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Supporting adoptive families in a time of crisis

At CHSVA we strive to be a resource to our families and youth in the adoption and foster spheres. During a time of increased stress and decreased routine, we wanted to offer some helpful ideas and resources for families who want to be proactive or may be having a hard time. We know children, teens, and youth who have experienced trauma and disrupted attachment can be more impacted by changes to their environment and increased stress. We also know many of the supports our families have thoughtfully incorporated into their lives may be removed at this time due to a priority of health and safety. So here are some helpful thoughts, may they assist your family and community through these challenging times.

  1. Keep calm, and keep communicating
    Our kids look to us for everything, from the location of their shoes to how they should be reacting in a time of crisis. We may also be spending significantly more time together in close quarters than we usually do. It is important to explain in an age appropriate way, what is happening with the current coronavirus/COVID-19 and why their routines are changing. If you are stressed yourself, make sure to process your feelings with a spouse, friend, loved one or professional, but ensure you do this privately. Small ears can hear a lot more than we sometimes realize! So please, do what you need to do within your support network to manage your stress appropriately, but do communicate openly with your children and teens. Addressing stress and changes up front can lead to reduced anxiety down the road.
  2. Structure = safety
    Knowing what to expect in any situation, a meeting, a gym class, or a social situation, can ease anyone’s anxious feelings. Our kids and teens are the same way. Doing some planning and spending time letting your children and teens know what they will be doing each day while schools, activities, and schedules are continually changing, can be a big help in reducing the anxiety they experience. You don’t need to have every minute planned or a perfectly Pinterest schedule posted, but giving some guidelines to how you will spend your time each day, reviewing this as a family, and answering any questions or accepting suggestions can be a good preventive way to ward off anxiety.
  3. Focus on connection and care
    While social distancing may have folks thinking we are going to be more separated, parents may have a unique opportunity to spend more time connecting with their children and teens. Playing games, doing creative activities, and getting outside are great ways to add in quality time that can lead to positive gains for our young people who may still be catching up and catching on to a healthy attachment style.

Need more help?

Our Post Adoption staff is here! If you have a specific challenge or area you would like some help planning and problem-solving with for your adoptive or pre-adoptive family please let us know! We are still providing our Parent Coaching services online and over the phone; families in the Richmond area can contact Sara VanderPloeg at [email protected] and families in the Fredericksburg area can contact Anna Yates at [email protected].

We have also identified some websites with helpful ideas and information for our families, please check them out!

Great resources for connection, correction, and ideas for promoting attachment:

Offering a free online course for parents to help during this crisis:

Trying to incorporate more play? Here are some helpful tips!