Saturday, May 21, 2016

Dear Family and Friends

Dear Family and Friends:

First, I know a number of people have asked about meeting us at the airport when we arrive home, and the answer is yes! We will be so excited to see anyone who can meet us at the gate and welcome our new family of three home. Please check out and join our Facebook group "Jet Landing" for detailed flight information. If you do plan to greet us at the gate, we ask that you please do not touch or show affection to Jet as well as limit direct eye contact and communication with him. Remember, this little guy will have had a lot of new experiences in a very short period of time and in addition most likely tired, overstimulated, and scared.

Please keep reading to see how you can help us in the coming weeks...

Derek and I are beyond thankful for the love and support you have all shown us thus far. We are so excited to welcome Jet into our family and know that you are too. We recognize the changes coming our way, especially those for little Jet, and after a lot of thought, prayer, and research we'd appreciate your help and support in the future to make sure Jet's transition to our family is complete. While some of the ways we parent will be the same as parenting a biological child, there will also be some differences. We realize that some of these methods may be unfamiliar to many of you, but we ask that you respect our decisions. It is not our desire to cause any hurt feelings, but I think we can all agree that we all want what's best for Jet!

Our main priority is for Jet to feel safe and secure in his new environment and to learn to trust us as his new parents. That may sound strange--why wouldn't he trust us? After all, by the time we get home, we will have been his sole caregivers for almost two weeks! Plus, he's so young! Surely he will adjust quickly!

That may be true--he will trust us to an extent to meet his basic needs. Please remember however, that just like a newborn and caregiver are starting from the very beginning, we too are starting at the "beginning" with Jet. Adoption is traumatizing regardless of age! New parents, hotel rooms, airplane, more hotels, more planes, cars, new house, new room, new foods, new smells, new clothes, new routines...I could go on but I'm sure you get the drift. Jet needs to know that whatever his needs are, we, as his parents, will be the ones to meet them.

To do that, we will be limiting the number of visitors and his interactions with new people and experiences. In fact, for the first two weeks or so that he is home he won't be leaving the house! If you do plan to drop off a meal or grocery shop, as I know many of you have signed up to do (Thank you!!) please just come to the door and one of us will meet you there. After those two weeks or more if he needs it are up we will slowly start to introduce him to new experiences. For example, we may attempt church on a Sunday and if that goes well then head for groceries on Monday. If not, then we will stay home again for a few days.

Up until now, you may be thinking that Jet will be terribly withdrawn and shy and scared of his shadow but actually, many families experience the opposite. Jet may be friendly, outgoing, extroverted, etc. Children in orphanages are used to going to an adult--any adult--and asking for what they need. This means when you do come to visit or we see you somewhere, he may walk up to you and ask to be picked up or for a drink or a snack or rocked or any number of things--and, here is where we desperately need your help--please do not do any of those things and redirect him to either Derek or me. I know. I just asked you to not help or hug or kiss the cute toddler and go against everything you know to be true in this world. But please, remember again, that Jet needs to learn who his parents are and what parents do.

Please also remember that there is no time limit and this too shall pass! Some children can be well-adjusted within a few months and some may take a year--regardless of age! There will not be a "The ban has been lifted!" announcement free-for-all party at our place announcing that Jet is "fully attached!" No, it will be more of a gradual process most likely filled with a "two steps forward, one step back" kind of progress. Honestly? Our hope is that it's so gradual no one will even notice and in a few months, or a year, or whatever it takes, he will be a happy and well-adjusted little boy who knows he has family and friends who love him.

By no means are we implying that we are experts on the subject of attachment! I am 100% positive there will be times we mess up, but--in addition to everything else we're asking you--please show us some grace? It's our first time as parents, you know! If you want to read about this "Cocooning" method further, there are a number of books about the subject (Recommended reading: The Connected Child)  and any number of blog posts from "been there done that" families. Thank you for your understanding and help while we all try to get used to our new normal!