Tuesday, July 7, 2015

We're Leaving on a Jet Plane...

...in less than 48 hours!!!!
We are so excited to be heading to China!  We leave tomorrow to go to Atlanta to spend the night and then we have an extra early morning flight through Detroit to Beijing.  After two nights in Beijing and a day touring the Great Wall, we will take the bullet train from Beijing to Nanjing on Sunday, July 12th.
We will meet Paxton on Monday, July 13th!!  Due to the time change, we will be getting him in the middle of the night for those reading this from home.  So, when you wake up on Monday morning, we will be going to bed as a family of FIVE!
Please keep Paxton in your prayers.  Please pray that he will be able to attach easily to us.  Please pray for all of us as we travel across the world to become a family of 5.  And, please pray that no one will get sick before we travel or while we are gone!
So, what will life look life for us when we return?
Well, first of all, attachment and bonding is not a week long or month long process.  It is a process that will take months and months.  Paxton has lived 13 months of his life without the consistent, loving care of a mom and dad.  He is leaving everything that is familiar to him.  Even though adoption is the best thing for him, he will grieve.  He will struggle with losing what he has known.  He will have to get to know us.
Our goal is that he will know us.  And, that he will attach to us.  But, attachment is not something that will happen immediately.  In order for him to securely attach to us, WE have to be his caregivers and his providers.  He has to learn that WE are the ones who will provide every single thing he will need.  He has to learn to trust us.  Trust will lead to attachment and love for him.
So, how do we do this?  First, Jeremy and I will be the only ones who will feed him, clean him, hold him, change his diapers, etc.  We will be the only ones for awhile who will provide care for him.  He has to learn that we are the ones who provide for him.  If he has multiple caregivers, like he has for his whole life, he will not be able to securely attach to us because he will not learn to trust us above all others. 
This does not mean that we will never leave our house or not allow others to see him.  Now, there are some people who believe in extreme cocooning and it works for their families.  For us, we will live our lives as we normally do (as much as we can with a new baby).  We will still take the boys to school and run errands and eat out when we can and teach our middle schoolers at church and go to soccer and other activities.  But, we will keep Paxton close.  We will not allow others to hold him.  We will not allow others to feed him or provide care for him.
But, we will allow others to play with him and to make him laugh!  I know that this will be hard for some, especially our family, but we want Paxton to be securely attached to us before he bonds with other family members and friends.  Indiscriminate affection is common with adopted kids.  They show affection to others easily because they don't understand that there are people (parents) who care for them above and beyond anyone else.  We must be sure that Paxton understands who we are first and foremost.
How long will this last?
We don't know.  We have spent hours and hours in education discussing attachment and adoption, and there is not a definitive time to start allowing family and friends to hold and care for an adopted child.  Every family does things different.  It will all depend on how we feel Paxton is doing with attachment over the next couple of months.  Every child is different and every child attaches at a different pace.  There is not a specific day that we think we will be able to say, "Okay, he is securely attached.  Let's start passing him around now".  Once we feel he is securely attached to us, we will gradually start allowing others to hold him or feed him or give him treats.  We probably will not leave him in the nursery at church or with a babysitter for awhile, but everything just depends on how well he attaches to us.
We want our family and friends to meet Paxton.  We want him to know our friends and family.  You were all a HUGE part of bringing him home!  He is loved by friends and family from all over.  We want YOU to know him and for him to know you!  However, for the first little while home, this is what is best for him and our family.  In the long run, this will help him to feel secure and trust us as his mom and dad.
Please keep us in your prayers now and over the next several months.  The past 12 months of paper work, waiting, praying and hoping were hard, but the really hard work comes once we get Paxton and once we come!  Please pray for us.  Please pray for Paxton.  Adoption is hard, but in less than one week, there will be ONE LESS orphan and ONE MORE White!  The hard stuff will be worth it!

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