Sunday, February 24, 2013

When can I meet Joelle?

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
and more.

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!!


  1. Love how you and Joelle coordinated your outfits :) What a wonderful and thoughtful explanation! You and Jared have awesome parental instincts!

  2. I also love how you coordinated your outfits. So, so cute! Enjoy your time in the cocoon snuggling with your sweet girl and loving on her. What a blessing!

  3. Joelle is such a lucky girl to have a mama and papa like you two!! I am SO happy for your family!

    By the way, her dance moves are to die for! I wish I was born with such skills!

  4. I agree with all the ladies above...I **love** the coordinating outfits! Precious!
    Enjoy 'cocooning' time! :)

  5. What a wonderful and special time for your family! Enjoy these precious days!! By the way, as a headband fanatic, I would love to see Joelle's headband collection! I'm lovin' it!

  6. You are amazing parents! Joelle is so lucky to have you!

  7. She is so lucky to have you guys - and you guys are so lucky to have found her!!

  8. That last picture is HILARIOUS! I can literally see her personality. Terrific explanation about your time with her away from the world!

  9. We cacooned with our son for about 2 months where we didn't go anywhere much accept church. He was 5 months when we brought him home from ET and we have been home now for 2 1/2 years. As he grows older he at times regresses and we go back into cacooning again just not for as long. Making him feel safe/trusting is most important! And believe me when I say the outside world often doesn't understand or gets upset when we say no to things. And you just can't care. It's not about them, it's about protecting your little one. They need to heal and learn how to live in an environment that's not fight or flight. Now that we are getting ready to bring two kiddos home from the DRC we expect to be cacooning for quite a while once again. Honestly I kinda look forward to it :)
    Joelle is beautiful. Your family is beautiful! Thanks for allowing all of us strangers to have a small glimpse into your lives!

  10. So glad you guys are doing this. It was really hard for us and our family and friends in the beginning last year after we brought Abe home, but it has paid off in the long run. And although he is definitely bonded & attached to us now, we still see residual effects of him spending his first couple of years without a Mommy & Daddy. We're still having to make choices now that sometimes other people don't understand and we pick up on things other people don't. You're's all about parental instincts. God gives us just what we need to be the Mommy & Daddy to our child/children. And you guys know what's best for your family and for Joelle. I know it's hard on everyone else to be patient, but you're absolutely right in doing what you're doing. I know you guys know that, but just thought it might be encouraging coming from someone who recently went through that and is still going through it. :) Love you guys!

  11. I think you're doing a beautiful job of cocooning your baby, and creating a solid family front before adding the world in. It's wonderful seeing how she's blooming in your love through your pictures. I think I'm not alone in hoping we get to see video of Joelle dancing! :D

  12. You two are very intuitive and smart parents. Reading your posts make cry everytime. Many prayers for your family bonding time.