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Well, this post is kind of off subject! When we were packing for Sweet P’s surgery last year I was looking online for tips or tricks on things to pack and I couldn’t find a lot. Ladies from my church got together and bought things for me that I would’ve never thought of (thanks y’all!). This is something you never want to think about, but when the time comes it’s nice to know what’s helpful!

These are items that we were glad we had. This is for the parent, patient, or both!

  • Dry shampoo (I use baby powder)
  • Thick, comfy, warm socks
  • Zip-up hoodie
  • Favorite snacks
  • Comfy house shoes
  • Pillow
  • Blanket(s)! I’m always cold so these were a must
  • Hospital food gets old, so be sure to ask the nurses what restaurants deliver. We love Jimmy John’s and they would bring our food straight to our room door (freaky fast)!
  • Shower Towel. If you have room, pack one! The ones we got were very small
  • Toilet paper. Hospital TP is basically sandpaper, trust me on this
  • Quarters/dollars for vending machines
  • Favorite water bottle so you’ll drink more water
  • Lotion
  • Chapstick
  • Room spray. The smell of a hospital gets old quickly. I was so glad I had my Lavender spray with me!
  • Packing cubes. They are great because rooms and bathrooms are small. When Sweet P was asleep and I was able to shower, I could just pick up my cube and take it straight to the bathroom instead of rummaging through my clothes and being loud in her room.
  • Room decor. Sounds crazy I know, but you want to feel like home as much as you can in a hospital. Bring some framed pictures, or things to stick on the walls. Most rooms at Vanderbilt had signs on their doors with their names, verses, and more.
  • Books, magazines and DVD’s (most hospital tv’s have DVD players)
  • Favorite toys, games, etc…bubbles were a big hit!

Hopefully you never need this post, but if you do then I hope it helps!

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When adopting, your child’s life has just been turned upside down. Cocooning is a time when as soon as you get home you can rest, reduce stimulation, limit visitors, and allow the child to learn that you are mama and baba (or mom and dad). 🙂

When we got home from China, I was in full blown Mama Bear mode! We would not go anywhere, see anyone, we did nothing! If you knocked on our door then you better pray to baby Jesus that it was an emergency or else you were asked to leave. We would take cocooning literally. Our home was our cocoon. Do I regret it? kind of. This is what I learned during that cocooning process:

Every child is different. You will know when you get home with your child and get familiar with them just how much cocooning needs to happen. Just because you read that children need so many months, does not mean that’s the case for your child. Books I read mentioned 6 months, but Sweet P only needed around 2 months before she was good and comfortable being introduced to family.

Don’t over do it. Do I feel like we took it to another level? Yes. I was very forceful and rude to family a lot of times because they just didn’t get what we were saying. Sometimes you have to spell things out for people, and I would get annoyed people wouldn’t understand the cocooning process. I finally wrote this blog post to help talk about it and wish I would have done it sooner. Remember, your family is just as excited as you are and they only want the best.

Take time for you. You can not provide the accurate parenting skills you need to during the cocooning process (or just parenting process in general!) unless you take time for yourself. Even if it’s waking up 5 minutes early to fix your favorite cup of coffee, taking a long soak in a bath at night, reading one chapter in your favorite book. It seems selfish but it’s NOT. Do something that will help you regroup or else you will become drained and it will show to your child.

Do I regret being rude to family? Yes. Do I regret taking the time needed to bond with my girl? Never. I would go back and do it all over again in a heart beat. Anyone that knows us can tell you that Sweet P is very well bonded to us and she is doing great with attachment! We highly recommend cocooning when you get home wether it be with an older child or newborn.

Sweet P and her cousins at her Uncle Zack’s rehearsal dinner 🙂 a blog post about the wedding coming soon!

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I can’t believe I haven’t shared this on our blog yet! I seriously watch this ALL the time (and cry every time!). I can’t stress enough; if you’re adopting then please get someone to take video and photos of your homecoming. We told our friends and family that if you wanted to see Sweet P, then the airport would be the only chance you have for a while as we knew we’d be home and bonding with no visitors for a few months. This was such a special moment!

Watching this now it amazes me to see the transformation in Sweet P. She was so quiet and scared then, and now she’s so outgoing and it’s like she has blossomed. It’s amazing what love can do. To have this footage means so much. I can’t thank Cody Allen Productions enough for this film:

 

I get lots of questions from people asking “how do I start the adoption process?” So I thought I would write the advice that I share. Other than LOTS of prayer, I suggest…

  1. Decide on international or domestic adoption. I would suggest lots of prayer on this one! Please know that Either choice is the right choice. Children from all over our country and all over the world need a loving home.
  2. Choose an adoption agency. My opinion, this is the most important step. Your adoption agency is the link between you and your child. For me, communication was key. I emailed several agencies to inquire about their services and some took weeks to write back. No thanks! You want an agency that’s quick to respond during this process. We loved Holt International.
  3. Find a lawyer. Obviously you’re going to need someone to handle the legal side of adoption. We did not need one as much for international (it’s pretty cut and dry, especially in China), but domestic adoptions can sometimes get complicated.
  4. Research and ask people. I love when people contact me wanting to know it all. The good, the bad, the ugly. Adoption is hard, exhausting, draining, overwhelming, and so much more… but it’s also the best decision we’ve ever made. Read books, go to conferences, do all of your research!
  5. Start a Notebook. I blogged about this here. You’ll need something to keep all of your paperwork and copies in order. Starting this notebook was one of the best pieces of advice ever given to me, and I’m so thankful I did.

Most importantly, you’ll need a support system. There are a lot of groups on Facebook where you can join, ask questions, and get support from people going through the exact same thing. I really benefited from being in a China adoption travel group where we could keep up with each others timelines and talk about our travel plans.

As always, if you ever need anything please reach out to me! I’d be happy to answer any questions that you need.

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I’m a little late with this post because we’ve been enjoying this time with Sweet P very much! Seeing Christmas through the eyes of a child is the biggest blessing. We are very thankful this year to say the least! I thought during our adoption journey that we might be traveling by Thanksgiving if we were lucky. But to already be home with the surgery behind us, what a Thanksgiving gift!

Sweet P was very excited when we told her everyone would be coming over to eat. It was our first family meal with everyone, and I was thankful we could all sit down and enjoy this precious time together. I have to start with a few of the people and things that Sweet P said she was thankful for this year. I thought it was so sweet when she said “home and bed”…

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Sneaking some ham! One of her favorite things to do is to play with Nana in the sink…