Tuesday, February 28, 2012
A Letter from us to you...
Precious Friends and Family,
We wanted to write you a letter to tell you how much we appreciate you and the impact you have had on our lives (especially the last few years!). We also wanted to share some struggles that we will likely incur when we bring our daughter home in the next few weeks to months. Lastly, we wanted to ask for your support in a couple of areas in this transition for our family.
You guys have blessed us beyond anything we could ever imagine in this journey of bringing our daughter home!!! It has been almost 3 years since we started taking steps towards bringing her home, and you guys have been there every single step of the way. You have prayed for us, encouraged us, given of your own finances, served us, loved us, written sweet notes, and held us up when times were hard! THANK YOU!!! SO MUCH! I have said this before, but our daughter has no idea how loved she is. She has and will continue to experience the love of Christ through you and I am sure one day she will look back amazed at what God did in her life using people that didn’t even know her yet!
We are SO CLOSE to bringing her HOME..FOREVER! We are so thankful to the Lord for His faithfulness in our lives through all of this. As we get closer and closer to our final trip to Ethiopia, we are thinking more and more (and praying more and more!) for her little heart. She has gone through so much in her not-even-three years of life. She has lost family members. She has seen the effects of sickness and poverty in a way that most of us never will. She left her home where she was born and her community that knew her and loved her and helped care for her. She went to an orphanage where she didn’t know anyone, and didn’t really have anyone care for her. Shortly after, she again was moved to a place where she didn’t know anyone. She came to our transition home (Hannah’s Hope), where we learned about her. In this amazing place, though, she is very loved with the most incredibly loving staff through our agency!!! She has a place of belonging. She is played with, sang to, provided for, fed, clothed, and bathed. She LOVES it! She loves all of her “special mothers,” she loves her friends, she loves the babies that she helps “take care of,” and she loves the people that she sees all the time. She feels comfortable and secure.
And now we enter in to another difficult part of this journey…she will have to leave all that she knows and loves. Even though we know that God has beautiful things in store for her life, she does not know and understand this right now. She will feel hurt, abandoned by the people she loves, and insecure in who we are to her. And this time, she will not know the language we are speaking, not many people will look like her, the food does not taste the same, the culture looks completely different, and there will be nothing in her world that is safe and secure to her.
The process of learning to trust us, to trust that we will always be there to care for her is called attachment. Normally, attachment between a parent and biological child happens as a baby has a need, communicates that need, and then mommy or daddy meets the need. This repeats over and over to create trust within the child for that parent. Children who come home through adoption have experienced interruptions in this typical attachment process. The loss of a biological mother at an early age is a major trauma on their little hearts. The many changes of caregivers also damages and confuses their hearts.
This is where we need your help again. We want that attachment to us to be as strong and healthy as possible for her overall emotional, physical, and spiritual health in the future. Because of this, she needs to learn how to be a part of a family and how to trust us as her parents for her needs. As our amazing community that loves our family, we want to tell you that we will spend a period of time (probably 2-3 months or so) where we will pretty much stay close to home and focus on this emotional need of our daughter, without extra visitors in our home. We know you want to meet her and love on her, and we really want that too, but we want her to have a healthy attachment to us first.
We need to be the only ones who meet her needs for food, basic physical needs, as well as emotional needs (cuddling, hugging, holding, etc). It would be a huge help to us when we start venturing out if you point her to us when she needs something. Waving, blowing kisses or high fives are perfectly appropriate and welcomed! Please understand that we want nothing more than to have our little girl hugged, cuddled and cherished by ALL of you (she's totally irresistible and huggable). But until she has a firm understanding of family and primary attachments, we would be so grateful if you direct her to us when she is seeking out food, affection, or comfort. Over time, as she learns that we are her parents, it will become okay to treat her just like our other children.
You could also help our family by getting the other three kiddos out of the house! They will be going stir crazy and would love a special time at the park/library/etc. with their loved ones! I am sure Mama will be going stir-crazy, too, so any texts, emails, or phone calls to encourage her is greatly appreciated! She will need some adult conversation! J We covet your prayers for wisdom in every moment with every need, healing for our sweet daughter’s heart, abounding love and compassion, and more patience than we knew we had for each of us! We are asking and trusting God for these things!
Thank you so much for really walking this journey with us. You have loved our family so well. We know that you will help us make the healthiest transition for our little girl! Please let us know if you have any questions or want to talk about any of this! We love y’all SO VERY MUCH!!!
Brian and Erin