Wednesday, December 28, 2016

What to Expect When You're Adopting

After months of anticipation and preparation, the day is coming! As this is our first time doing this, we don't really know what to expect, but, we have tried to prepare by reading and listening to advice from others. One of the final preparations we would like to discuss is what you, our friends, family, and maybe anyone else that might be reading our blog, can expect over the next few months.  

The key word in our family for the first year or so will be "Attachment." When a baby is born they naturally and gradually bond and attach to the mother when she soothes, feeds, talks to, and basically meets all the needs an infant has. Each time a parent meets these needs, the baby learns to implicitly trust them. They have a solid attachment to each other that develops naturally. Unfortunately, Quinn hasn't had this experience. We don't know how his specific orphanage is run, but we do know he has not had the consistent care of a parent. When he is hungry, he most likely doesn't get food immediately. When he needs affection, he most likely has to compete for the attention of his caregivers with the other children or may just never get touched. When he has a need, it most likely doesn't get met as it should. On top of this, his care comes from a rotating staff. They come and go, so he relies on whatever adult happens to be there. While we hope he has attached to one or more of his caregivers, an employee can never provide the same things a parent does. He most likely hasn't had a lot of sensory experiences. Just taking him to an unfamiliar hotel room will be terrifying for him. Not to mention getting on an airplane and coming to a new country. We smell different, look different, talk different, we will be constantly hugging and touching him, and will be exposing him to a whole new world. This is exciting, but we have to do it carefully. Quinn has lived in his care center since he was just a few days old. We will soon take him away from everything and everyone he has ever known. This will be very traumatic for him. We chose him, he didn't choose us, or for his life to completely change. While we are changing his life for the better, it will still be a huge transition and a mourning process for him. We need to help him attach to us.

So what does this all mean? It means we will have to teach him what it means to be in a family. What it means to have parents who are the only care givers he will have for the rest of his life. We will also be trying to guide him through the mourning process and traumatic event that just happened to him as well as anything he has experienced while not in our care. This will take time and a lot of patience. We will help him attach to us by consistently, day-in and day-out meeting his needs.
How can you help? Give us a little space at first. We mean that as lovingly and affectionately as possible. When we get home we will be using a technique called "cocooning." When we arrive home from Vietnam we will hunker down in our house and won't be taking Quinn out for at least 2 weeks in order to give him some time to adjust. If you come to our home during this time, please know that we appreciate you and love you and are grateful for any help you give, but you probably won't be meeting Quinn for a while. During this time we will be slowly introducing him to new things and experiences. Honestly we won't even show him his room for a couple days and just keep him with us.

After a couple weeks we'll be venturing out a little, but for short periods of time. We'll start introducing him to people, but will probably be holding him the whole time. During this time, we are still teaching him that we are the only adults that will meet his needs. We will reinforce this by us being the only people that give him food and help him with his needs. So, as weird as this may sound, if you would like to give him something (like food or a gift), please hand it to us first and we will give it to him. This will just reinforce that his needs are met by us and only us.
When all is said and done, our great planning may all be for nothing. Maybe Quinn won't want to stay cuddled together for two weeks. Maybe he will run up to you and give you a big hug when you meet him! I have no idea, but we'll figure it out as we go and do our best to help him transition to family life smoothly!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Quinn's Room

It's been a long time coming, but Quinn's room is ready for him! We wanted to make it a peaceful place he would want to be that represents our family now and his life before. 

I was pretty close on guessing his adoption date, but we need to update that one little thing.  

Thursday, December 22, 2016


We got the news! Quinn will officially be ours on January 6th! Best Christmas gift ever!

We are thrilled and can't wait! There is a lot to coordinate in a short amount of time. Flights, hotels, documents, gifts, and not to mention packing for us and a 4 year old that we're about to tote around the world. I am grateful that we have some international travel experience, so it doesn't seem quite so daunting.

I've been tripling every recipe I make and freezing several helpings for when we get back. We have most of the items we think are essential for traveling with a toddler. Quinn's room will be done tomorrow!

I'm terrified. This is crazy. But it's right, so it will all work out.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

The LAST Form

I have lost track of how many different forms we have had to file, not to mention the seemingly countless documents we were required to get notarized (Me and Camille at the bank are pretty tight by now). I am happy to say, this weekend, we filed our LAST form. That is right, everything is done!

Assuming we did everything right, the next form we receive will be approval for Quinn to come home! After that, we just wait for a date to go get him. (for those of you following that nifty flow chart, we are now on step 10.) If things move REALLY fast, we could be in Vietnam and with Quinn for Christmas. If things move at a normal pace, I expect we will travel to get him in January.

We are excited beyond belief, and scared to the extreme. But, we are constantly reminded that God is at the helm. He led us to where we are and that brings comfort. This isn't the end of what already feels like a really long story, it is just the beginning. Knowing that this is the right path for us, and that Quinn is meant to be in our family makes all the difference. We can't wait to start the next leg in our adoption journey - being a family. I'm sure many of you already know the challenges that parenthood brings, and we can only imagine at this point. But we won't have to imagine for very much longer :)

We can't express enough, our gratitude for your support, thoughts, and prayers as we have tackled this crazy process to bring Quinn home. We are almost there! We would ask, yet again, for your continued support and prayers as we are on the final leg of this journey.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

The News We've Been Waiting For!! | Reece's Rainbow

It actually happened!!! We got our Match Letter!! Vietnam has approved us to adopt Quinn!! Our wait is only another 3-4months! We are so excited, and a little nervous. Mostly excited!

Next we have a form to file with US Immigration to approve Quinn to come here. We have to wait until next week to get original copies of forms from Vietnam to file this. After that, this step will take about 3 weeks. Then there is one more form that I'm still a little hazy on what it's for, but it will take about a month-ish. After that we get our official US approval that we send to Vietnam. Then we just have to wait for the G&R (Giving and Receiving ceremony) date!

We obviously want things to move faster. It would be amazing if we can bring him home before his birthday, Feb 17. We appreciate everyone's continued prayers that things will continue to move quickly.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel!! Prayer works! God knows us!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Semi Update | Reece's Rainbow

Although it is not news of our match letter, we got an update from Quinn's care center in Vietnam! These updates are all about Quinn and his development. They are supposed to come every 6 months, however it's been a lot longer than that since our last one. We were laughing at some of the items in the update, as they seem a little odd, but they do show that he is developing and progressing well.

1. He is a great eater - 3 meals a day of rice, noodles, fish, shrimp, vegetables, etc.
2. He is sleeping 10 hours a day.
3. He can pour water from a bottle into a cup without making a mess.
4. He keeps quiet for a short time only. (uh oh!)
5. He can walk in a straight line for a long distance.
6. He turns corners and avoids obstacles skillfully while running.
7. He likes to play with balls or assemble toy blocks!

We were especially excited to hear that Quinn likes playing with blocks as Mark just made him some! We were organizing the garage a month ago when Mark came across some extra wood. Rather than just throw it out, he thought "what little boy doesn't need some good ol' blocks?!" Turns out he was right.

We are grateful that the people at the care center are taking such great care of him. It is difficult to think about him growing up so fast, and that we cannot be part of it yet. The center also included a couple of new pictures of him, and it is amazing how quickly he is growing up. There is about 1 1/2 years in between the current picture and the last picture we have of him.

Several people have commented and asked how we are doing this (enduring the wait), and that they wouldn't have the patience. We know that we are so blessed that we found our child, and that Heavenly Father is very aware of us. There is a peace and calmness that we feel and we understand that everything is on His timetable. Although we would prefer to not wait any longer, we will continue to be patient.

In an effort to help explain the adoption process, we created the flowchart below. It is kind of a spiderweb and it makes our heads spin as well. We are currently on step 7.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016