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August 2021 – North Dakota Post Adopt Network
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Monthly Archives

August 2021

School Year Transition

By | Parenting

For many, the month of August marks the beginning of a new school year, whether that is public school or homeschooling. Due to the multiple changes with the education system last year during the pandemic, youth (and adults) may experience a variety of emotions preparing for the start of the school year. During the summer months, many youth get out of routine with different summer activities and events, family vacations, and summer nights.

Here are some different ways to help your child (and yourself) get ready for the transition back to school:

  • Practice your school routine a few weeks before school starts, including going to bed earlier each night and getting up earlier.
  • Establish a nighttime routine. Prepping lunches for the next day and picking and laying out clothes the night before can help create a more calm morning.
  • For youth going into Kindergarten, practice eating lunch and supper within the appropriate timespan they will be given at school. Lunchtime at school can be very short and new students can typically feel overwhelmed with the change.
  • For any youth who may be feeling anxious or nervous, you can take a school tour, meet the teacher(s), and practice any forms of transportation.
  • For families who choose to homeschool, it can be helpful to have all the necessary and needed supplies, and create a school/workspace for lessons.
  • It can be helpful to plan out after-school snacks and suppers to help with the nighttime routine and flexibility.
  • Planning out schedules (school, work, sports) for each family member can also be beneficial.

This blog post was written by Post Adopt Coordinator, Jaclyn Stroehl, LBSW

Acknowledging and Working Through Loss

By | Parenting

Darcy, Post Adopt Coordinator, shares tips on working through loss with your adoptive child:

Acknowledging and Working Through Loss

Adoption is a beautiful blessing, but with this blessing comes a tremendous amount of loss.  Youth experience loss of birth family, culture and first home environment.  Loss follows youth throughout their life, and a youth may be triggered by loss through various tasks, senses, and memories.  Youth may need to readdress their losses at different developmental milestones throughout their life.  It’s important to help youth acknowledge and grieve their losses, so they can begin to heal.  Below is a list of a few ways you as a parent can assist and support your youth with the losses in their life:

  • Give your child permission to grieve the loss of his birth family without guilt.
    • Suggest times and places where your child is welcome to express their grief, and ways in which they can grieve.
    • Talking, journaling, drawing, or venting feelings through exercise are just a few options.
  • Create a “loss box.”
    • The youth can put items in the box that represent the different losses they have
    • By creating this loss box and putting items in it, it allows the youth to create and partake in a ritual that acknowledges their loss.
    • The youth will have a tactile object that allows them to revisit their losses in the future when they wish to do so
  • Redefine what creates a family.
    • Families may continue to change over time
      • Families may grow larger, and in certain circumstances, the members of our family may leave and our family may become smaller
    • Continue to have conversations about what family is, what it means, as your child may need to address this throughout various stages, and as the family dynamics may change
    • Be open to what your child has to say, as the child may have a great, broader view of what family is
  • Include birth parents/birth family members in pictorial representations of the adoptive family tree.
    • One option would be to depict an orchard where trees grow side by side.
    • The birth family, former foster families, or other significant people in the child’s life can be other trees in the same family orchard.
  • Keep your expectations reasonable.
    • A child’s need to grieve over their losses will not be fully cured, fixed, or resolved in any predetermined time frame, if ever.
    • Let your child know that feelings related to these losses will come and go at different times in her life.
      • Help your child find a safe person to whom they can express the feelings associated with their loss (this may be a therapist, a teacher, a coach).
    • Model normal, healthy responses to loss.
      • If you or your partner suffers a loss, share your feelings openly.
      • Let your children see you mourn, so they can learn how you express sadness and anger about loss.
      • For male children, seeing an adult man cry can be especially instructive.

This blog post was written by Post Adopt Coordinator, Darcy Solem, LBSW