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Thread: psychiatric illness and adoption?

  1. #1

    Question psychiatric illness and adoption?

    Hi,



    DH has a psychiatric illness for which he has received on-going treatment for over 10 years. I have heard when you submit an application to adopt, they don't like any psychiatric illnesses and investigate them thoroughly. Is this true? Would this illness eliminate - or significantly reduce - the possibility of us being able to adopt?

    Thanks in advance,
    Michelle

  2. #2

    Join Date
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    I'm not sure if there are any particular rules regarding psychiatric diagnosis and adoption but I suppose they can really discriminate against someone just because of their diagnosis. I think it would probably depend more on how stable and well managed his illness is.
    I think once you do find out whether you can/cant (hopefully you can) I would suggest talking to his treating dr about it and possibly see if the dr can write a supporting letter to help go in your favour.

  3. #3

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    Although they are not allowed to discriminate by law, so few babies come up for adoption intis country versus that number ofparents who wish to adopt that can be VERY choosy about who they give children to.

    We have looked at adoption but have been told that realistically because I have diabetes it would be extremely hard to geta child in this country if at all.

  4. #4

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    I believe that the guidelines are very firm - and with so few children available to adopt, perhaps there may be some issues - but why not face this head on and ask the department?
    You arent on their lists yet - so why not make some enquiries and be very honest about your concern?
    Mental Health is no longer as stigmatised as it once was, and many people find that with the right treatment plans and support, their health is great. If that is the case - and you have evidence of this as life goes on - I would *hope* that you as a couple wishing to become a family *should* have as much chance as anyone else.

    The departments stance on it all is most likely that they want a secure,loving and stable home for a child - so if anything *may* get in the way of that - it may sway decisions. Not sure. Ask them?
    Good luck.

  5. #5

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    Hi everyone,

    This is such a great question! I have depression which is very well controlled with medication and lifestyle tools. I am a little concerned as to how this may impact on our application to apply for international adoption, but the way I see it is that I am well, happy and can offer a great home for children.

    If anything, having depression has given me skills and strengths I might otherwise not have and that would be very useful for parenting any child. I am not afraid of emotion or of challenges or of not necessarily getting a happy ever after cute as a button child that will love me all the time for the rest of their lives...I am prepared for (though still learning) about all the ups and downs adoption can bring. Perhaps I would be more naive and less ready if I hadn't gone through and overcome depression?? Who knows!

    All the best...

  6. #6

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    I can see and totally understand your views on how much life experiences can make everyone stronger and better people, and much more well equiped to parent and I entirely agree, BUT I would suggest that you have a long chat to people who have been through the ringer with the department and come out the other side, as my understanding and experience is that they are not all that empathetic when it comes to such medical histories.

    With so many people in our culture being diagnosed and living with depression one would hope that the public perception about it all would loosen. But - whilst some banks for eg are still stopping some people from getting mortgage protection insurance based on past depression, and the overall mindset of many people being not very forgiving in our society about mental health, sadly such disclosures and honesty can get in the way of people moving forward in life and succeeding in things that they would do well in, like becoming parents of children who would benefit from their love. Still - prejudice is alive and well.

    The barriers and lists to get through adoption are already so high. Adding a few more in can make the journey all that more tough sadly

  7. #7

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    Hi MamaD

    I hear what you're saying! Sadly people can be too quick to judge...

    At least in Australia if they denied our application they would have to be pretty clear about why, as if they said it was regarding depression I would be onto the Equal Opportunity Commission as quick as anything (because they would be breaking the law if that was the only reason)...but it is the other countries that concern me more.

    Australia has no say on what other countries criteria are, and it is a reality that they may not be as understanding about depression as Australia (and we've still got a ways to go!).

    Still - we can only hope!

  8. #8

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    Hi Michelle
    My cousin has just gone through this, her DH has a mental illness that has been managed for many years, however they were told their chances were not that great, if any at all.
    She didn't go in to specifics with me so I'm not sure if they came right out and said that or if it was suggested very diplomatically (sp?) that they didn't have a good chance, but they decided not to continue with the process due to his illness.
    Hope this helps

  9. #9

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    Hi Janine,

    Do you mind me asking what your cousin's DH has? I would imagine that for schizophrenia, bipolar etc it would be more difficult, and I've also heard that different states in Australia deal with it differently too.

    I phoned the Department yesterday and they said that they look at us as a family and how we would be as parents, rather than 'oh you have a mental illness therefore you can't be good parents'..we are going to an introductory session in a few weeks so we will talk to them more then. I think different country programs look at it differently as well and the Department will give us advice on which country programs would be better for us to apply to (as they do with all applicants).

    Cheers,

  10. #10

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    Hi there Kate
    Yes, my cousin's DH has schizophrenia so it would be looked at more serious than depression or similar.
    I hope everything works out for you!

  11. #11

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    Hi

    There would be a couple points at which your mental health might impact the process. First, is getting through the approval process. Second, birth families get information on prospective adoptive parents and get some input in choosing a family. Information on the health of potential adoptive parents is included in the information for birth families. Birth families may have concerns about a parent with mental health issues, so it is important to describe how the illness is controlled (if it is) and what you do as a couple if one person is not well.

    Hope this helps,

    k

  12. #12

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    Thanks Janine and Kate!

    I think the way we will approach it is to be totally upfront and talk about how I have additional strengths from it. My life really is pretty good!

    We would be looking at international adoption (I don't think we would have much hope with local as many couples apply)...so it will depend on our child's birth country's views.

    I really appreciate the advice and information from everyone - it really does help!

  13. #13
    Janie73 Guest

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    I have Bipolar Disorder Type II and I've looked into Adoption. I had assumed I couldn't adopt but I think it varies by state and then it is also dependent on an individual country's policy if you are looking into international adoption.

    I'm in NSW and this is what I found out. Schizophrenia is an outright refusal. Bipolar Disorder is dependent on a few variables: You need a statement from your Psychiatrist that you are compliant to treatment and you are stable; You must not have been hospitalised for your illness (I think ever but I'm not sure on that); You must have been in stable employment for more than 2 years. I think the same applies to diagnoses of Major Depression (ie. an ongoing mental illness characterised by depression) and as far as I can remember straight clinical depression was not an issue (ie. post-natal or a period of depression that passed even if you were treated for it).

    If you suffer from Depression I would certainly move forward in the process and ask the question. The things they are looking for are stability, compliance to treatment etc so things like employment, stable and long-term marriage or relationship, etc are things that will go in your favour so emphasise those and don't lead with your Depression, just state it if they ask.

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