homecoming, HELP!

We are very excited to announce that we are scheduled to return home in just a few days. It has been a very long, wonderful, and extremely challenging 7 weeks for every member of our family. We will have a lot to process and a lot of adjusting to do when we get home on so many levels. We cannot wait to be back home and among our community of support (being away from you all during this time has been one of the most challenging parts for sure). We want to tell stories, introduce you to the kids, hear what has been happening in your lives while we’ve been gone. We know you’ll want to see us, too, and we know that many of you will ask how you can help during this transitional time.

Along those lines, there are a few things we’d like you all to know and a few things you can do to help us. We are hoping that by sending this out in advance it will open lines of communication and ensure that no one feels hurt or takes our requests personally. In no particular order, here they are…

-Cora and Elias are still trying to figure out who their mom and dad are. Because of their upbringing, it is easier for them to be comfortable with strangers and with children than it is for them to be comfortable with two primary care-givers. To help them bond and attach to us, we ask that you not show affection to the children (please no hugging, holding, kissing) and that you understand that we cannot have you feed them, change them, or comfort them at this point in time. They will know they are loved by you by the smile on your face and the way you greet them and talk to them (please don’t feel you have to ignore them).

-Cora and Elias think they live in Uganda with us. Our homecoming is going to feel like another huge upheaval in their little lives. They will be confused, disoriented, and looking for “home.” For that reason, we will limit our time spent in other “homes” until we feel they can recognize and feel safe in our home.

-Macy and Owen will want to share about their new brother and sister, but they also have many great stories from our travels that are not adoption related. Please ask them about things related to how they are doing, their highlights, etc, and not just about their new “brother and sister.”

-If you see us out and about (and you will!), please be reserved in your greeting of the twins. This means no huge greeting, quick movements, and no touching initially unless they seem comfortable enough with your presence (you’ll know) (and even then, a high five or “bonga” (knuckles) is as touchy as it should get). Remember: though you all know them, they have no clue who you are. They will be comforted by your interaction with us, and will warm up to being able to interact with you. It won’t be like this forever!

-If you see us eating out, please be especially careful. Eating is a very sensitive time for the twins and they freak out very easily when someone approaches them (or their plate). Please do come say hello (or join us!), but we ask the kids be given a lot of space at meal time.

We hope these requests don’t make you want to avoid us until we get settled but rather that they will provide an understanding between us as we transition. We will need a lot of love and grace as a family. We want to see you (read: we NEED to see you), and we cannot wait for the kids to get to know you all. Please don’t feel awkward about asking us questions, or getting clarification about why we might be doing things a certain way. We hope you will keep short accounts with us as I’m sure we will do things that seemingly don’t make sense or that frustrate those we love. We hope that’s not the case, but we know we will all be tired, emotional, and transitional. It’s your turn to embrace crazy. Here we come!

We love you all and we cannot wait to see you.

a different kind of progress

We might not have had success at the Embassy this week, but we have had some very encouraging progress on the home-front. Elias and Cora have learned to sign the word “more.” This is a huge deal because, before they had a way of communicating their need peacefully, their requests for more food were continual, anxious, incredibly loud shrieks and cries (keep in mind they feed in a frenzy, thinking that they have to eat as fast as possible to get more food and to fill their bellies before the food runs out and they go hungry. Hence the continual whining). It made mealtime not very fun for any of us.

This tool has given the twins an easy way to communicate with us, and has lowered the stress level at meals for the family as a whole. It is such a relief to be making progress on the food and mealtime issues so quickly. I can’t even begin to tell you how big of a stressor this was for both the kids and for us just a few weeks ago. It’s good news.

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Elias, demonstrating his new skill and thoroughly enjoying the reaction from the crowd when he does it.