Thursday, May 23, 2013

When we get home

We have been waiting to write this post. We wanted to have Isaac in our arms first and spend a few weeks with him before we wrote it for a few reasons. Although we have done extensive research on the topic of attachment, we wanted to see for ourselves, our family, how this would affect us. We are still trying to figure it all out but we have come to a few conclusions.
Initially we thought the attachment process would be quick, that we would be able to get a lot of it "done" while we were here. We now know that it doesn't quite happen that way.
We are learning that attachment is lifelong and will be something we always work on with Isaac, that said the most important time for us is when we first have him home.
All that we are about to say has come from years of researching attachment and adoption. We have not just come up with these ideas on our own, but are borrowing them from scholars who are far wiser and experienced then we are.
Although, we will not always be perfect in this, we want to do what is best for Isaac. It is hard for us to keep him in "lock-down" as our hearts are to share him and allow everyone to love him. But if we do this too soon, we are doing him a disfavor. We are not teaching or showing him the trust and bond that come from a Father-son and Mother-son relationship. We are only showing him that we are disposable, that we can pass him around from person to person without it mattering to him.
Isaac has undergone great losses in his short life, greater losses then any of us will ever experience in our own lives. When a baby is conceived, they spend 9 months or so in their mother's wombs. They here her voice, feel her movements, find their nutrition from her, they know her. They say babies can recognize a picture of their mother only days after being born. Isaac was torn from this attachment at only 2 weeks old. Everything he knew, smells, tastes, sights, sounds, were all taken from him in one night. He then spent the next 11 months in two different orphanages...again adjusting to constant change of all these senses. It seems ludicrous, in light of this, to expect that after three short weeks he will have found complete security and trust in a completely new circumstance. Although, we feel he loves us and likes to be with us, this does not mean he is attached to us.
We watch him closely all the time for signs of attachment. He shows many when we are alone in our room, but when we go out he acts as though anyone could be his mother or father. He reaches for people, blows kisses at them, and the odd time he is taken in a strangers arms he does not seem too disturbed by this. These are the things we are working on.
We feel strongly, that we need Isaac to know who we are before he knows who anyone else is. It is most important to who he is and who he will be, the first and foremost he knows his Daddy and Mommy. That he understands that we are not going to leave him, forget about him, or abandon him.
Every child deserves to feel the unconditional love of a parent, and because this is happening to him later in life than usual, we have to use different tactics then most people would. We have to create a bond that teaches Isaac to be secure and confident. That he can go out into the world one day, and enter it feeling confident of who he is and where he has come from.
That said, we plan on spending 4 solid weeks (maybe longer depending how is goes) when we first arrive home, cocooning with Isaac in our house. This means we will not be leaving the house with Isaac during this time. We are doing this to respect what he has lost and to allow him to process what he is gaining. We want to give him time to settle in to his new house and new life. He has to adjust to different sights, sounds, smells, feels and tastes.

 *****We ask that no one comes over during this time unless we have invited you over during one of his naps or when he has gone to bed.*****

 Also we will let people know when we are ready to have people over or when we are ready to venture out of the house. We also ask that no one holds Isaac until we are ready to allow you to. We are being intentional during this time that he will know that he needs will be met by his mom and dad and not by strangers.
During the visits to the orphanage, we watched Isaac interact with his caregivers. It appeared to us that he had  favorites and then others that he did not show particular interest to. We can't be sure how many people he felt attached to, but it certainly was not just one. We need to teach him to attach to just two people instead of 15 different people. That we will provide for all his needs.
Now I say all this out of earthly wisdom ... but I can not fail to mention all the prayer that has gone into this as well. We realize that we can only do so much and that true attachment will be a gift given to us by God, a gift given through our hard work as well as a gift given supernaturally. We ask that you would pray for Isaac to attach to us as quickly as God allows him to. Please pray for us to have the patience as staying in a house for a month will be particularly hard for Arnie and I. Please pray for wisdom as we have been given the responsibility as Isaac's parents. We want him to emerge from our house a confident lion as we recognize he is entering as a scared mouse. Please pray he learns the roles of a Mommy and Daddy and learns that we are not disposable.
We thank-you all for your love and prayers for us as a family and we ask for you to continue as we enter this time of cocooning!!! We love you all so much and can't wait to play with you and spend time with you as healthy families.


  1. Very well said Rebekah and Arnie.

    Thank you for taking the time to share this information.

    We know that you are making these decisions for your family based on the love that God has given you for your baby and the knowledge of other's experiences with which he has blessed you.

    On the morning of the birth of my first child a very wise man told me, "Many people, with good and loving intentions, will offer you advice on how to raise your child. You need to listen politely, thank them and then do what God is telling you in your gut.". In twenty-one years his words have been proven again and again.

    You need to know that your community is here for you in prayer, practice and patience. We support your family as you do what is best for your baby ( I love saying that Isaac is your child) and that this village is here to answer your needs and to give you all the time and space that you need in this next important phase of family development.

    I found this little bit of encouragement while I was researching adoption and bonding:

    'Hope for parents

    As Christian parents, we have a significant, life-changing resource in the presence of the Holy Spirit. As promised by the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit brings peace — He is the one who provides a defense against the current stressors of life and the power of past trauma events. As parents, you can learn and invest all that you can for your child to be healthy and whole. But the Lord alone can reach into the depths of your child's heart and psyche where no one else can reach and bring healing.

    Remember the wise words of James 1:4, "Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." That verse encapsulates the parenting process: Endure. Trust. Relate. Grow. Enjoy.

    Sow the seeds of attachment and you will reap the harvest of a meaningful and peaceful relationship with your child.'

    1. Linda, your words are so wise and kind! Thank-you so much for your encouragement. Thank-you for researching and posting what you found. I fully agree that it is Jesus who does the true healing. You are a wise woman, lots of love from us :)

  2. I know this is a really hard thing for you guys to do... but I can tell you without any reservation that it is SO worth it in the long run! And yes, do have people over when he is in bed - otherwise you will go crazy and drive each other a bit nuts ;) But taking it slowly with new people is a wonderful gift you can give to him, and those of us anxiously waiting to meet him, will give you the gift of respecting you as parents to know when he is ready to meet more people.
    This might sound silly, but I am so proud of you guys for taking this step. <3

    1. Thanks Denise, I thank-you for going before us and giving us all your wisdom

  3. Beautifully written. Thank you for the sacrifice you are making for him <3 I understand this whole attachment thing and I know how tough it is and how rewarding. Praying for your beautiful little family <3