Twenty years later, I still battle depression and anxiety, because I can’t seem to let go of the worry.
My husband and I adopted twin boys who were born seven weeks early. They weighed just 3 pounds, 4 ounces, and 3 pounds, 8 ounces, and came home once they reached 5 pounds. I will be forever grateful to the Ventura County NICU for saving their lives.
Their adoption story was complicated from the start. Their birth mother suffered from schizophrenia. After an extensive search, we identified their birth father, only to discover that he had been jailed multiple times for violence. He later claimed he wanted custody, resulting in a number of court appearances for all of us.
I suffered from depression and PTSD, although I didn’t know it at the time. I just remember being constantly tired and scared. Scared that I would accidentally kill the babies. They came home with breathing monitors that sounded like a blow horn every time they moved. The stress was overwhelming. Their extensive health issues made for a very tough first few years. And then we welcomed another son 16 months later. My marriage couldn’t survive my anxiety. We divorced when the twins were almost three and the baby was 20 months.
After receiving educational support throughout elementary school, one twin is now pursuing his masters after completing two BA degrees in four years, graduating with distinguished honors. The other struggles academically and battles his own mental health issues. He recently moved out of state after struggling through four years of community college. He has no interest in continuing his education and has difficulty keeping a job. Both of my sons continue to have some health issues, but they are much less severe now.
I still battle depression and anxiety, because I can’t seem to let go of the worry.
As told to Jessica Butler.
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Names and identities have been changed to protect the privacy of the author.