AIRPORT PARTY!!!! HOMECOMING DETAILS!!!!!!
But first, our Natalie Attachment Plan!
Bahahah I tricked you into opening this post! But don't worry, airport details will follow at the bottom. ;)
This post is very similar to the one I wrote for Levi and Z's homecoming, but of course, it is now tailored to Natalie.
Now you may be thinking: an attachment plan? What???? What does that even mean? Why would they need one? Aren't they getting an older child?
An attachment plan is just what it sounds like. We have to figure out how to make Natalie trust us, bond with us, depend on us, and realize that we will NEVER leave her and that we will ALWAYS care for her.
Natalie has a personal history that we will not be sharing or discussing. Adopted children often experience multiple traumas, including possibly been abandoned, abused, or moving multiple times with no warning or explanation. They often have had numerous adults in their life (none of them permanent) and communication barriers (or no communication) with their care-givers for years. Considering these and many other possible scenarios that may or may not have been part of Natalie's experiences, it can only be expected that she will have attachment issues. We want her to learn that WE are her parents forever and we want her to know that it is safe to attach to us. We do not want her 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 Natalie (July 5th, *wink wink*) 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", you can bring balloons and signs and cameras. Basically, it's a party, except that we ask you do not GIVE Natalie anything, and also that you do not TOUCH her. No hugs or kisses. Remember, you have seen pictures of her, but she does not know who most of you are. Imagine being taken from everything and everyone you know, leaving with two people you can only superficially communicate with, and not in your wildest imagination be able to envision where you are going. Imagine leaving a 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 30+ hours of traveling and being greeted by a large group of unknown white people (when you are used to seeing brown skin) and all of them want to touch and hug and kiss you. They are all staring at you. Some are crying, some are grinning. 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 Natalie. NO ONE. 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 she needs to learn that everything she need comes from us. This will do wonders in helping her 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 her at our discretion, 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 her to trust us. Eight weeks may seem like a long time, but it really isn't. 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 Natalie or give her anything. You CAN talk to her though; I'm sure she would love it. :)
After eight weeks, we will allow family and close friends to visit us if they want. During these visits, you are welcome to play with and communicate with Natalie! :) We would love that. And we are sure she will too. You are extremely important in her life. The only clause is: (say it with me!) that you may not touch her (no hugs or kisses) and you may not give her anything. No presents. No giving her a drink if she is thirsty. No feeding her. No helping her complete a task. Abe and I will be taking care of that to ensure she knows WE are her caretakers, even in the presence of other adults.
After ten-twelve weeks, we will evaluate how we feel Natalie is doing and figure out how we will proceed from there.
Now lots of people have been asking, "But last time, you didn't have any other kids. You can't put Levi's and Z's lives on hold for 8-12 weeks! They can't stay home that long. And what about their activities? What about church? What about ___________ (fill in the blank)????
Actually, we've decided to make Levi and Z become shut-ins and heathens. We don't want them to have fun, and we'd like to end their social lives.
Or not. :)
Don't worry!!!! :) Levi and Z COMPLETELY understand (and agree with, having experienced it themselves) our attachment plan. And they are DYING to spend extended time with Natalie. And it's summer. Levi will still of course be participating in soccer, Crossfit, swim, track, and basketball. I will still be driving him. And if I can't drive him for whatever reason, I have people who can. Z will still be doing swim, and gymnastics 3 days a week. They will go to church with me and Abe alternately. We will be doing activities as a family. Basically, they are going to be FINE! :) No worries. We are living our lives as normal, we are just focusing on bonding as a family at the same time. :)
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 Natalie! :)
Now for the coveted flight details!!! We are flying into our home city, of course. We will be coming in from Dulles, on a United flight, on Saturday, July 5th. Scheduled to land at 1:45pm. Basically, go to the airport and go up the escalator. Go all the way left. That's it! If anything changes, I will post it to my Facebook.
Hope to see you there! LOVE YOU!!!!