personality) just walked (literally) into her home, and has changed the entire dynamic of her family.  This new little person has already brought so much joy and laughter, but is still new.  It is just like bringing a baby home from the hospital, except for the fact that this new addition doesn't sleep all day and can already walk, talk and get into everything. It is safe to say that adjusting is an understatement and each day your friend makes it to bedtime it is a minor miracle.

5. Her Heart Still Aches

While your friend is finally holding her long awaited baby in her lap, she is now comforting her new daughter as her heart breaks.  You see, as much as your friend wanted to bring her baby home, she knew that in order to do that her new child would have to suffer a great loss, and nothing breaks a mama's heart more than to see her child's heart breaking.  And while her littlest is grieving, her older children are grieving too.... they are grieving the loss of their normal, the loss of your friend's constant attention, and this breaks your friend's heart just as much.

6. She Feels Like She is Failing *see recurring Algebra dream above

While parenting over the span of eight years, your friend felt like while she lost a lot, she also won some in the game of parenting.  Albeit, her children and her mothering were never perfect, she did feel like she had things under control (for the most part...) and every so often gave herself a pat on the back.  Now, she is the mother to three, it is summer vacation, and she feels like any calm and order that may have been in her home before is nothing but a distant memory.  She can't keep the house clean, making dinner is no small feat, and one of her children is usually in need of something at all times.....


If any of this sounds familiar, you may have friend who is suffering from (P)TAD, and if you have a friend suffering from (P)TAD you deserve a Friend of the Year award!  Not only did your friend survive one roller coaster just to jump on another one, so did YOU.  Your friend thinks the world of you and would be in much worse shape if you weren't in her life.

One day, your friend hopes this is all a distant memory that the two of you can chat about over coffee, while laughing at the absurdity of it all, but for now she wants to thank you for loving her even when she doesn't have much to give you in return.  Your love means the world to her and she is thankful for you.



  1. Hey, this sounds familiar! I think I might have a friend...

  2. Hang in there, it does get easier. We have done it 3 times and normal will come.

  3. Love this authenticity! Praying for a new normal for you! (And if it's any consolation, #3 was a total game changer for us!)

  4. Love this authenticity! Praying for a new normal for you! (And if it's any consolation, #3 was a total game changer for us!)

  5. LOVE this!! And I totally get that! I am reading this with tears running down my face. This is so familiar! I have been on both sides of this. (minus the having to travel to another country!) You hit the nail on the head on this one!! So beautifully written!! Prayers! (Note- I am reading your post two weeks late, because like that friend, I am a little behind on things!)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...