Dear Family & Friends,
Our precious Avah Noelle SeeEun is finally coming home! We have waited for 10 months but she has waited for 4 1/2 years for her forever family. Thank you so much for all who have supported, loved and prayed for us.
We are confident of this: God’s design is PERFECT! His plan for parents and children is a beautiful and meaningful picture of His love for us. Attachment between a parent and child occurs over time when a baby has a physical or emotional need and communicates that need. The primary caretaker (usually mommy) meets the need and soothes the child. This repeats between a parent and child over and over to create trust within the child for that parent; the baby is hungry, cries in distress, mom nurses & calms the baby – which teaches him that this person is safe and can be trusted. By God’s very design, an emotional foundation is laid in the tiniest of babies, which will affect their learning, conscience, growth and future relationships. The security provided by parents will, ultimately, give children a trust for and empathy towards others.
Children who come home through adoption have experienced interruptions in this typical attachment process. Avah has experienced many losses already in her short little life, the loss of her birth mom at 3 months of age, the loss of her foster mom at age 19 months where she went to live at her orphanage and now the loss of her 3 loving caretakers….her Omma’s. This has been a major trauma on her little heart. The good news is that we can now, as Avah’s parents and forever family, rebuild attachment and help her heal from these emotional wounds. When Avah comes home, she will be overwhelmed. Everything around her will be new and she will need to learn not just about her new environment, but also about love and family. She has not experienced God’s design for a family in an orphanage setting. The best way for us to form a parent/child bond is to be the ones to hold, snuggle, instruct, soothe and feed her. As this repeats between us, she will be able to learn that parents are safe to trust and to love deeply. We are, essentially, recreating the newborn/parent connection. Once Avah starts to establish this important bond, she will then be able to branch out to other, healthy relationships.
Avah will have, what may seem like, a lot of structure, boundaries and close proximity to us. Please know that these decisions are prayerfully and thoughtfully made choices based on immense amounts of research and instruction from trusted adoption mentors. We will be doing what we believe is best to help her heal from those interruptions in attachment as effectively as possible. Why are we telling you all of this? Because you will actually play an awesome and vital role in helping our Avah settle in, heal, and lay a foundation for the future. There are a few areas in which you can help us:
The first is to set physical boundaries. It will help us immensely if adults limit what is typically considered normal, physical contact with Avah This will (for a while) include things like holding, excessive hugging and kissing. Children from orphanage settings are prone to attach too easily to anyone and everyone – which hinders the important, primary relationship with parents. Waving, blowing kisses or high fives are perfectly appropriate and welcomed! Avah should know that the people with whom she interacts are our trusted friends.
Another area is redirecting Avah’s desire to have her physical and emotional needs met by anyone (including strangers) to having us meet them. Orphans often have so many caretakers that they, as a survival mechanism, become overly charming toward all adults. A child struggling to learn to attach may exhibit indiscriminate affection with people outside of their family unit. It may appear harmless and as if they are “very friendly” but this is actually quite dangerous for the child. Please understand that we want nothing more than to have Avah hugged, cuddled and cherished by ALL of you (she’s totally irresistible and huggable). But until he has a firm understanding of family and primary attachments, we would be so grateful if you direct her to us if you see(and we don’t) that she is seeking out food, affection or comfort.
We are incredibly blessed to have so many loved ones around us. We couldn’t ask for a better extended family & circle of friends for our precious Avah. Thank you so much for your love and support over the past two years. If you have any questions please feel free to ask at any time!
Ken and Wendi