April 2006: Two weeks have passed since hitting the tarmac with a new child, and jet leg was finally releasing its grip on me. If for no other reason, THAT was the reason to stay home and cocoon… we had been gone at least two weeks so didn’t it stand to reason staying home for two was proportional? Does a body SO good to be home… the old saying is gospel~ There is NO place like home.
As I described in my last post, ‘teaching and modeling’ family and home for our children is our greatest work. How are they going to understand who mama, daddy, and siblings are if we mix them in with everyone else in the world?
There must be a distinct difference between orphanage life and family life, and it must be an intentional practice; best not skipped or hurried.
For our family the strict cocooning life I described Wednesday lasts about two weeks. After that, we begin a more relaxed way of building family and home. Still cocooning but finding a new normal in the day to day. It is safe to say, life will be never be like is was before this new child came home. It can’t. Another precious one takes a portion of our time now, and adjusting to this shift takes work.
This relaxed cocooning stage lasts as long as it lasts… simple and true. For one family it might be six weeks because that’s how long parents have leave from work. MAKE IT COUNT! It may last for two months, three or six.
When EK came home, I had taken leave from teaching with summer looming in front of me. I didn’t think I would go back but kept it as a choice until we were home. God made a way for me to stay home full time, and I am SO thankful He did. This baby would take my every waking minute (and night ones too) to build trust as well as love the brokenness away. She was terrified to be left alone and still to this day, it is her biggest fear. Once home, she NEVER wanted to be confined in a bed, pack and play, exersaucer, or high chair, because that is where she spent her whole orphanage life. She had a mama now, and she would be in my arms or by my side all the time… safety and security was her ultimate need and my greatest responsibility.
At the time our three older daughters were in school and needed me just as much, so I was pulled in many directions. I confess cocooning EK was new to me, and I hadn’t experienced the fruit of that labor. It really wasn’t as important as it should have been. I didn’t follow all the guidelines I shared in the last post, and the result of that was lasting orphanage trauma: head banging, food aversions, night terrors, no naps, and constant over stimulation. I am in no way saying IF I had cocooned better, none of those things would have occurred, BUT I believe it would have been less severe with an extended home time.
We brought her home and went on with life as usual. We actually landed on US soil on her birthday and thought we needed to celebrate her day even though we were jet lagged like a beast! Do you think she knew what was going on? She slept through the ENTIRE party~
She was a new baby in tow while I went to eat lunch with girls at school, attended their conferences and programs, drove them to school, etc, etc, etc. I chalked all her behaviors up to being newly home and still adjusting, true but so much more. I had never heard the term cocooning and had no idea how much respite was needed for this sweet one.
Time and maturity on my part would begin to teach me how to parent this new baby with trauma in her past. There was lots of reading, trial and error, and adoptive friends who would shed light on our life of adoption. It would take intentional choices to begin the healing process, and our big girls would grow to understand the adoption life was very much a family endeavor requiring much understanding and sharing from them.
We decided Scott would take a bigger role with the big girls’ school needs and extracurricular activities. It was good for him to take this big step in parenting them giving me more time with EK time at home. If the girls wanted me at their function, I left EK at home with her daddy, and I went. It was the best choice for everyone because EK was where she needed to be, and I was able to give our big girls the attention and love they deserved as well!
Good News: EK is a beautiful, amazing, gifted girl in spite of all the mistakes we made. God covered us with lots of grace and much of how we cocoon now was learned in bringing her home. Hope these confessions help build community as we band together raising miracles for Jesus!
Things We Learned:
Psalm 68:6 says “God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy. But he makes the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.”
I believe IF God places our children in our family, He will give us everything we need at the very moment we need it IF WE ASK. Our help comes from the LORD~ Psalm 121:2 “My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Being in tune with God in adoption is the ONLY way it is successful. Our strength in the hard, our patience in the hard, our love in the hard comes from God not in ourselves. Did you notice HARD in all those phrases?
Adoption is HARD but SO Worthy, Beautiful, and Holy! 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” It IN Jesus alone, we find our way through weakness. Trust Him to give you ALL.
Next Post: Ways to Make Cocooning Successful the First Months Home