When Adoptees & Foster Kids Get Shamed for Depression

I wanted to wring her neck!

In the midst of a book study group for Christian women, the leader informed us why one lady wasn’t there. “So and so is depressed again…just like other times of the year… it just comes on her with no warning.”

I nodded affirmatively, for I have been there and done that…twice.

Then, another member butted in. “It’s a spirit of infirmity that must be dealt with through prayer.”

My blood was boiling.

Why do many Christians think they have to spiritualize depression? They only add insult to injury.

When I was depressed, I lost contact with reality.

When in the Stress Center, physicians wanted to put me on anti-psychotic drugs to bring me back. My counselor said, “Only temporarily.”

It was then that I was told by a friend about two seminary students that had lost touch with reality. One took anti-psychotic meds, recovered, and was able to have a fruitful ministry. The other, well, he refused to take meds because it wasn’t “spiritual” and he never returned to reality. He was permanently hospitalized.

Needless to say, we followed the physicians orders.

I studied quite a bit about depression when I was going through it.

There are different causes for depression. One reason is physical. You have no control over it. That is what happened to me. Someone may be genetically pre-disposed to it also, and with the right level of stressors, depression may kick in.

Another reason is psychological. You can get really depressed after you lose a loved one. Adoptees and foster kids can get really depressed because of the trauma that they’ve been through and the losses that they’ve suffered. Depression may be like a super-highway through our brains.

There is such a thing as spiritual depression and I understand that that means when you are out of fellowship with God….when you have fallen deeply into a hole. We all make crummy choices at some point in our lives, right?

Does God Shame Depression?

But, bottom line….what does God say? Does He condemn?

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Or, where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, Thou art there; if I make my bed in Sheol, behold, Thou art there. If I take the wings of the dawn, if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, Even there thy hand will lay hold of me. If I say, “surely the darkness will overwhelm me, and the light around me will be night,” Even there the darkness is not dark to Thee, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to thee.” (Psalm 139: 7-12)

So, what can we do to help those who are depressed, especially adoptees and foster kids?

How to Help Depressed Adoptees and Foster Kids

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Don’t quote Scripture
  • Go for a walk together
  • Don’t get on a high horse and judge
  • Ask if you can pray a simple prayer for comfort
  • Remember, for we adoptees and foster kids, when we’re in the dark, our fear of abandonment is shouting at us. Maybe even God has abandoned us? Assure that God will never leave.
  • Remind that it won’t always hurt this bad
  • Encourage to follow physician’s orders
  • Take into physician if there is a loss of reality (hallucinations)
  • Hold tenderly, after asking permission
  • Don’t share how you’ve been depressed…this is not helpful
  • Don’t blame on negative birth history

Well, that’s it, friends.

I made the right choice at the study group last week….I didn’t wring her neck with words or nasty looks, even though every cell in my body wanted to.

I probably won’t continue in this group, though.