The Other Side of Happy

So, yes, I’m happy. I am. I’m screaming happiness. Just screaming it! So happy. So stinking happy.


And I plaster that poop-eating, heel-clicking grin on anytime someone asks, because really, let’s not kid ourselves, no one really wants to hear about the other side of happy when so many great things are happening in your life.  #tripsondenialriverforeveryone

So, I’m so overwhelmed that there’s a part of me that is just miserable and empty in spite of all of the happy, and I really am happy.  I wasn’t lying about that.

I marvel at how all these feelings can just coexist.  The duality of emotions on this journey will forever stun me.  #getsmeeverytime

So much has happened in my life in the last four years, the last two years, the last 18 months, the last 4 months, the last month. In fact the last month represents the time when so many things have come to fruition. So many hopes and dreams and things I’ve worked hard for and prayed over have  come to pass. And it doesn’t stop there.

Next week, I’ll finalize Hope’s adoption.  Yep, we have a court date.

When I got the date from my attorney by email yesterday I actually started sobbing.

OMG, this is happening.


I was happy but I was also scared schnittless. If I hadn’t been illegally reading my email while sitting at a traffic light, I probably would’ve passed out. Instead I cried. But in the moment, they weren’t tears of joy. They were tears of fear, of the smack of reality, of wondering what was next, of hope that things will get easier, of wondering will I ever feel confident enough, of wondering if and when all of my own supposed support systems will ever feel stable, supportive and safe enough.  Will I fail her?  Am I really, really that selfless?

I am exhausted and despite my happiness, I am back to a week of not being able to stop crying. Maybe I need a med adjustment, because this is just ridiculous.

A few weeks or months ago I wrote about feeling down and some folks pointed out that I was possibly suffering from Post Adoption Depression. I didn’t even know that was a thing. I just knew I couldn’t stop crying, and I was driving a broke-down fire truck from one fire to the next and then role playing ALL of the firefighter jobs that must exist with a small water gun. I barely felt like I was functional.

About two weeks ago, I just started sinking again. The crying and crankiness returned. I just wanted to sleep or at least pull the covers over my head and be left undisturbed. I just mourn the ability to come home to peace and quiet and snuggle with The Furry One and decide, because I could, to just have a martini and cheese toast for dinner. I mourned the days when I didn’t need a sitter. I mourned the ability to pick up and go to the Caribbean for a long weekend if I found a good deal. I mourned the days when I didn’t have to do teacher conferences about questionable grades and behavior or anticipating the mayhem of being a chaperone at the upcoming band trip. I missed the days of less village drama. Life literally changed overnight, and I haven’t adjusted.

And yet, I can’t imagine life without Hope, and Hope comes with all of that and then some.  She’s a game changer.

Then, last evening I got a response email from a colleague who finished her PhD about six months before me. I’d shared in an earlier email that I was feeling like I should be doing “something” (school related) and was feeling guilty about not doing whatever it was I was supposed to be doing. Heck, one time I wrote a final class paper from a hospital—sure I’m supposed to be doing something? Surely I can’t be experiencing some post-EdD completion let down.

Uh, yeah, she wrote back—that post-doctoral listlessness is normal. Yeah, there’s a let-down period with a risk of depression after the euphoria of being done passes.


Really, now this is a thing too? GTFOH!!!

Awesome, my doc and shrink are going to love this. Could be worse, I could be a new Dr looking for a job. So there’s that.

A lot has happened, and a lot is happening. All happy things, but things that require or recently required huge amounts of cognitive and emotional energy over sustained periods of time.  And my brain is just tired. I’m emotionally tired.  And the number of folks with whom I can share this, completely unedited, unfiltered, uncensored at all, is a pretty small number. I’m grateful for them, I am <thank you if you’re reading, you know who you are and each of you are godsends>. But I find myself mourning about the censoring I am doing; the censoring I’m required to do in some core areas of my life.  It’s really just like folding into yourself over and over again, like a bad piece of origami and you’re just waiting for the someone to toss you because the folds didn’t come out right.

Never in a million years would I think that when my dreams come true, mostly in the span of a few weeks, that I would not be wholly ecstatic and bouncing like Tigger.

Happiness isn’t without a price, and it can exist with sadness.

Here’s hoping I can swing back and stay on the topside of happiness and soon.

For now, I’ve got a Gotcha Day party to go plan.


About AdoptiveBlackMom

I'm a single Black professional woman living in the DC area. I adopted my now adult daughter in 2014, and this blog chronicles my journey. Feel free to contact me at, on Facebook at Adoptive Black Mom, and on Twitter @adoptiveblkmom. ©, 2013-2022. All rights reserved. (Don't copy my ish without credit!) View all posts by AdoptiveBlackMom

14 responses to “The Other Side of Happy

  • Katie L.

    Reblogged this on Katie's Adoption and Fitness Journeys and commented:
    This is a post from an amazing blogger friend. She speaks so clearly about the duality of emotions new adoptive parents feel. The happy and sad all mixed together. The excitement and yet the anger and longing for days gone by. The “I would never change this for anything, but can I get 5 fing minutes?” How once these amazing kids come into your life you can’t imagine life without them. Even if they bring locked medicine, social worker visits, 24/7 supervision, and the like with them.

    Mostly this post describes how I feel about sharing the more difficult parts of life. To explain that I can be so tired, so happy, and so sad all at the same time. I imagine that most new parents feel this way, but I feel like as an adoptive parent my right to complain is less since I was “trained” and “prepared” yet still am floundering at times. I am going to try to lean on my support system (outside of Joel and one or 2 friends) more openly and honestly. I KNOW there are people that care and are there for me, I just need to reach out. Sometimes though, reaching out takes energy that you don’t have at the end of the day.

  • AdoptiveNYMomma

    I am truly happy for you both. Congrats on a Gotcha Date.

  • Instant Mama

    I feel ya! Who knew that opposing emotions could coincide so peacefully, and yet wreck such havoc on our psyche! I’ve been mourning the loss of a few freedoms lately. Looking at a full time job next year as teacher/principal where my kids will be going…let’s just say I’m going to have to get extra creative because we are going to be together every moment of the day and they ride with me so when I stay late…oh for the days when I could just call my hubby to let him know I’d be running late and that was that. Now I’ll have to figure out activities or something because leaving them to their own devices is not yet a viable option. And what is this other depression??? Hadn’t heard of it either, but good luck with it! At least you can still feel the happy!!!!

    • AdoptiveBlackMom

      It is a curious thing, all this emotional stuff. Good luck next year! I have no idea what I would do if Hope and I were together all day everyday. We’re good for about 3 days and then we need a break! 🙂 I am happy and excited about the next chapter, but it is overwhelming.

      • Instant Mama

        Oh, and I meant to say congrats on getting a date!!! That seems super fast but maybe time just flies and of course ours drug on for way past time. So happy that you’ll be able to settle into what works for you two. There is a trepidation but also a relief. Wait for the relief….

    • AdoptiveBlackMom

      Oh it is pretty fast! Hope was legally free when we were matched so I haven’t had to go through the drama of possible reunifications and TPRs. I know that most usually take at least 6 months, but WA has pushed all long for permanency as quickly as possible.

      • Instant Mama

        That’s awesome. Ours were legally free too and had been for a while, but they still managed to drag it out to about nine months. And I’m still waiting on birth certificates!

        • AdoptiveBlackMom

          Ugh. I’m dreading making the SSA appointment for the myriad of name changes. I will say that WA is speedy with documentation though. They apologized in advance that it would take a week or so to forward the new birth cert–I thought it would take months too.

  • puddin85

    Congratulations! !!! I am do thankful you’ve shared your story ♡

  • SerialAdopter

    I remember well when we got a court date for a certain child and kept thinking – are we sure????? Totally get the duality of emotions surrounding a decision, no matter how great, that can’t ever be undone – but really that’s already happened right? Laughing and crying – joy and sorrow – isn’t that life though so interconnected between the two emotions.

  • Fear Still Rules the Day | AdoptiveBlackMom

    […] This is my reality of getting me and Hope to permanence, and it continues to be the other side of happy. […]

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