(I wrote this blog on Friday, 10/19/12).
This is is people. The game changer. The final inning.
We are still in limbo. Our I-171H (immigration) finally arrived this past Tuesday, but we are waiting on the results of the birth mother interview, which is going to be on Monday, Oct. 22nd. The embassy could clear us, require more documents or interviews, or send us to Nairobi. I'm choosing to hope/believe/pray/obsess that we will pass. And that we will travel on Oct. 27th. Why the 27th you ask? Well, Marina and Matt are flying then.....and I'd like Z and Shanbu to be able to talk (they speak the same dialect) on the 18 hour flight (pre-layover) home!!!! :)
It's almost the end (we pray!) of this specific journey, and we are expecting an email from the embassy fairly soon. This email will tell us that we are free to spend the remaining savings we have (four years of working 18 hours a day) to climb into a giant piece of metal and fly halfway across the world. I hate flying. But I'm DYING to climb into that aerodynamically impossible metal bird and sit in a cramped seat for 13+ hours. Because we will be flying to our kids. And THAT is surreal. (P.S. Our I-171H, also known as "immigration", arrived three days ago!!!)
While we are waiting for that precious embassy email, I'd like to explain our attachment plan to you. I'd posted it before, but I want to bring it up again, and this one has adjustments. A lot of what is below is directly copied from my previous post.
Now you may be thinking: an attachment plan? What???? What does that even mean? Why would they need one? Aren't they getting older kids?
An attachment plan is just what it sounds like. We have to figure out how to make our children trust us, bond with us, depend on us, and realize that we will NEVER leave them and that we will ALWAYS care for them.
We've spoken to multiple families (as well as our agency and social worker) who have adopted children of all ages on the topic and made our decisions for our personal attachment plan based off the information we have gathered.
Our kids each have a personal history that we will not be sharing or discussing. They have possibly been abandoned, have been moved multiple times with no warning or explanation, have had numerous adults in their lives (none of them permanent) and have had communication barriers (or no communication) with their care-givers for years. It can only be expected that they will have attachment issues. These issues could be a huge range of things but mostly likely will be an inability or struggle to attach to anyone, specifically an adult/care-giver OR the tendency to try to attach to EVERY adult they see. We want them to learn that WE are their parents forever and we want them to learn that it is safe to attach to us. We do not want them trying to attach to others.
Therefore: attachment-plan-a-la-Ruper. :)
So here is what we have decided. On our "airport day", the day when we finally come home with the kids, anyone and everyone is welcome to come to the airport. We WANT as many people there as want to come, to celebrate one of the happiest moments and greatest victories of our lives. :)
On the "airport day", anyone who wants to can come. You can bring balloons and signs and cameras. Basically, it's a party, except that we ask you do not GIVE our children anything, and also that you do not TOUCH them. No hugs or kisses. Imagine being taken from everything and everyone you know, leaving with two people you cannot communicate with, and not in your wildest imagination be able to envision where you are going. Imagine leaving a dirt courtyard with small wooden buildings where you sleep and then coming to AMERICA. Imagine being surrounded on the trip home by thousands of people you don't know who do not speak your language and being exhausted and given unfamiliar food and being forced through airport security and customs. Imagine FINALLY landing after 19+ hours flying (not including layovers) and being greeted by a large group of unknown white people (and you are used to seeing brown skin) and all of them want to touch and hug and kiss you. And you can't ask what's going on, who they are, or what's happening. Completely overwhelming. So we've decided that we cannot allow anyone to touch the kids. Anyone. Period. Thank you for your understanding and please feel free to hug me and Abe! ;)
Also, no presents, no snacks, etc. Thank you so much for your generosity but they need to learn that everything they need comes from us. This will do wonders in helping them attach to us and learn to trust and love us. (PS, if you want to SEND presents, or give them to me and Abe to give to the kids, that is fine with us. :))
After the "airport day", we will be staying home as a family to work on our new "normal" and to start bonding as a family. We will not be allowing visitors at all for about 5-8 weeks. During this time we will work on teaching them to trust us. Eight weeks may seem like a long time, but it really isn't. We will use an intuitive approach depending on how our kids do, but 5-8 weeks of solidarity is the plan. If we happen to make a trip as a family and you see us, feel free to say hello and chat but please do not touch our kids or give them anything. You CAN talk to them though; I'm sure they would love it. :)
After eight weeks, we will allow family and close friends, 2-3 at a time, to visit us if they want. During these visits, you are welcome to play with and communicate with our children! :) We would love that. And we are sure they will too. You are extremely important in their lives. The only clause is that you may not touch them (no hugs or kisses) and you may not give them anything. No presents. No giving them a drink if they are thirsty. No feeding them. No helping them complete a task. Abe and I will be taking care of that to ensure they know WE are their caretakers, even in the presence of other adults.
After ten-twelve weeks, we will evaluate how we feel our children are doing and figure out how we will proceed from there.
Thank you for your understanding! We love you all, are so glad to have you in our lives, and can't wait to introduce you to our precious children! :)