Dear Friends and Family,
As you all know Mia Grace will be coming home soon (we still don't have exact date, but trust it will be soon). Of course, we are very excited and can't wait to have her home, but we know this will be a scary time for her. Her whole life is about to drastically change and she will lose everything that is familiar and comfortable for her. Because we know you care for our family, we want to share some information that we hope will best equip everyone around Mia to assist us in laying the strongest and healthiest foundation-physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
One of the main things we will be focusing on when Mia comes home is attachment. Attachment is the process of Mia learning to trust Justin and I, to trust that we will always care for her and love her. Attachment with our other two children happened naturally when we brought them home from the hospital. When they cried, we responded and as this repeated often they learned that Mommy and Daddy would always care for them. Our daughter has been living in an orphanage with different care givers for the past three years. She will have to learn what a Mommy and Daddy are and learn that she can trust us. Children who come home through adoption have experienced trauma to their little hearts due to many interruptions in the typical attachment process.
So now our job is to help Mia's heart heal. We know that only the Lord can truly heal her and we are so blessed to already see His hand working in her young life. We pray that He will lead and guide us on how to practically help her. She needs to trust that we will always love her, never hurt her, never leave her, and that we will always meet her needs.
When she comes home she will likely be very overwhelmed. Everything around her will be new and she will need to learn not only about her new environment, but also about love and a family. She has not experienced God's design for a family in an orphanage setting. The best way for us to form a parent/child bond with Mia is for us to be the ones who hold, snuggle, soothe, instruct, and care for her. We are, essentially, recreating the newborn/parent connection. So, in the beginning we will keep her world very small, only her immediate family. This means for the first few months that she is home we will stick pretty close to our house. We will limit contact with other people, so that we can focus on our daughter and she can focus on us. As we see that she is establishing a healthy bond with us, we will branch out and help her develop other healthy relationships.
Initially Mia will have a lot of structure, boundaries, and will always be in close proximity to us. So, you may be wondering why we are telling you all of this. Well, you play a vital role in helping our family to adjust and in helping Mia settle in to her new world. We have experienced so much love and care as we have prepared to bring our daughter home. We know she is loved by many already and we want you to know the best ways to help our family.
The first thing we need you to do is to help us set up boundaries for our daughter. It will help if you limit physical contact with her in the beginning. This will include normal things like hugging, kissing, and holding. Waving, high fives (she loves to give high fives), and blowing kisses are completely appropriate and welcomed! Please know that we want nothing more than for our sweet Mia to be loved, cherished, and cuddled by all of you (she is totally huggable and adorable). But until she has a firm understanding of what a family is, we would truly appreciate you directing her to us when she is seeking out affection, comfort, or food. Over time, as Mia learns that we are her parents, it will be perfectly ok to treat her like you do Sawyer and Jaxon.
While we are in our little "cocoon" we will still need our friends and family. We want to stay connected with all of you and we know this may be a little harder when we first bring our daughter home. We will limit where we go at first. Our daughter has only been in her orphanage, so I am sure you can imagine how overwhelming places like Wal-Mart can be. Things like running small errands or help with meals would be a huge help to us. Another way you can help our family is by reaching out to our boys. I am sure they will be going a little stir-crazy with spending so much time at home. We want to try to keep their lives as normal. Also, Meredith is going to be spending a lot of time at home and will need her friends to give her a supply of life. Phone calls, e-mails, and visits when possible will be very important and appreciated.
We are so blessed to have such amazing friends and family!!! You are part of the reason we even wanted to adopt in the first place. We didn't want to keep the love we have from all of you to ourselves. We honestly could not have completed this adoption without your love, support, and prayers. We love you all!
Justin and Meredith