I honestly can't tell you how many times that we have gotten this question :) I wanted to take a few minutes to explain a little bit why we are taking things slowly when introducing people to Joelle. I can honestly say that Jared and I read several adoption books, did online trainings, and met with our case workers about this issue. While we are informed, this post is probably not research-based, but parent-instinct based.
*We may have been looking at Joelle's pictures and videos for almost a year now, but Joelle has only known us as Mama and Papa for a little over 2 weeks. I know it's hard to believe because she's doing so well... really she is. She is very happy and loves to love on us. But, really we were strangers to her up until like 18 days ago. So, we are really working on who Mama and Papa are right now. If she meets too many people, things get confusing real fast!
*She has to know that we are her caregivers. She has probably had upwards of 30 caregivers in her lifetime... ones that went in and out often. This is one of the reasons that when you see us in crowds, you will see us holding her closely. Joelle needs to know that Mama and Papa aren't going anywhere right now. It will probably be months before we just let her stay with other people (other than when she attends school at the end of March). It will also be a while before we just let people go off with her at church, parties, family get-togethers and such. Right now, we want to be in her sight as much as possible.
*Did you know that many families do what is called "cocooning" their adopted child? When a mother gives birth to a child, she has had *hopefully* 9 months to bond with her child. And, the bonding comes very naturally also. We are having to make up for over 3 years that we were without our daughter. We are trying to go from strangers to family. For Jared and me, this has been really easy because we have prayed, cried, loved for Joelle since May of 2012. Back to cocooning, some people do this for an entire year. Here's cocooning in a nutshell:
-Stay home as much as possible with your child
-Keep things simple
-Wiping your calendar clean so that you aren't running errands, going out, etc
-Limiting the number of visitors
Jared and I are kind of "on the go" type of people, especially since he is a student pastor. And, we have really enjoyed showing Joelle new things as you have seen in the past few blogs. Although we haven't stayed in our "cave" at home, we are being VERY careful about a few things
-We are the only ones to feed, bathe, and change Joelle
-Joelle will only be put to bed by us
-Right now, we want to be the ones holding, hugging, kissing on Joelle. Besides us she really doesn't "know" anyone. So, it kind of makes sense that she doesn't just go around loving on everyone. We want her to "love" on the right people but that will take time for her to understand!
There is so much more I could write in this blog post to explain/try to get anyone to understand about why we are sheltering Joelle right now, but I don't want to go on and on :) I just want you to know that we truly aren't trying to "shun" anyone from Joelle, and it's not that we don't love you. We REALLY REALLY do! We are so thankful for the love, support, and prayers we have gotten in our adoption process. Please just be patient with us. I promise that if we do things right these first few months then it will go a long way for Joelle's future! And, before you know it... Mama and Papa will be a bore compared to everyone else waiting to spoil her rotten!
I'll leave you with a few pictures of Joelle from last night!
She pretty much danced the entire night... LOVE that she just doesn't care!!