Below you will find a letter we had prepared to send out to family & friends back in March when we thought we were bringing Kirill home. After we were denied his adoption in his regional court, we didn't send out the letter. Since we were all a little caught off guard by his homecoming after our supreme court hearing, we are just now sharing this with everyone. It is very apparent now more than ever that the plans we had for Kirill's adjustment be followed. We are all doing fine, but we just cannot have a lot of excitement right now. Quiet and calm are our friends. :) I will share on here our day to day, so I hope you will follow along and understand if I don't respond to every email, phone call, or comment right now. I do read them and appreciate them more than you will ever know. But if I responded to everything, I would not have any time for Clayton and Kirill. Things will settle down eventually and I hope to be able to be more responsive after we are all adjusted to the big changes in our lives! Thank you again so much for your continued prayers and support.
Dear Family and Friends,
As we get ready to embark on one of the most exciting events in our lives, we are thinking a lot about the people around us and how much our lives are going to change. Family and friends are so very important to us and we cannot wait for Kirill to share in the blessing of a relationship with each one of you. We feel that God has worked through you all to give us love, support, and encouragement during our adoption process. You have prayed, cried, and shared in our excitement; truly you have been Christ to us. We appreciate you more than we can ever express in words.
We’re thrilled about bringing Kirill home! We’ve done a lot of reading, research, and asked a lot of other adoptive parents about this process and we feel as prepared as we can be to help Kirill become a member of our family and community.
There are some things about adoptive parenting that are the same as parenting a biological child. There are also quite a few areas that we have learned are different. Through our adoption agency, the UAB International Adoption Clinic, books, other adoptive parents, adoption social workers, psychologists and more, we have learned that Kirill needs a specific type of environment and parenting when he first comes home in order to feel safe & secure and to learn how to live successfully in our family.
While we know that every child is different, we also understand that there are many possible things that will impact Kirill’s beliefs and behavior when he gets home. These include how much nurturing Kirill received, if there was abuse or neglect, the amount and quality of the food he received, illnesses, the quality of care and his unique temperament and personality. The result of these variables can include behavioral issues, emotional disorders and a sense of grief and loss from being separated from the only home and caregivers Kirill has ever known. Adoption is a traumatic and scary event for a child, whether they are newborn or 10 years old. Kirill is being removed from all of his routines and familiar surroundings. If you have children, you can imagine plucking them out of your family and into a totally different home in a different country. Anyone would feel grief and sadness at an event like this. So in order to help Kirill feel safe and learn that we are his parents, we will be creating the type of environment that will help promote security for him during this stressful time.
When Kirill gets home, at the recommendation of the experienced adoption professionals with whom we have been working, we need to implement specific parenting approaches to help encourage a strong, attached, emotionally healthy bond. Kirill needs to learn that we are the parents. He needs to feel nurtured and safe. He will not be used to having parents to love and care for him.
Here are some things we will be doing for Kirill based on research and experience with other adopted children. We will be living a very quiet life with limited trips out and few visitors in for a little while. Social workers and psychologists tell us that when children are first brought into the adoptive home, they often feel overwhelmed, scared, and nervous. By keeping our lives very boring at first, we will be helping Kirill feel safe. This does NOT mean we do not want visitors coming to meet Kirill for the first time. We will just have to limit it a little so that it is not overwhelming. Please feel free to call us and ask to come visit! We just want you to understand that if we have to limit visitors it is not because we want you to stay away. On the contrary, we need your support and encouragement during this time!
I know a number of people are planning to meet us at the airport when we arrive home. That will be wonderful and touching for us to see so many familiar and supportive faces when we arrive. We do not want family and friends to stay away from us. We just can’t pass Kirill around for everyone to hold a lot and we will have to be mindful of overloading him with new things and people. We know you will want to hug, kiss, and help spoil Kirill, but it is recommended that we be the only ones to do that at first to improve his chances of attaching strongly to us. Until we feel that Kirill has attached and clearly knows that we are his parents, we will need to feed, change, and take care of him. We know that it may feel disappointing to some of you because you have shared in our excitement of meeting Kirill. I bet you’re especially disappointed about missing out on the diaper changes. Have no fear; there will be many more once he becomes comfortable at home. J
As strange as it may seem, adopted children who act very outgoing and affectionate with strangers is not a healthy thing. It is called “indiscriminate affection” and can mean that they haven’t really attached to anyone. It would not be a good sign that Kirill is attached to us if during his first months home he will let just anyone take him and hold him without searching for us. For certain, it going to be a weird and wonderful experience for us. We are so excited and we can’t wait to bring Kirill home so you can all see him and get to know him. Things are just a little different when you are adopting a child rather than having a biological child. He will be adapting to a lot of new things…new parents, new brother, new home, new foods, new time zone (totally opposite of everything he is used to). That’s a lot to swallow at one time. Although we cannot predict how long it will take Kirill to adjust to our home, we feel confident that by implementing some specific parenting approaches it will happen more quickly than if we did not implement those approaches.
We appreciate your time and understanding in reading this. We are giving you this letter because you are very important to us, and we know you will be to Kirill as well. We want you to understand how dedicated and committed we are to helping Kirill adjust and adapt as smoothly as possible during this stressful time in his life. We feel confident that everything will smooth out quickly and we will be on a more normal schedule! Thank you again for your continued prayers, love, and encouragement.
Greg & Tesney