I have so many photos and stories to share, but today I felt it was important to share this letter we are posting for our friends and families "in real life".
Dear Family and Friends,
As we have prepared to bring Gabe home, we have learned a lot about attachment and how to help him adapt to his new surroundings. To best help Gabe adjust and form a strong bond with his sisters, brother and parents, we have a few guidelines that we ask you all to respect and follow.
Gabe is extremely social and will hug anyone, especially men because he hasn't had a lot of exposure to men in his life. Part of this is just his loving personality, but part of it is also being in survival mode. The cutest and most precocious kids at the orphanage are the ones who fared the best.
Typically, he will just reach up (or out to you if he is in our arms) with his arms wide open. We ask that, for the first little while, if he does this to you, please just gently pat him on the back and/or give him a high-five or thumbs-up. Please do not bend down and hug him or pick him up. We NEED him to learn that he can't hug any stranger, and right now, everybody other than Brian and Becky are strangers. He has not had four years of learning what it is like to be in a family, and what a family even is, so it will take some time for him to learn. We know that this will be difficult to resist the temptation of hugging him back, but the day will soon come that returning the hug will be just fine, and we will happily let you know when that is. There are things we will be watching for that will indicate his strong attachment to us, and we will celebrate those days when they come!
Another guideline is in direct relation to the last. Again, we NEED Gabe to learn that mom and dad are "his people", and that he cannot or shouldn't need to expect any person he is with to care for him. He needs to learn that his parents will be the ones meeting his needs. As such, if he asks for food, a drink, to go potty, gets hurt and needs consoling, or anything similar to this please tell him to go ask Mama or Papa.
We are so happy to have such wonderful family members and friends that have supported us through the past year and know that we would not have been able to get to this point without you. Thank you! And please talk to us directly if you have any questions or concerns about how to help Gabe. Don't be afraid of him or what you can or cannot do, you know how down-to-earth we are and we are surely going to make mistakes regarding this issue too, but we knew it was important to prepare those who will be his "village" as well.
Thank you again, there are no words what you all have meant to us as we've ventured into the world of international adoption! We can't wait to share the rest of it with you as well!
Much love, Brian & Becky