Adjusting - A few tweaks and you're on your way. Minor changes to accommodate to minor changes, while most of your life and circumstances remain same.
Adapting - Something major has happened, and you won't be able to survive unless you make major changes within yourself, and across most areas of your life.
When your teenager goes off to college v. when your teenager dies
When your department changes v. when your company endures a hostile takeover
When your husband takes up fitness and moves a treadmill into living room v. when your husband takes a mistress and moves her into your place at lake
ADJUSTING: A chameleon adjusts. When it finds itself on a green leaf, it turns green. When it moves to a brown twig, it turns brown. It's a minor adjustment, changing color of its skin.
ADAPTING: A tadpole adapts. In order to be able to live on dry land, it must lose its tail and gills, grow legs and start using lungs. It must learn to breathe air, not water.
ADJUSTING: Mary had an adjustment to make. She had moved across town. She had to learn a new route to work, meet some new neighbors, familiarize herself with location of hospitals, grocery stores and gas stations, and get used to an electric stove instead of a gas stove.
ADAPTING: Letitia moved from US to Russia. She had to learn a new culture and a new language.
ADJUSTMENT REQUIRED: Ben got a divorce. Though he had not been dating her, he had fallen back in love with his high school sweetheart. When he divorced, he started dating his sweetheart, remained in same home, had custody of his two children, kept same job, place at lake, and maintained his strong network of friendships.