Can Adults with Bipolar Adopt Children of Their Own?

Part 1: The process of adopting a child when you have bipolar are complex

Chris, Carrie and Rina
Carrie Burr and her adopted children, Chris (left) and Rina. Carrie Burr

Adults with bipolar disorder may think they are excluded from adopting a child because of their condition. This cannot be further from the truth. While the process may be a little different, you can adopt a child even if you've been diagnosed with mental illness. One author shares her initial phone call inquiry:

The First Call: Realizing I Want a Child

"She's pregnant? Again? Wow... (Oh boy, here comes that all too familiar lump in her throat again) - uh, what cool news!

(likewise, tears fill her eyes.) Uh-huh, I know. A baby girl just ... last year. A regular real fertility goddess. (And now she breaks down. She begins to weep, almost uncontrollably.) I'm sorry. I want a child! I want a child to call me mommy for once ... and every time I hear about someone having a baby, or see the moms at the mall with their babies, all of them talking about their ... their pregnancies, their kids, I either cry, tune completely out or walk away, pissed off at all of 'em."

Debunking the Mental Illness Myth

No, I can't have a baby. Didn't I tell you? Sorry. I thought I did. I'm bipolar. Yep. I've had it for years. But the good thing is, I don't have many bad days now. Not for a while. Good doctor, good medicine, working hard with my therapist on stuff. My dad was bipolar, it's in our family. One of my cousins is. No way am I taking the chance of my kid getting it from me, or having birth defects from medications I don't dare stop taking.

And I was told I can't adopt, either. Because of my bipolar, I was told I am "mentally defective and unfit to parent." I am "hazardous to a child's health." I am "damaged goods." I could? How do you know? You are? You are bipolar. And you're adopting? Do they know you're bipo--? They do?! And you still can!

Your son is adopted, too? I never knew that, but then again, I never asked. I just assumed ... I can adopt!  Keep talking, girlfriend, tell me tell me tell me!

The New Normal: Different is Normal

Get the message? Yes, really. Yes, you. Just like those regular ... um ... what DO you call them? Oh, like those normal people can? (In my opinion, those "normal" people aren't what they say they are. They aren't what they think they are. They only think they are what they say and think they are! Confused? I would be after reading that. In other words, normal people have never existed, or if they did, or do, they have left the planet.) Different is normal. We all have different fingerprints, scientific proof that there's no such thing as normal, only different. My different is bipolar, but that did not exclude from adopting my child and it doesn't exclude you. Straight from the horse's mouth, let the truth be known - you can adopt a child and be bipolar, too!

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