We are so humbled and grateful at everything you all have done for us and for Jack, a little boy you haven't even met yet! Your support, your prayers, your love, your emails, your facebook comments have meant so much! And, thank you for allowing us to do this blog. It is has been very therapeutic to write a blog post each day. Know that there were many hard moments each day - sick kids, tantrums, and Jack's struggles with many things (food, brushing teeth, sleep, clothes, etc) - but blogging allowed us to see the beauty in each day and for that I am so grateful!
As we journey home, we wanted to give you an honest idea of what to expect both at the airport and in the coming weeks.
What this will be like for Jack
While we have had a long time to prepare for him, only your prayers and what little the orphanage caregivers were able to do have helped Jack prepare. While they did what they could, and he may be saying mama and baba at those pictures we sent him, he can't fully understand that those people are his parents yet. He has no capacity to know what parents or siblings are. For almost every day of his life, he slept in the same spot and stared at the same ceiling when he was trying to fall asleep. He has seen his friends leave the orphanage, but never quite understood why they didn't return. Because of the trauma he has faced in terms of abandonment, and lack of touch and one-on-one love and care, wounds have been left and it will take time for those wounds to heal. So, this trip "home" doesn't feel like a trip home to him. He may be confused and disoriented.
What to expect at the airport
We are excited to meet family and friends at the airport! We can't wait to see your faces. “Welcome Home” signs, taking pictures and videos would be a great blessing to us! And please hug our necks! However, please do not bring gifts and do take Jack from us. We may just hold him the whole time so he feels safe. If he reaches for you, please direct him back to us. If we do put him down, please do not pick him up. Feel free to talk to Jack, though. Keep in mind that the only English words he knows are mama, eat, and car so he will probably not understand you. You can always point to us and say "mama" and "baba" to remind him who we are. Also, y'all- we have been in China for 2 weeks so we may not smell our best. Give us grace. :) So ready for this sweet time!
Our approach to the first few months home
We anticipate jet lag for for the first week home. We will focus our time on connecting as a family of six. For the first couple of months, we will live a pretty simple life. Limited trips out. This is partly because it will take time for him to understand that we are his parents and partly because we will be tired. For Jack to thrive he needs to know that we will take care of him. He needs to know that he can give up his survival mode. We feel, initially, he has begun this process very well. He seems to be attaching to us here. But when we get home, out of his familiar surroundings, we need to be ready for things to be completely different. This isn't the glamorous part. This is when we parent and love and grow into a family with a new child who has come from a hard place. The reality of his past doesn't go away overnight. Prayerfully, with time, we think he will develop a strong sense of security and true joy. We are trusting the Lord for this, and look forward to seeing His faithfulness!
What you can do
*Please allow us to feed him, hand him toys, food, and anything else he needs. It is important that we are the only ones to meet his needs (ALL of his needs) at this time.
*If he reaches for you, go ahead and smile at him, but please point to us.
*Please don't give him any gifts at this time. If you want to give him something so he knows it is from you, you can hang on to it, and we will let you know when it is appropriate to start giving him gifts. If you do have a special gift that you want him to have now, you can give it to us, and we will give it to him at home.
*Remember our 3 other children as they will continue to need some special TLC. Their world is changing too! I know the girls would love some play dates. :)
*Please feel free to bring meals, call or text to check up on us, or anything else you would normally do for a family that has just added a child.
*Please keep praying for us!
with so much gratitude,
Matt & Lisa