Adoptive family adapts to ‘the new normal’

April 11, 2020

The road to adoption finalization is long, with many twists and turns. Jeanette and her husband know that all too well. They first saw their soon-to-be-adopted son on the Colorado Heart Gallery over a year ago. Now, as the coronavirus pandemic delays ordinary and extraordinary life events, Jeanette is focusing on her children’s need for stability and structure amongst the uncertainty the crisis has created in their lives.

“We make sure we keep to a schedule and keep the structure we have created just like when he is in school,” said Jeanette, who is a teacher at an alternative high school for students who do not do well in a traditional academic environment. “He thrives on structure and being in a routine and keeping everything as normal as possible is what is best for all of us.” 

Concerned about her son getting behind in school again after he had been working hard to get caught up, Jeanette reached out to his teacher to find out what skills he should be working on during the break from school. In addition to school work, they are researching dinosaurs and reading and discussing a chapter of Bridge to Terabithia every day. Jeanette has also found fun creative projects to help keep him entertained. They painted a stained glass window, did chalk drawings in the driveway and planted a mushroom garden in a box.  

When it comes to working at home while teaching her own kids, Jeanette knows she has a lot to learn. 

“Hopefully, it will go well for me. If it doesn’t go as well as I planned, I’ll just keep swimming. The district is looking at the situation realistically and knows there are going to be challenges and wants to be supportive of us as well as students,” said Jeanette.

For now, the family continues as best they can. Jeanette’s son has been able to continue his visits with his caseworker and therapist over Zoom, but Jeanette acknowledges the uncertainty is tough for her as a mom. 

“Honestly, I had to take some breaks. It has been hard. I’m very much a planner and I don’t like the unknown, so it is hard to not know what is coming; I don’t like not knowing and not being able to stick to a plan,” said Jeanette. “I’m a Type A person and it is difficult for me to let go of structure and the plan.” 

Although dealing with so much change is challenging, Jeanette is finding ways to cope by taking time to check in with friends as well as taking time for self-care. 

“I am zooming with my best friends, we do a weekly girls night with wine! I go on walks by myself, take long bubble baths, and as the only girl in the house currently, I have my own spa days with charcoal masks and mani-pedi,” says Jeanette. “I’m not coming out if this quarantine looking like a Neanderthal!”

*Image courtesy of Jeanette.
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