I do have a lot on my heart that I want to share once we're home - so stay tuned for plenty of blogs to come about our sweet Kate! Today though, it's time to finally announce that we've booked our tickets - and we'll all be...
... HOME FOR CHRISTMAS!
We leave Chiang Mai, Thailand this Saturday night (Saturday morning to all of you). We'll fly to Seoul, S. Korea (5 hours + a layover), Atlanta (13 hours + a layover), and then we'll finally land at the Birmingham airport at 12:52 pm this Sunday afternoon, December 18th!
We will be having an "Airport Homecoming Party" - as many adoptive families do. If you're a personal friend or family member, you are welcome to come and greet us when we land! We know there are so many people who are anxious to meet Kate, and this will be the fastest and easiest way to make that happen. We can all celebrate our homecoming together, have a short visit, and then the three of us will need to hurry home to get some rest after a very long, overwhelming travel day.
We are flying on Delta - so we'll be coming through that area of the airport for "arrivals". We ask that you all please meet in a group at the bottom of the escalators for us to come down to you! (If for any reason our flight is delayed, we'll do our best to post an update on Facebook!)
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We have just a few rules for those who greet us at the airport (please make sure to read them all the way through!)
#1 - Please do NOT pick up Kate. There is a good chance she'll be in her carrier - strapped to one of us - but if she isn't, please do NOT hold your arms out to pick her up. If she reaches for you - please shake your head "no" and point to either myself or Rusty and say "Mama or Papa". It is very important for attachment and bonding that she not be held by anyone but the two of us for quite some time.
#2 - Please give Kate some space. If she is in our carrier strapped to one of our chests, you can hug whomever is carrying her, but please try not to overwhelm Kate. You can greet her by talking to her and waving to her (she knows the sign language for "I love you" if you want to do that too!) - but please do NOT kiss her (it's flu season and she has not been exposed to the germs in America) and please do not touch her intentionally (such as stroking her face, arm, leg, head, etc - she does not like to be touched when she's feeling overwhelmed). If she's doing really well with everything happening, we'll tell you if you are able to hug or touch her. (For the record though - she is more likely to be okay with kids touching her than adults.)
#3 - Please allow our parents to meet their granddaughter FIRST before rushing to us. This is their first grandchild on both sides - so it's important that they have a few minutes to greet her (and they get to hug and kiss her!) before she meets everyone else. You'll know my mom - because she'll have a HUGE banner with Kate's photo and a castle on it. (I haven't seen it, but I've heard about it. Haha.) She has recently had back surgery, so please be gentle with her too!
#4 - Please stay for a group photo! We will have friends shooting a video and photos of our homecoming celebration, and we'd love to have everyone stay (after the "meeting and greeting" is over) for a group photo! It will be special to have a photo of all of you that Kate can look back on for years to come!
We have no idea how this little "party" will go - so please be understanding if Kate is overwhelmed, quiet and withdrawn, or upset. We will have just had a very long travel day, and she'll be seeing a LOT of unfamiliar faces. We have videoed 4 different adoption homecomings in the past few years, and every child handles them differently. While we hope you'll get to see some of our sweet, sassy girl's big personality - the most important thing is for us to make her feel safe.
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Once we are home, we'll be "cocooning" with Kate. This is a term that adoptive parents use to describe a time where they stay home a lot, and they focus on bonding and attachment between them and their child. I will try to post a longer blog explaining what that looks like exactly - but the short answer is that we'll need to be sure that Rusty and I are the only ones caring for Kate. This means only "Mama" and "Papa" will hold, comfort, and feed Kate. It also means we'll need to focus on helping her adjust to being home, getting in a new routine, and keeping her world small for a little while. She has grown up in an orphanage with multiple caregivers for her entire life. She doesn't understand what a family is yet, or what "home" even means. So please understand that we won't be able to have visitors at first - as we work to make her feel safe, loved, and well adjusted in our home!
Okay friends - I'll share more later... but we look forward to seeing some of you on December 18th! We can't wait to introduce you to our beautiful baby girl! ♥