Are you wondering if you can adopt if you’ve been diagnosed with depression? Are you worried that seeking treatment for depression in the past can prevent you from adopting? If so, you’re not alone. One commonly searched term on google is “Can you adopt if you’ve had depression?”
Mental health experts will agree that there are many loving, nurturing parents who have been treated for depression. A diagnosis of depression should not hinder someone from being a parent. Many adoptive parents have experienced the emotional roller coaster of infertility, and sought treatment for depression. In fact, one social worker conducting a home study interview commented to the potential parent that it was very understandable for her to seek treatment for depression, with the events she had experienced related to infertility.
A quick answer to the question, “Can you adopt if you’ve had depression?” is “Yes, you can.” For some international countries, such as China, it might not be possible, but for domestic adoptions and other foreign countries, yes, you can adopt if you’ve been treated for depression.
In fact, there are many parents who have successfully adopted children, who have been treated for depression. If you ask this question on an adoption forum or infertility forum, you’re bound to have a few responses from parents who have adopted, and have a mental illness. (For some to try, please read “Online Infertility Support Groups and Forums.”)
You can adopt through a domestic adoption agency, or through foster care, if you have been treated with a mental illness. The social worker will need to confirm that you are stable and have been consistent with doctor appointments. This might mean they will need a letter from your doctor or psychiatrist.
It might be a good idea to ask your doctor if he/she would approve you to adopt, before you begin the adoption process. If he or she says he/she won’t approve you, there is still a possibility that you can. ( If the reasons are legitimate, say, you’ve been suicidal and in and out of the hospital for several years, and haven’t been stable for very long, please seek counseling to help you at this time.)
However, if you have been completely stable for quite some time, and feel your psychiatrist is being unreasonable, perhaps it’s time to find a new doctor. This might be a good time to relocate elsewhere, if you’ve already considered it. Your new doctor will not need to have your history, or hear from your previous doctor. You will simply have to show your medication, and explain that you are stable and want to stay that way. After some time, the doctor might feel comfortable with writing a letter to approve you to adopt.
You will have a home study during your adoption process to ensure that you can provide a loving home for a child. The social worker or adoption worker will most likely ask if there is any history of mental illness. If you aren’t sure what to say, please read “How to Explain Depression in an Adoption Homestudy Interview.”
It is understandable to worry that a history of depression could prevent you from adopting. However, if you are completely stable, have responded well to medication, and are consistent with treatment, you should be able to adopt. Best Wishes!