Wednesday, January 29, 2014
As we did after coming home with Lil Guy upon bringing Blessing #6 home we will be having a time of “cocooning” – basically we just stay at home as much as possible (very minimal away from home events), we won’t be introducing lots of new people, and hubby and I will be the primary caregivers for all of her needs. It is a time where we begin to establish a strong relationship between us and our little girl. Our agency suggests this time frame minimum of 6 weeks to 3 months sometimes even longer (as we needed with Lil Guy). We have even read that the length of the cocooning period varies, but a general rule of thumb is one month for every year that the child received sub-standard care or was not with you.
In many ways, our daughter will be like the children who entered our family through birth; we will parent like other Christian families as we bring all of them up in the instruction and discipline of the Lord. But there will be a few, initial differences. For years now, we have researched bonding and attachment in children, especially those coming home through adoption.
According to Patti M. Zordich, Ph.D. cocooning is one of the most important things you can do to develop a secure, trusting, strong relationship between you and your newly adopted child. http://www.lianalowenstein.com/articlesParentAdoptedChild.pdf Cocooning helps adopted children adjust to their new home and family with minimal overstimulation. Along with helping her to understand that we are her dad and mom and will meet her needs.
What we will do: Dad or Mom and will be the only ones to hold, feed, change, rock, put Blessing #6 to bed. We will be “wearing” her often in our Ergo baby carrier, she will be co-sleeping with us in our room, read books, cuddle, play with simple toys, and listen to music. We will limit visitors in our home for a little bit then family and friends that are very close to our family. Obviously she will be coming home to a house full of excited siblings and they will all get to hold her and play with her but all her basic needs and majority of the time will be with hubby or I. Also, Lil Guy already has ways he can “help” her by sharing his toys and he has decided he will teach her words (so sweet).
For a while we will not be taking her out to grocery shopping, to stores, church, or other public places. Even with her special need we have some doctor appointments scheduled when we come home but those will be limited until she is more comfortable with us.
We are confident of this: God’s design is PERFECT! His plan for parents and children is a beautiful and meaningful picture of His love for us. Attachment between a parent and child occurs over time when a baby has a physical or emotional need and communicates that need. The primary caretaker (usually mommy) meets the need and soothes the child. This repeats between a parent and child over and over to create trust within the child for that parent; the baby is hungry, cries in distress, mom nurses & calms the baby – which teaches them that this person is safe and can be trusted. By God’s very design, an emotional foundation is laid in the tiniest of babies, which will affect their learning, conscience, growth and future relationships. The security provided by parents will, ultimately, give children a trust for and empathy towards others. Children who come home through adoption have experienced interruptions in this typical attachment process. The loss of a biological mother at an early age can be a major trauma on their little hearts. The good news is that we can now, as Blessing #6’s parents and forever family, rebuild attachment and help her heal from these emotional wounds. When she comes home, she will be overwhelmed. Everything around her will be new and she will need to learn not just about her new environment, but also about love and family. The best way for us to form a parent/child bond is to be the ones to hold, snuggle, instruct, soothe and feed her. As this repeats between us, she will be able to learn that parents are safe to trust and to love deeply. With cocooning we are, essentially, recreating the newborn/parent connection.
Blessing #6 will have, what may seem like, a lot of structure, boundaries and close proximity to us. Please know that these decisions are prayerfully and thoughtfully made choices based on immense amounts of research and instruction from trusted adoption mentors. We will be doing what we believe is best to help her heal from those interruptions in attachment as effectively as possible.
While cocooning can be very lonely, exhausting and some days super challenging we seen many benefits with Lil Guy and know that in the long run our children will be able to have healthy relationships later if they have secure attachment to us first. We would appreciate your prayers for our family during that time.
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Dear Family and Friends,
As we prepare for the arrival of our precious daughter, we have learned that while preparing our home and stocking up on baby essentials is important, even more important is the emotional health of our baby. In her short life, our daughter will have gone through more changes and life altering experiences than most adults could handle. Imagine how much harder the changes will be for her. While she may not consciously remember the events, she will still experience immense loss, including feelings of grief and trauma. She's already experienced the loss of a birthmother and will soon experience the loss of familiar and comforting caretakers as well as the sights, smells, and language of her birth country. Her world will turn upside down. She will struggle with feeling safe and secure and she may lack the ability to trust that we will meet her needs.
We have prepared to meet her emotional needs so that she does learn that we will always take care of her and we will always keep her safe. We need your support. In order to form a strong and healthy attachment we will allow her to regress so that she has the opportunity to go through all of the emotional stages with us despite her chronological age. Although it may appear that we are spoiling her, we have been advised that it is best that we meet every need quickly and consistently. Until she has learned that we are her parents, we will need to be her primary caretakers at all times. It is essential that we always hold her, feed her, and do all of the nurturing. You may wonder how long this will take, but the timeline is different for every child. We will follow her lead and trust our instincts as her parents rather than worry about what society expects.
We have all been waiting anxiously for our daughter to arrive but she has not been waiting for us. She may show her grief and confusion in many ways and we are prepared to help her through it and prove that we are a forever family and this truly is her last stop. We trust that as our family and friends you will help us to do what is best for our daughter, and we thank you in advance for your support and understanding.
We are incredibly blessed to have so many loved ones around us. We couldn’t ask for a a better extended family & circle of friends for our precious children. Thank you so much for your prayers, love and support. If you have any questions feel free to ask any time!
Monday, January 20, 2014
“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?"
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.”
“Forgiveness is not an occasional act. It is a permanent attitude.”
Thursday, January 16, 2014
Phew! See this post regarding the beard…
What an exciting week- we got a call from our caseworker last Thursday letting us know we got our travel approval. We were hoping to go before Chinese New Year which is the end of the month. Our agency tried to get our embassy appointment before-which meant we would have had to leave this week… but US Consulate didn’t have any openings. Which is fine and less hectic! We know that God’s timing is always best and we are so excited that we will have our daughter in our arms soon. We leave in the morning on February 4 arrive in Beijing in the afternoon on the 5th. We are going to tour Beijing for a couple days. We fly to our daughters province on the 8th and have her in our arms on the 9th! While in her province we are planning on taking a train to the city she was found at and visiting the orphanage she went through. We then fly to Guangzhou to have her US medical done and visa appointment at the US Consulate. We return home in the evening of February 21st. We are thrilled to be at this point of the journey yet sad knowing all that our little girl has gone through and what she will have to go through in the next couple weeks. Everything will change for her and all that is familiar to her will be gone – it breaks our hearts for her. We are humbled that we get to be her parents and thankful that the Lord has called us to be on this journey again. Please be in prayer for our little girls heart and for us all as we are attaching and bonding to each other.
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
We were so excited to finally get to hold our son! It made the long flight from Washington D.C to Addis Ababa worth it. On our plane there was 4 other families with our agency! There were 3 of us couples all sitting right by each other which was so fun and a nice blessing.
We had all just got to the hotel exhausted after the flight and Wa*s from our agency's transition home offered to come pick us all up so we could meet our children that day instead of waiting till the next morning…um like we would say no!
We loaded in the bus and finally arrived in front of the gates to Hannah's Hope!
Hubby on the “famous” staircase that leads to the baby rooms upstairs. After that hubby lost me because once they opened the door to the green room where our son was-I was off! It was feeding time immediately I saw him and scooped him up.
We got to spend several hours there that day. It was a surreal feeling, finally holding your child that you have been praying for and loving for months from a distance.
While there that day we fed him his cereal and bottle
and got to snuggle during nap time…so sweet.
When we left there we were even more exhausted! We got back to the hotel grabbed something to eat with one of the couples we traveled with and then went to bed!
The next day we felt much better!
Ethiopia turned to a two trip country the day after we submitted our country paperwork! The purpose of the 1st trip is for court appointment. The second trip you complete the adoption process with your US embassy appointment. So we had to leave our son there and returned 2 months later to bring him home-that was hard to do after spending the week loving on him.
So thankful for you little guy! We are blessed to have you in our family. Love you forever.