Does Adrenal Insufficiency Mean You Should Not Parent?

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Does Adrenal Insufficiency Mean You Should Not Parent?

Today I wanted to speak about a topic close to my heart, Adrenal Insufficiency and parenting. Adrenal Insufficiency is a condition where the adrenal glands are unable to produce the essential stress hormone Cortisol and therefore the patient requires cortisol replacement therapy to be able to live.

adrenal-insufficiency and parenting

Adrenal Insufficiency is a chronic condition and yes it does effect you on a daily basis. When you exercise you may need to increase your meds.

You have to be vigilant in monitoring how you feel, keeping track of symptoms and you need to carry an emergency injection incase of an adrenal crisis.

Someone with adrenal insufficiency may need to double dose on medication during times of increased stress such as visiting a dentist, flying on a plane or when the body is suffering from fever or an infection.

For me infections can really affect my cortisol levels and so I have to double up for 3 days, sometimes longer to be able to get through.

However does adrenal insufficiency mean you should not or cannot be a parent? No! My husband and I have one daughter. We work together as a team.

Yes I may have sick days and suffer from fatigue and other symptoms but I am a great Mother and we have all learnt to adapt. I pace myself so I can spend quality time with my child. We do things differently.

I consider myself to have a disability not an inability and therefore I can parent although it may involve more sitting down activities than physical about and about things.

I still give my child a wonderful life and am a brilliant mother. I also have a wonderful husband who supports me and together we make it work.

So when we were told this week that we could not proceed any further in our adoption application because I have adrenal Insufficiency it really did make me feel sad.

My endocrinologist said I am fit to parent and carry another child with medical support however I have always had fertility problems and being unable to conceive without IVF type treatment meant my husband and I decided to go down the adoption route.

We attended an adoption appointment and was told I needed to lose weight. We were told we needed a home with more bedrooms. We did as we were told. I dieted for a year to qualify for weight loss surgery.

I had the surgery and lost 5 stone in weight. I am now in the healthy weight range for adoption. We also moved homes. We found a house with an extra bedroom and are paying extra for this.

We returned to the adoption agency who then said, they did not think we could proceed due to my adrenal Insufficiency. We were told to wait 6 months and come back. Well we did this.

We also went to another adoption agency who gave us a new assessment and yet again we were told, we were good parents and had every quality needed except I have adrenal insufficiency.

The adoption agencies would not even allow me to undergo a medical or get an opinion they stopped us before we got to this point.

As far as the adoption agencies are concerned having Adrenal Insufficiency means your unfit to adopt a child.

For me it hurts. We dream of growing our family and to think my health condition is the reason we can’t grow really makes me feel sad. I don’t think someone with diabetes or asthma would be turned down in the same way.

If my endocrinologist believes I should be able to parent a second child then why not the adoption teams? I understand not every parent is healthy.

A child needs a parent who can meet all their needs and I know I could do this even with a health condition. It just feels a bit unfair.

I guess the other option is to try a third agency or to look at saving up for fertility treatment.

It’s not something I really wanted to speak about but I feel passionate about parenting and feel a bit upset at the moment and this is my way of speaking out.

Do you have a chronic illness? Do you think adults with chronic illness should be allowed to parent?

I’d love to hear your thoughts?

Angela x

does adrenal insufficiency effect parenting


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  1. Angela, I really feel for you. It makes me so mad at those adoption agencies who, on their own volition, take it upon themselves to arbitrarily ignore the advice of health professionals. They simply should not be allowed to do that. I would like to think that this decision is one that can be appealed as unfair and unwarranted discrimination.

  2. It is so sad they had you do these things to turn around and tell you No. I think if your Doctor is telling you it is okay then you should at least be able to submit a medical.

  3. Angela I am so sorry for your journey. You have done everything right only to have this current outcome.
    I understand if a person does not know how to live with AI or does not understand the limits but your doctor cleared you.
    You know your body. You and your husband are a team, ugh.. I am venting…
    I am not sure where you live but one size should not fit all.
    Is everyone in your country that has a medical condition not able to adopt?
    If this is so, the message is incredible wrong!
    My Best
    Lisa aka #HypoGal

  4. Adoption (I’ve heard) is a difficult process for anyone, and the fact that they are listing your disease (while chronic and serious but in no way would effect your parenting skills) is ridiculous to me. To me, these children need to be in good homes as soon as possible, and they should work with prospective parents in order to to that. Not constantly turn them away for any little issue and keep the child out of a loving home. I wish you he best of luck with your adoption process, and hope these agencies will listed to your doctor’s advice!

  5. I deal with chronic migraine and an auto-immune disorder. While I may not always feel like I can give it my all, I know my kids are loved and cared for. Parents have many obstacles to overcome. I think it makes the bond greater and teachers children sympathy to others situations.

  6. I read your moving story and it saddens me too that there are so many restrictions on bringing a child into a loving home. Your health concerns should not be the final focus on such a decision. I feel for you.

    1. Thanks Elizabeth. Ot’s tough and I know eventually if I fight this things could be different but it’s a bit unfair. Kids do need healthy parents but there are disabled parents able and willing to give children homes and this usually is okay. I think the social workers just made assumptions in our case. We shall see what happens in future.

  7. So sorry to hear about your challenge Angela. My wife has Addison’s, and I totally understand what you and your husband go through on a daily basis. Thanks for sharing your story.

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