So many of us in the Heritage Camps community have been thinking about the difficulties that come with transitions, particularly for adoptees. We are all struggling due to the lack of routine and social connections, but the effects are often compounded by the early loss and lack of stability experienced by many adoptees. Additionally, many of our kids are mourning milestones — like graduations, grade transitions, recitals, sporting events — that they were eagerly awaiting to celebrate with their friends. 

It can be extremely helpful to gain a deeper understanding of where our kids’ emotions and behaviors are coming from. When we’re in the heat of frustrating behaviors, it’s even more important to try to come from a place of understanding and empathy.   

We wanted to share two very helpful resources that were published prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, but are applicable to so much of what our families are experiencing right now.  

In Goodbye School, Hello Loss: The Adoptee and End of Year Transition, Kelly DiBenedetto reminds us:

“Many times, transitions are not planned ahead, and there is no collaborative process that engages the child in the decision-making that leads to moves and losses, leaving our children feeling uncertain, with limited or no control over their reality or circumstances. It is because of these compounding experiences that adoptees often struggle with transitions big and small and can experience great anxiety surrounding changes.”

Ziola Lopez, Clinical Director of World Association for Children and Parents explains various changes in emotions and behavior, “Our kids may experience a global sense of insecurity and as a result, respond with active resistance to changes in routines or environments. These feelings and the response they evoke can make them seem fearful, anxious, and sometimes even angry or hyperaroused (emotionally and physiologically tense and reactive). Hyperaroused children are hypervigilant and incapable of adequately interpreting the emotional aspects of a situation, which can result in inadequate social interactions with both adults and peers.”

HCAF community: What are some specific things you’ve done to support your kids in dealing with the loss of routine, and the unknowns ahead? 

What has helped you cope when your kids are struggling, and you want to respond in a positive and supportive way? Let’s share our tips with our community!