Although I'm not an eloquent writer, I've been wanting to write an open letter to family and friends. The time is right, so here it goes...
Dear Family and Friends,
I would like to thank you all for your support over the past several years. Never in our wildest dreams did we ever imagine it would take this long to get our referral to Lauren. There have been so many ups and downs during this time and your support has meant everything to us.
I would like to take this chance to share a little bit of what I know about attachment and bonding in adoption and our plans for when we bring Lauren home.
To start off you need to understand that Lauren has been in an orphanage since birth and has spent her first 21 months under the care of multiple nannies. At this point, the orphanage is home, her nannies are her "parents" and the other children are her "brothers" and "sisters". She has never known anything different.
One week from today, Lauren will take a long ride with one or two of her nannies to a strange building filled with strange people and babies. The room will be very noisy with babies crying and lots of strange voices. At some point, her nanny will hand her off to Joe and me...two people she's never seen before (unless the nannies showed her the photos we sent). There will be lots of camera flashes and video taping. Then we will take a ride back to the hotel and she will be alone in a room with us...we look strange, sound strange and smell strange. At this point, her little world has been rocked in ways that would scare just about anyone.
We have no idea at this point how she will react to all this. She will be grieving for her home and everything she knows. She may shut down, she may cry inconsolably, she may be silent...whatever it is, we will handle it as best we can.
We are hoping that she will start to slowly trust us once she understands that we are there to care for her and take care of all her needs. A healthy attachment won't start to form until she learns to trust us. This is why once we are home, Joe and I need to continue to be her primary caregivers for all her basic needs. This includes feeding, diapering, bathing, holding, consoling, etc. Slowly, once an attachment starts to develop, you all will be able to help out with these things.
There are also some special things to consider since Lauren is a toddler. Typically as a child approaches the age of two, she starts to show some independence...breaking away a little bit from the parents (the terrible two's). In Lauren's case she may need to regress a little bit since we need to help her form a strong bond with us before she can move forward. It's important for her future well being that she doesn't skip the "attachment" phase before moving on to some independence. Because of this it may seem like we are spoiling her or doting over her.
With all this being said, I'm hoping that it helps you all to understand our goals and why we feel we need to do the things we'll be doing once we get home.