In a few weeks, I’ll be boarding a plane with my husband and my daughters and as many tablets, headphones, travel books and lollipop distractions as we can cram in a carry-on for the long flight to China.
From our perspective, we are about to get a new daughter. We are growing our family. We are celebrating and buying matching shirts and matching backpacks and daydreaming about seeing her change as she learns how to be loved.
From her perspective, the world is about to end. Every smell. Every sight. Every person that has ever been familiar, whether it be a foster parent or sibling or an orphanage worker or the view outside the window, will be taken from her in a moment. They’ll hand her to us and everything she has known will disappear forever. She’ll see our weird faces and she’ll smell our foreign smells and she’ll wonder why we’re kidnapping her.
That means that as much as we’d like to throw her a welcome home party and as much as we’d like to show her sweet face off to every living person within a 100-mile radius of Middle Tennessee, we’re instead going to disappear.
It’s called “cocooning.” Experts suggest that if you are adopting a child with a traumatic history from overseas, you should cocoon them for 6-8 weeks.
Here’s what this means.
When we bring Joy home, she won’t see anyone but her immediate family. No friends. No grandparents. No Easter Bunnies. No playdates. Nobody. Joy’s world, for a long time, will be Mommy, Daddy, Ever and Brooklyn and that’s it. Oh, and Pickle, the beta fish.
That’s because we want Joy to learn what parents are. We want her to see what a family is. We need to be the ones to hold her. We need to be the ones who meet her needs. We will try to help her learn to trust us. To help her know that we are where she should go for help.
She is an orphan. She will have a new family. It will take time for her to learn to trust.
When God first adopted me, it took me way more than 6-8 weeks to believe that He really loved me and that He really was working all things together for my good.
How awesome would it be if baby Christians were cocooned? What if, when our eyes were opened to the glories of Christ and our need for the Father, nothing else could influence us or interact with us or distract us for weeks or months or years? We might, then, learn quickly that anything that seems to show He doesn’t love us or care for us or want what’s best for us is a lie.
I wish that was a thing, because I’m as prone as any orphan to run to strangers for satisfaction or joy or support.
We’re about to reach into another country and pull out a broken little girl with a broken history and we’ll welcome her with open arms into our own broken family. Joy’s adoption isn’t her happy ending. She will spend her life recovering from the scars of abandonment and neglect, but we do hope she will one day understand that through Jesus, her life really can have a happy ending. Through Jesus, her story can be re-written.
In a few weeks, she will go from orphan to daughter. She will go from being homeless to sharing a room with two sisters. But, her broken heart will not instantly be made whole. We know that no matter how well we cocoon and no matter how much we spoil her, only her Father in heaven can fill the hole in her heart.
Will you please pray that God will heal her emotionally, spiritually, and physically? Please pray that God will protect us – our hearts, our marriage, our kids. Pray that He will make us all less selfish and more loving. That He will help us get better at sign language. And that sooner than later, our hands can communicate to Joy’s heart and teach her that just like we flew around the world to bring her into our family, God traveled from heaven to bring her into His.