Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

James 1:27

He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves.

Ephesians 1:5-6

Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.

Isaiah 1:17

Saturday, October 12, 2013

"What to Expect When Your Expecting"

Some of you mamma's out there probably remember reading this book. I myself read a lot of the pages in it, though not all. Page upon page about what to do if your baby is crying, what that small rash is forming on their tiny little legs. How to help them fall asleep and how to wrap them up tight before bed. Something I never remember reading was how it is clinically proven that the love, soothing tone and loving touch of the mothers skin on her new born baby, helps the babies brain to develop. Or that by simply feeding your baby when it is time to eat, or changing their diaper when they are wet or dirty, teaches your baby that they are loved, they are secure and that they can trust this woman called mommy.

I suppose one of the reasons it isn't in the book is because it seems like a no brainier to most to love nurture and take care of our baby and give them what they need. Yet, for an orphan, many of these things were lacking in their young infant lives. Many were dropped off at train stations, left behind on buses or in the hospital rooms, or at gates of police stations or the orphanage gates. Many never had the chance to be taught to trust, having to cry and have no one hear them, be hungry and have no one bring them food, sit in a dirty diapers for hours before someone took the time to finally look their way, or just simply lay in a crib for hours on their backs while time ticked away. Then later learn to trust even less as the older children fought to take their food and have no one to take the time to step in and help them.

       All of this is likely how both of our sweet children have been living all of their lives. I am grateful that Nina seems to be in a nice orphanage, as far as orphanages go, and Isac is with a foster family who I pray stepped in and filled in the gap for his biological mother until we can go get him. That's not to say that any orphanage or foster family can take the place of being with their forever family though.

    I say all this to give you a glimpse as to why doctors, physiologist and adoptive parents who have been there, recommend cocooning. Cocooning is when a family comes home with a child from an orphanage and they try to stay close to home for a month (or more or less depending on the children). In a sense helping them to trust their small home environment before they step out into the rest of our families lives outside the home. Our children will be losing allll that is normal to them. Their sights, their smells, their care takers, the children around them and even people who look like them. All of this will be very very overwhelming and may take a while for them to process and get used to. We want to create a trusting environment for them that they know is their safe space and theirs.

We need to be the ones to feed them, wipe away their tears and give them snuggles, as a way to build that newborn-parent relationship.  Isac may have some idea of what a family is, Nina not at all, and they need to learn when they are hungry or need security, we fill in the roll of the ones who do that for them. We need to build trust that we will always be there to protect and provide for them the very best we can.

In all this we need your help as well (you all thought you were done helping us didn't you. ;)) Children in orphanage settings have a really hard time not attaching to anyone and everyone, especially those they may see often or who give them things so it is very important that they don't get excessive hugs or kisses from anyone other than us for awhile until they are very secure with their role with us as the parents as it can hinder that relationship. That is not to say we want you to ignore them or anything but a simple short hug or high five is fine. And we ask for awhile that we are the ones giving them any gifts or food or attention as most of their lives they have gotten what they wanted from other caretakers by "being overly friendly" (a survival trait)  and them trying to get that from others can harm their attachment to us.

      We say all this knowing ALL children and families are different, no two are the same, so what we do is something we have prayed and learned about ourselves and not what we think everyone should or needs to do themselves. I write all this to give you a heads up on how we will start off when we get home. We may get home and discover that Nina and Isac never seemed to pick up on the normal orphanage habits. I know some have expressed wanting to bring meals and/or meeting us at the airport which we would LOVE and be so honored. Know we love each one of you and are so so very thankful for all the love you have poured on us! Just as a mom with a newborn, we know our cocooning is only a season and may not need to be as intense as we are planning on. Only God knows that, so for now we are following what we feel He has led us to do! And that we will be out in the real world again, coming to birthday parties and play dates again!

Thank you all for your love, support and encouragement! YOU mean the WORLD to us!!

*Prayer request-we are on day 5 of our TA (travel approval) wait!! We so hope to get it this week!!! Please pray that when we do we can find good plane tickets for Josh's mom and aunt who are coming to help take care of our children!

Love you all! If you have ANY questions about any of this we would be more than happy to answer any that we can. Here are a few more sites that explain some of what we were talking about.

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