Monday, July 30, 2012

Shout Out: Meet the Moorhouse Family!

Meet the Moorhouse family!

We are Jeremy and Shelly Moorhouse, and we are adopting our first child from Bulgaria.  I (Shelly) dreamed of adopting children for years, long before I even met my husband.  Jeremy had never really considered adopting until I started discussing it with him about a year and a half ago.  He had always thought of it as something great for other couples to do if they couldn't have "children of their own."  It took about a year, but God really began softening Jeremy's heart toward adoption.  We have both really come to view adoption as a perfect picture of God's grace.  We are all orphans here on this Earth, without a hope or a heritage, but God said He would not leave us as orphans.  When we accept Jesus as our savior, He grafts us into His royal family and we become sons and daughters of God! We are given love we don't deserve, a hope for the future, and an inheritance in the Lord.  So in short, we want to adopt because we are adopted!

We are just beginning our adoption journey with All God's Children International.  We chose our agency because they were so helpful over the phone, so patient with us, and because they have a well-rounded ministry, including missions and orphan care.  Among the programs they offer, we qualified for their Bulgaria program.  Our child will be a boy or a girl, up to seven years old, and could have special needs. 

Currently, we are saving and raising the funds to pay our first set of program fees and our home study fee, which will be due in late September.  One way we are raising support is by hosting online raffles at our blog:  Coming soon, we will be selling some adorable adoption t-shirts on our blog as well.  Please check it out!  You can purchase a virtual raffle ticket (or a few) or just make a donation to our cause via the Paypal button. 

Thanks so much to Rebekah for giving us a shout out!  And thanks so much for visiting our blog and following along in our adoption story!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

First Week of Physical Therapy

This week Israel started physical therapy. From now on, he will have PT on Mondays and Wednesdays at a local physical therapy office. He also will receive PT in our home with a state-program twice a month. We were given a referral for both of these services from our pediatrician to help Israel catch up developmentally.

Monday was our first appointment, and we had to do an "assessment" with the owner of the Physical Therapy practice at their office. He observed Israel and took notes about his history, and then did some PT exercises to test where Israel is developmentally. It was about an hour and Israel cried about 90% of the time! I even cried a bit - seeing Israel cry and knowing that not only was I not able to comfort him (because the PT was still doing the exercises) but that I was helping cause the tears! I know, I know- it is for his benefit but that doesn't make it easy. He gave us several worksheets with pictures and descriptions of exercises to do with Israel.

Wednesday we returned to the PT office and did about 30 minutes of exercises with the same man. Israel cried the whole time again, but thankfully the Phys. Therapist let me comfort Israel at the 15 minute mark and at the end- as soon as Israel came into my arms, he cheered up! That made me happy for sure!

Thursday afternoon the PT from the (free) state program came to our house. She was very gentle and showed us how to do several exercises with Israel (many of them were the same that our other PT had recommended). If Israel started to cry, she would distract him or stop and move on to something else; it was a very different experience from our other PT appointments! She also wrote out a plan of exercises for us with detailed descriptions.

After our first week of PT, Will and I feel a lot more equipped to work with Israel on some specific exercises. Israel still cries when we do most of them, but at least we know how to play more intentionally!

Here are a few pictures of Israel doing some of his exercise moves, working on strengthening his arms and legs.

All of the pictures where he is not crying are because he was distracted by his mommy and the big camera.... normally crying ensues within seconds.

We are proud of our boy and we know that he will make progress soon! The PT at the office said that Israel's body is ready to progress and his muscles just need to know how to move; so therapy will teach him to do what his body is ready to do!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

First Overnight Trip!

Last week, Israel and I headed two hours south to my parents house for three days. My husband needed some serious study time for some upcoming classes, so we gave him some space to do that!

The 2 hour drive alone was pretty hard- Israel took two short naps, but when he wasn't napping he was screaming! He normally does great in a car seat but I think he felt alone back there during the trip! (it makes me nervous for our upcoming 10 hour drive to NC in a few weeks!)

Israel had met my mom a few times, and my dad once. He seemed very comfortable with them and never had a freak out moment where he realized he wasn't at home. I brought his favorite toys along for the trip, so he enjoyed showing them off (especially his talking puppy) to his grandparents. He has figured out how to get it to make noise and he is so proud when he does it!

Israel and Papa
Israel and Nana (and his favorite puppy)

He met some friends of the family and even tagged along for a little shopping trip to Target and some other stores (most of the time he was asleep in the Ergo!). He also met my paternal grandmother and one of my aunts during a lunch together!

He napped and slept well at night! He actually slept on a big person bed with a guard rail instead of a pack and play - he's not rolling over yet and he stays very still when he's sleeping! I brought his noise machine and video monitor.

He took his first sink baths and had a blast splashing water over the entire kitchen!

He got some new shades at a local consignment store and he was such a cool kid when we drove him around in a toy car. He kept one hand on the steering wheel!

The last day, I even took a 2 hour mommy break and got a pedicure and some shopping all by myself!!! It was great to know he was happy with my parents and didn't even notice I was missing.

After another long drive home, we were very, very glad to be reunited with Daddy! I think Will regretted kicking us out because he missed us too much :).

It was a great mini trip (aside from missing Will) and I'm so glad Israel is so laid back and could handle the changes well. He really is the sweetest kid ever!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Shout Out: Meet the Huffs!

Meet Brittni and Daniel Huff: they are adopting from Ethiopia, their blog is and their facebook page is

"We are Daniel and Brittni Huff. We live in Oklahoma! We met in a Christian ministry on the Oklahoma State campus, and instantly knew "this was it!" We have been married for 4 years now, and are now ready to start our family with our first child. We did not know what was in our future when we said our I Do's.... Little did we know that God had big plans for us to adopt from Ethiopia. And we do not believe this will be our last adoption either :) This all began with a simple prayer of, "God what do you want me to do with my life to honor you???" Our pastor had been preaching about having a purpose, and wanted us to search out what the answer to that question was. As I (Brittni) began praying this prayer, God slowly began to remind me of something I have always known... my love for missions. I have had a heart for missions since I was in high school. One morning I woke up at 5am (I enjoy sleep so this is not normal), and began to read my bible and pray about my life and future. God began to show me verses and take me to notes I had written in my bible regarding missions, then God showed me a new verse Acts 7:3 "Leave your country and your people," God said "and go to the land that I will show you." At the time I felt we better begin to pack our bags, we're going to be missionaries somewhere. I then talked to Daniel and shared my heart with him, and he too had been feeling the same. We knew missions was our heart, so we began to pray "where? when?" and we got... NOTHING. lol Not long after we began to talk about adoption, and just couldnt get it out of our minds. The more we talked and looked online, the more we were filled with excitement and a heart for the orphan. As we began to pray about this decision, we realized the verse God took me to wasn't telling us we're moving. It was telling us we were GOING but we were also coming back, with a child! Being missionaries wasn't the direction he was leading us in, international adoption was.... We prayed that God would give us direction as to which country we were to adopt from, and he led us to Ethiopia. And we could not be more excited about this! The more and more we learned about Ethiopia we now know why God led us there, the devastating totals of orphans and poverty in the country just grip my heart. I want more than anything for our adoption to be an eye opener to those around us to see that there are so many more children out there that need us to stand in the gap for them, and fight for them...We are in the process of adopting a boy under the age of 1. We just submitted our Dossier to our agency on June 27th. Our DTE is July 6th, and our agency has told us that our Dossier should be authenticated and in Ethiopia today to be exact!(sorry I know this is long, just hard to be really brief about how God led us there)

We are currently doing a Thirty One Fundraiser, all proceeds (25%) will go towards our adoption costs! The fundraiser is open until July 30th. To purchase from our fundraiser you may go to our online shopping link: "

So check out the Huff Family blog here, and their Thirty-One party here!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Milestones and a Heart Check

When we brought Israel home, he was almost seven months old and we knew he had some room for improvement with his motor skills and development. This is largely in part because he was institutionalized and most of his play time was spent laying on his back, in a bouncy seat or a bumbo. Our pediatrician referred us to a physical therapist and we will begin those appointments in our home this week.

It was really hard for me during our initial pediatrician visit when Israel failed so many development tests. I know part of it was my pride and me wanting my son to be on track for his age. I was bitter at the orphanage for not working on his development; bitter at the governments that took so long to process our case; bitter at the fact that my son had to be in an orphanage at all; bitter that kids are still in orphanages! It wasn't the healthiest place for me to be. I was both sad to talk about his development and ready to just get going and work on his skills.

I remember landing in the Atlanta airport, going through customs and a woman complimented me on such a cute baby. She asked how old he was (six months) and said "oh he must be sitting up! What a fun age!" That was the first time I felt a little defensive about him. I wanted to make an excuse for why he wasn't yet.

So when we came home, we tried a lot of things. It was difficult to know how to balance focusing on our attachment and focusing on his physical skills. If he did tummy time, he screamed and cried. Should I let him cry? Everything we were taught said no, let alone be the one to make him cry!

After three weeks at home, Israel picked up his first toy! It was a giraffe teether toy and he picked it up and waved it around. This felt so huge! Previously he wouldn't hold anything in his hands, even if we wrapped his fingers around something.

Then he started to become more interested in toys, batting at the wheel on his exersaucer and toys on his bouncy seat. Every time we considered these little victories! As far as we could tell, only the kids who could sit up at Hannah's Hope played with toys. His typical day there involved a rotation from crib to Moses basket to bouncy seat.

We continued to try tummy time and to try and prop Israel up in the boppy pillow. He hated it less and less and he could endure them a few minutes longer each week.

Finally, on July 5 (two months home) Israel sat up!! It felt huge. We are So proud of our boy. He was a little unsteady the first day and we had to position his legs just right; now he is a little more confident and he doesn't fall back as much. He only sits up if we sit him up, he isn't able to move to that position himself. He will now play with toys while sitting and is so content! There are still several goals and milestones to go. We are excited to start therapy soon to work towards these.

We had another pediatrician check up recently and we were again a bit discouraged bc he wanted Israel to be doing a lot more than what he is. Will and I left feeling a bit defeated- we were so proud to show off his new skills but all we could think of now was what he had not accomplished. I felt like it reflected on me because I'm a stay at home mom! Israel's been home 2 and a half months... Shouldn't he be "caught up" by now?

So... I did a bit of reflection and listened to the encouragement of others. What did I learn from this?

DO NOT compare him to other kids. Not just my friends' biological kids, but even his buddies from Hannah's Hope. 

DO NOT take his development personally. I'll admit that it feels like his milestones reflect on me, since I stay at home with him. Will was the one to come home and get Israel to finally sit up by himself- I felt a little disappointed because it should have been me!

Do NOT compare Israel to the "normal" timeline for development or put unreal expectations on him. He has had a lot of trauma and under stimulation in his life; two months at home won't heal everything!

DO Celebrate what matters. Yes it's awesome that he is sitting up; but what REALLY matters is not whether it not he can roll over or self feed; it's attachment, bonding, the ability to respond to human interaction and the love that we are pouring into him.

My sister made a good point to me. She said to think about his 2nd birthday: he will probably be walking and talking then! The exact timing of those events doesn't really matter!

And Will made a great point too. He reminded me that the stunned, bobble-headed little boy we met on this day in March:

Is not the same boy that is in our home today:

So I'm going to have to remind myself to trust the Lord for healing and development for my boy and thank Him for what he is already doing in Israel!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Israel's First Haircut

Israel had another big milestone this week... his first haircut! I know some people (including my husband) were against the idea of cutting his hair (ahem, @mamasaytay!) but his hair was getting REALLY long in the back and he definitely had a mullet. Also, he had a very distinct bald patch when we brought him home where he would rub his head when he laid on his back. It has started to grow in, but the areas around the bald patch were about 5 inches long- and so it looked really weird and made his head look really flat. All vain things, of course, but I just wanted to get his hair "shaped" for our upcoming family pictures.

Before (taken via instagram- I'm @rebekahmcgee ):

At the hair salon!

Israel was happy as long as we kept him occupied with puffs and toys.

Sherry cut his hair and I was really glad to hear that our hair routine is appropriate and working! She said I was using the right products and that his hair was very soft and moisturized! Woo hoo!

The final product:

There isn't a huge difference at all, which is what we wanted. In fact, Will told me the morning of the haircut that the goal was to make it look like he didn't get a cut at all! His mullet is gone and the back of his head looks more even. I'm a happy mom and Israel isn't traumatized :).

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Behold the Cuteness

I've got a few real posts in the works... but blogging these days involves writing on my phone while I rock a baby and hoping that I remember to post it later. If you're wanting more of Israel's cuteness in your life, feel free to follow along on Instagram (username: rebekahmcgee). For now, feast your eyes on our little joy:

Love my little man!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Shout Out: Meet Ashley & Patrick!

I'm happy to introduce to you Ashley & Patrick Gollasch!

Ashley and Patrick are in the domestic adoption process for their first child. This sweet couple has had quite the journey to get to this place. In 2005, Ashley discovered that she had cancer. Thankfully, today she is cancer-free but her bout with chemotherapy may have led to infertility. Ashley is so strong and has seen how her journey through cancer has shaped her in a positive way. Patrick is in the Army and they spent a year apart after being married when he was deployed! When they were finally reunited, they tried to conceive but discovered that at this point, conception is not in God's plan for them. This year they decided to pursue domestic adoption.

Check out their awesome adoption shirts! Love it!

Ashley & Patrick are ready to begin their homestudy, but need some financial support to be able to move forward. They have signed the contracts for their agency and are currently writing letters to potential birth mothers. After they have completed their homestudy they can be matched with a birth mom! Please consider helping them financially so they can begin their homestudy!

Their beautiful puzzle for their "under the sea" themed nursery!

From Ashley: It's a puzzle fundraiser! Each puzzle piece is $5. The idea is you purchase a puzzle piece and then we write your name on the back of it. We frame the finished product and hang in our future nursery. :) That way we always have a reminder of the amazing people who helped piece our adoption together. We thought this was such a cute idea and something we can keep forever! We purchased the puzzle and figured we could take status pictures to reveal what the picture is. Keep everyone in suspense! If you would like to purchase a puzzle piece you can donate to our Gofundme page:

So please, go check out their adoption blog here and consider donating to their puzzle fundraiser!

If you would like a little blog "shout out" - check out this post for details.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Want a shout out?

I'm so thankful for this little blog and that it was been a vessel to connect to so many other adoptive families! I've had this blog since we started our adoption process in March 2010, and I have been amazed by the people that have stepped out to email me and let me be a part of their story or learn more about their story. I am honored to connect with you!

So, with that said, I know that this blog is not a big blog at all- but because so many people seem to connect through blogs, I would love to offer this space for those of you who need a little shout out for adoption fundraising. Some families feel isolated in their fundraising efforts or in their adoption circle- and I'd love for us to encourage each other and share what God has given to bring more orphans into families.

If you would like for me to post a "shout out" blog post highlighting a specific adoption fundraiser that your family is participating in, then feel free to email me at yestoadoption (at) gmail (dot) com. 

 If you are interested, email me this:

Your name, where you are adopting from, and your blog/website. 

A brief bio about your family- feel free to include your reason for adopting, why you chose your country, and/or where you are in the adoption process.

A brief explanation about your fundraiser- with links! 

A picture of your family & of your fundraiser, if applicable. 

I look forward to connecting with you! I hope to post one "shout out" post per week as long as there is a need.

Also, if you are looking for fundraiser ideas, check out this post.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Nine Months Old!

Dear Israel,

Today you are nine months old! I cannot believe how fast you are growing and changing. You just moved into nine month clothes and it makes me sad to box up your six month outfits! You also are picking up new tricks every day. Last week you started sitting up, and this week you discovered clapping! I know it is a matter of time before you will be rolling over, crawling or finally putting weight on your feet!

This past month you met three more cousins and more aunts and uncles (we have a big family!)! Your family loves you so much! I can't wait for the future when you play more with your cousins- right now you are just very observant and like to watch them!

You have continued to be a great eater and you will try anything we put in front of you. You are still eating puréed food but now you like puffs as a snack and I always give you yogurt melts right before and after a meal. You grin up at me when I put it in your mouth, and it gives me a few minutes to prepare your food or clean up! You are very content in your high chair; you will kick your legs and blow bubbles with your mouth until we are ready to get you out! You also have a regular habit of spitting your food out (not because you don't like it but because it makes you smile). Sometimes you will look up at me and make sure I'm watching then spit!! I have pea stains on my shirts on a regular basis. We also switched your formula this month. You had been in Enfamil Prosbee soy but we made the transition to a low lactose formula. I'm glad that it appears you don't have a lactose allergy!

I have let you drink water out of a straw a few times and you easily figured it out- the problem is you get so excited that you smile and it drips right out of your mouth! We tried to play around with a sippy cup but you didn't like it and refused to hold it!

Speaking of holding things, your favorite toys are a giraffe teether toy and a blue ball that you can grasp. You are slowly discovering other toys and you think its funny when I build up blocks and you topple them over. You still love your exersaucer, which is GREAT for mommy because I can cook or eat when you're in it! But now that you are sitting up, you don't play in it as much because you are happy sitting and playing! You still love your hands and love to pat me when you drink your bottle.

This month we went to the community center pool- you sat up and splashed the water. You do really well in new environments that are outdoors. I was glad you weren't scared by the big kids! We also ate in a restaurant three times this month with friends. Every time you were such a good boy! You, of course, were very loud and verbal but that is to be expected from our little talker! You are always cooing or shouting! You have done this fake coughing act for a while- if dad starts to fake cough, then you repeat it and you guys go back and forth until eventually you gag! Ha! With me, you will go back and forth saying "oh!" and its really cute! I've been trying to get you to say "mama" but it hasn't happened yet.

You have started to laugh more freely and it makes us so happy! You give more laughs to your daddy, which I guess is understandable because he is a funny guy! We both look forward to when daddy is home every day, and daddy loves to spend the early mornings with you so that mom can get an extra bit of sleep (since you like to keep me up in the middle of the night!). You had a good stretch where you were only waking 1-2 times a night, but the past few days you are back to 4-5 times again! I think you might be teething, because you love gnawing on your fist and you drool a good bit. I hope that teething is fast for you, but I sure will miss your gummy smile!

I feel like you got so big overnight. I love this age right now- you are so content and so silly! You look at us when we are preoccupied until we acknowledge you, and when we smile at you, you always light up with a gummy smile for us. You have started to "kiss" us with an open mouth. We'll take sloppy kisses I guess! You are so incredibly sweet and we couldn't have asked for a more precious baby. We love you so much!!


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

It took a village! (aka How God provided for our adoption)

Piggy backing off of my post on Friday about the generous adoption community, I need to give a grand shout out to the countless people who financially supported us through this adoption. I can't believe our son is finally HOME, let alone that he's been home for over two months!

When we started our adoption process in March of 2010, we were YOUNG newlyweds. Will was in seminary and I was the "breadwinner" at a government office.... we weren't raking it in by any means, but God was providing for our needs and we had a little bit in our savings account. We lived very frugally- from couponing to setting up a strict budget.

We had enough to start our adoption without any help, and then got to work on fund raising. We set up a Just Love Coffee site (overall made about $1,500), did 3 yard sales (made around $5,000!), sold crafts online via etsy, blog, and 3 craft fairs ($3,000), sold Tukula ($300), and a few random things like Ordinary Hero, Thirty One, and a grant from the Southern Baptist Convention. When I mention each of those things, SO MANY people invested in each of those projects. People donated goods and their time for our yard sales. People spread the word about each of our fund raising attempts.

We were SO surprised at how the money came together. Friends that we hadn't connected with since high school or college gave generous amounts. Friends who were serving on staff with mission teams (that had to do personal fundraising for their salaries) gave to us. Fellow seminary friends and pastors donated to our adoption. Families involved in their own adoption processes donated to us. People we didn't know invested in us!

There was never a payment that we needed to make that God didn't provide for in specific timing. We had exactly what we needed when a payment was due, not necessarily before it was due. We saw God provide for our needs outside of our adoption, and he gave us grace to have reasonable bills, good health, steady jobs, and the ability to live frugally within our budget.

Thank you so much to those of you who invested in our adoption process! Thank you for being a vessel of God's provision for our family. We have seen God's hand in our family in such a specific way. This adoption will forever be a marker for God's faithfulness in our lives as we have countless ways to remember His specific care for us. He has done GREAT things for us!

My theme verse for our adoption has been "The one who calls you is faithful and He will do it."- 1 Thessalonians 5:24. This has been SO TRUE for us.

I also want to say that since we are on the "other" side of the adoption process (having completed our international adoption) I would like to share about why adoption is so expensive. Many people mistakenly call adoption as "buying children" or say "if there is such a need, why is it expensive?" or wonder WHO gets the money that we pay. When you adopt from a reputable agency, you will see a specific breakdown of fees that you pay. Your money goes LOTS of places: paying the salaries of your case manager and agency staff (they work HARD and have a stressful work!), the salaries of the in-country staff (special mothers, drivers, office workers), the care of your child (orphanage fees- food, utilities, etc), the salaries of the workers who review your case (translating documents, court officials, embassy workers), the salaries of those who process your fingerprints, official documents, etc; AND the fees for travel (plane, hotel, food, etc). Basically- there are COUNTLESS people who have their hands on your adoption (and your adoption documents!). Of course that is why adoption is also so tricky- it is so interdependent on many people, in different languages and cultures. No one person or government is getting a $30,000 check.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Shout Out: Meet Les & Prudence!

I posted a while back that some local friends of ours were considering the adoption process. I'm here now to shout with JOY that they have applied to the Ukraine program to adopt a few older children! WOO HOO!

It is my understanding that the Ukraine process will take 12-18 months and they will go to Ukraine when their paperwork is ready and spend 4-8 weeks in country. They will be matched with their children while in country and return with them! So when they leave they will be a family of 2, and return with a new family dynamic! I don't even know how I would prepare my house or heart for that, but these guys are rock stars and I know they are already getting to work to be ready!

So let me tell you about these friends. Les and Prudence are probably the nicest, most servant-hearted people I know. Prudence has been such an incredible support for me since coming home with Israel; she often leaves little treats on our porch (even though she lives 15 minutes away) and has come to spend time with me at night so I can have a friend time because she knows that is rare these days! They are active members of our church and are always serving in various positions and are willing to do anything to help.

She and Les decided around February that they wanted to begin the adoption process, so they began brainstorming ideas to start making money for their adoption. Les began a landscaping company here in Alabama, and Prudence learned to sew and started an Etsy shop! They both have full time jobs- so these efforts are IN ADDITION to those jobs; they are using all of their weekends and nights to work hard to bring home some kiddos! I told you: servant-hearted and hard working!

So I'm asking for you to rejoice with this precious family as they start their journey to their kiddos. Adoption costs a lot of money up-front and you can't apply for grants until your homestudy is completed. By the time your homestudy is completed you have already fronted several thousand dollars! So, will you head over to their blog, check out Prudence's shop, and donate $10-$20 to their paypal on their blog? Every little bit adds up, and I'm sure your gift, no matter what the size, will be a blessing to them! They are just beginning the adoption process and their adoption support community is still very small- I'm sure having a blessing from new friends/strangers will make their day! And most importantly, cover this family in prayer as they begin a life-changing process!

Thanks for sharing in their joy!

Once again... SHOP HERE, follow their BLOG HERE and DONATE on their blog (paypal). Feel free to share this post! Spread the love, people!

Here are a few pictures of her products:

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Generous Adoption Community

***This is a post that was a "draft" that got buried in my blog list! It's a little late in posting but it is still very true!***

I just want to say a quick word of thank you to my fellow adoptive families. I can say without a doubt that we have found the most generous, encouraging, and prayer-lifting community through other adoptive families. I cannot imagine my life without this community of families that has impacted us so deeply.

I could list so many examples (and trust me I want to name names but I'm sure they wouldn't want to have that attention), but there have been several families who are in the middle of their own adoptions or have just completed adoptions, and they have given to us generously, from smaller amounts to hundreds of dollars for our adoption. These are families who are scraping pennies and saving diligently yet they hold every penny with a loose grip, willing to give it to us or others when there is a need. All because we share a same passion... bringing orphans into families, making them sons and daughters. This is so humbling and encouraging.

I am so thankful for a community of friends who have given to us, being a physical representation to us of the provision of God for our needs; prayed for us because they knew exactly what we were going through; and supported us with education, advice and a listening ear!

*Not to say that other families have not been beyond generous to us! I'm just wanting to point out that it has been so humbling to receive such generosity from other adoptive families. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Meeting extended family: Grandparents

As promised, here is a post to describe how Israel met his grandparents, and how we did that within the boundaries of our cocooning season.

At the airport, both grandmas (my mom "Nana" and Will's mom "Gaga") were present. They both gave him a kiss while I held him. We knew Israel was very overstimulated from the airport and that the kisses would mean a lot to our moms, while Israel didn't really understand affection yet.

We came home on Saturday night, and on Sunday night, in the middle of the night, Will left for Haiti on a short trip with our church college ministry. He was only gone until Wednesday... But those 3 days were going to be very long because of jet lag and becoming new parents. Nana came on Monday and stayed until Tuesday. Gaga came on Wednesday and stayed for the day. Although they were in the house with me and Israel, they didn't do any of the care for Israel or give him any attention (they were dying inside!). They helped clean, unpack, cook and organize. It was also nice for me to have someone else in the house while Will was out of the country. I am so thankful they were able to help me focus on Israel during the first few days home!

After a few weeks, my parents came up one day and brought us lunch- they live 2 hours south of us. They stayed about 3 hours and played with Israel while we held him.

He normally wears clothes, I promise!

About a week later, Will's parents and brother came. They live two hours north of us. They also brought us lunch and just stayed for a few hours. They played with him on the floor and I even let Gaga hold Israel while he was sleeping (after I rocked him to sleep). At that point we had been home five weeks.

At about six and a half weeks, my mom came up for the day. I told myself before she came that I was going to let her hold him while he was awake... But I never had the willingness to hand him over! She also rocked him while he was asleep after I got him to sleep.

Then, last week, Will and I got a stomach bug. We got this bug from my sister (Yeah I'm calling you out sis!) who had just been with my entire family at my parents house. We had planned to visit them but then we heard that they all had a stomach bug. My sister headed to our house to escape it, but ended up sharing it with us! Because my mom had already been exposed and was better, she came up to help us while Will and I were sick. We didn't want to pass germs to Israel (praise God he never got sick!) so my mom stayed for two days and did all of the care for Israel - diapers, feeding, bathing, putting to sleep, and snuggling. It was certainly not the scenario I had envisioned for letting Israel be cared for by someone else! It was miserable watching Israel and not being able to love on him! I was reminded that this was how the grandparents have felt!! Israel did really well with my mom. We were in the same room a lot, so it's not like we disappeared and my mom cared for him. I think it was probably the only catalyst to let me know it was ok to have grandparents hold Israel- he was ok and it didn't hurt our attachment process.

So now that we have crossed that border, I'm ready to let Israel be held and cared for by his grandparents. I'm thankful that they live so close and that they are willing to come down often!

I also just want to say that our parents have been incredibly supportive!! Not just of our adoption process, but they were so respectful during our cocooning phase and never made us feel guilty for cocooning or setting such different boundaries than what they had with other grand kids. I am so thankful that they let us lead and trusted us to make the right decisions for Israel, even if it meant that they had to wait to be hands on grandparents.

I truly believe our season of cocooning was worth it and we have made a great stride in our attachment process. Although, we are not ready for Israel to be passed around to strangers or friends, and I'm still a little wary of people touching him! Our friends have commented that they have seen the fruit of cocooning in the way that Israel responds to us. This journey isn't over- we are just beginning to repair the losses that were made during Israel's life before us. We are his fourth home and I don't know how many caregivers he had before us! So laying this foundation, creating an "inner circle" of "safe" people... This will pay off in the long run and Israel will be able to have healthy relationships because we are teaching him what that looks like.
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