Stress – It's Enough to Make My Hair Fall Out

I got my hair cut yesterday by the same woman who has been cutting it for years. She commented on all of the new hair growing back in after so much of it fell out last year. When Honeybee came home we didn’t realize how close we were to our “tipping point”, but it quickly became apparent when our world crumbled. My hair fell out, I gained about six pounds, I didn’t sleep, I was emotional. It was like being post-partum all over again.

Here I am 16 months later and life is much, much better. My hair is even growing back. Too bad the weight is not coming off as easily!

Have you experienced post-adoption stress? How did it affect you?

Don’t forget to contribute to this week’s Tuesday Topic. Don’t worry if your answers are similar to mine, just share your particular ideas about preserving marriage, getting time to relax, finding beauty, or whatever it is that helps you avoid Burn-out.


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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. Leslie
    December 10, 2009

    I'm glad things are so much better thanks to all the hard work y'all have been doing and God's grace. I had wondered about what you said. It seemed like Honeybee's homecoming and integration into your family, as wonderful and meant to be as it was, triggered the deeper issues in Dimples that she was maybe just barely trying to control, and that once she was home, these things were brought up in a way that she was compelled to act out. As hard as it has been (which I'm sure much more than what you've shared), it is a miracle that they came up now (in childhood rather than adolescence) and you have been so aggressive in getting help and doing what your family needs to be healthy, each of you. I wonder though, were there signs before that in retrospect you would have acted on or ways that you think "if I had known", you would have done things slightly differently in the early months of her coming home? Which of course is not to say that what you did was not the right thing for her at the time, but just wondering if you recall things earlier in when she was home that in retrospect you realize were coming from a different place/ motivation than what you thought at the time. I so appreciate your balance in sharing your experiences and being discrete but I wondered if you might share about any earlier signs that she was struggling. And how maybe this has helped in how you parent Honeybee.

  2. Melodie Monberg
    December 10, 2009

    Thank you for your kind comment the other day. It encouraged me so much. It's been a long journey and there are many time I wish for that cup of coffee and words of wisdom from someone who has already walked the path. While that won't happen any time soon, I'll keep stopping by!


  3. Mamita J
    December 10, 2009


    I am so glad to hear that your stress level is down enough for your hair to grow back in. 🙂

    I experienced all of the same symptoms, except I lost 15 pounds from the stress the first 2 weeks Cupcake was home. At first, it was so hard to eat – my appetite was gone. Of course, I turned around and gained 25 pounds from the stress since then. 🙁

    I'm not sure how much hair I lost from stress and how much I lost due to a scared little girl yanking it out by the handfuls, but I don't think it's going to grow back. 🙁

    The first few weeks/months, when we really discovered the depth of her trauma, I couldn't sleep, sometimes having panic attacks in the middle of the night. I would have to remind myself of God's hand in her adoption and the fact that we were absolutely sure that God called us to adopt her specifically.

    I also think the stress level we were operating in was necessary, kind of like adrenaline in a crisis. I was able to absorb so much of her anger and fear, it was almost superhuman. I felt like I was in "The Zone". I took whatever she dished out and handled it so well. I'm sure it was God's Spirit carrying me as we walked through the valley of the shadow of death.

    That's not to say I wasn't scared. Our fear for the future was off the charts. It still occasionally climbs up that high, though I can eat and sleep with no problem now.

    Thanks again for your insight and friendship.


  4. Goodness and Mercy Mom
    December 10, 2009

    Dear Lisa,

    I'm a frequent reader and I have a feeling that I'll be stopping by even more. I just want you to know what a great encouragement you are for people like me. We're in the process of adopting a 9 year old boy after two and 1/2 years of trying to get him home from Guatemala (we're praying he'll make it home by Christmas). I just returned from two weeks of living with him. We already know him very well (we have visited him 16 times), yet I don't think I truly understood the level of his brokenness until this past trip.

    Anyway, thanks for your honesty, transparency, and wisdom in helping those who are able to walk on a path you have already cleared.

    I'm praying for you to have renewed strength as a wife, mother, and servant of God.

    Many Blessings,

  5. Dawn
    December 15, 2009

    Hi Lisa! me? right in the middle of post adoption stress at the moment, 3 months home, panic attacks last week, overwhelmed and stressed, confused about giving my son grace and sorting through his behaviors, feeling like my other kids are getting lost in the shuffle. just trying to breathe:)


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