Parents' problems after adopting

Unrealistic expectations of parenthood are playing a role in women suffering from post-adoptive depression. This is according to a new study from Purdue University, which found fatigue can also cause foster mothers to feel stressed.

Karen Foli, an Assistant Professor of Nursing at the institute - which is located in West Lafayette, Indiana - highlighted a range of predictors of depression in adoptive mums, including self-esteem, satisfaction in marriage, bonding between parent and child and perceived support from friends.

Ms Foli stated: "If adoptive mothers cannot bond to their child as quickly as they expected, they commonly report feeling guilt and shame."

Many people who raise youngsters in this way often expect to form an attachment quickly, viewing themselves as super-parents who have the ability to build close relationships easily.

Published in the journal Advances in Nursing Science, the investigation found feeling tired to be the biggest cause of such negative feelings, which might suggest adoptive parents lack a supportive social system when they accept young children into their home.

Chartered Psychologist Angela Hobday, an independent consultant clinical psychologist, commented: "The assessment for prospective adopters is necessarily very thorough and includes some preparation classes. 

"Therefore expectations are raised as adopters see themselves as having reached the standard but nothing can prepare them for the reality of helping a child overcome reactive attachment disorder, loss and possibly trauma. 

"Previous studies have documented the difficulty in providing preparation for a particular child with a unique set of difficulties.

"The study from Purdue University looks further at the psychological effect of this problem on the adoptive parents, when linked to other factors such as poor supportive networks."