I feel like I’ve spent the majority of the past two days out of breath. Preparing for a trip across the world is never a small affair, but preparing for a trip that will result in the addition of a new family member is even more complicated!
Ready or Not, Here She Comes!
My whole life is about to change, and I can’t help but wonder, “Am I ready for this?” I’m sure that all of the experienced moms out there would assure me, “Of course you’re not!” :)
But ready or not, Evangelle will be here soon, and Joseph and I will do the best that we can by God’s grace to love and serve her in ways that honor Him. Even though Evangelle is just as much our daughter as she would be if she’d been birthed from my body, the beginning of our life together will look quite a bit different than it would if we were Evangelle’s biological parents.
In this post, I’m going to explain some of those differences for the benefit of our friends and family members as well as for those of you with friends who are also in the process of adoption.
A Different Way of Doing Things
Although Joseph and I already feel completely attached to our little miracle, Evangelle still has almost no earthly clue who we are! When we pick her up from the foster home where she’s spent the last four months, we’ll be turning her little world entirely upside down.
All she’s ever known will effectively vanish when we walk out that door. From that point on, she’ll experience new sights, feelings, foods, clothing, people, organic green smoothies, and everything else under the sun.
One of the wonderful things about the Ethiopian culture is that the people there are more affectionate toward one another than people in many other countries are. This fact is a blessing, because Evangelle has been held, kissed, and loved well by the many nannies who have cared for her throughout her life.
The challenge though, is to help her understand that Mommy and Daddy are her parents, not just a couple of new nannies! She’s never had parents before, so we’ll have to teach her what that means.
Bonding & Attachment
As soon as we take Evangelle into our care, our focus will be on bonding and attachment. We need to help her understand that from now on, she should expect Mommy and Daddy to take care of her and provide for her needs.
So here’s where things will be a bit different and maybe even hard for some to understand…
Once we return from Ethiopia, we’re pretty much going to remain sequestered at home for the first several weeks. In the early days, we’ll limit visitors to close friends and family members, but here’s the tricky part: Joseph and I will be the only ones who hold, hug, kiss, feed, clothe, bathe, or diaper Evangelle.
Of course, I’m sure no one feels inclined to argue over that last point.
In addition, I plan on wearing a wrap to carry Evangelle close to me as much as possible throughout the day. The purpose of all of this is to help Evangelle adjust to her new life as smoothly and securely as possible and to attach to us as her parents instead of equating us with all of the other caretakers she’s had in her life.
As time goes on, we’ll gradually resume our normal activities and will look forward to introducing Evangelle to our life and friends outside the walls of our home.
As much as we are able, we hope to create an environment for Evangelle, especially in the beginning, that is loving, stable, secure, and consistent—a home where she can flourish and grow into the person God intends for her to be. Joseph and I feel incredibly honored to play this vital role in God’s plan for our daughter’s life!