One Year Home: Reflections on Cocooning

One year ago, my husband and I began our experience with hands-on parenting our first child. We had anticipated becoming parents through adoption for years, so finally having our son home seemed surreal as we began wading through the waters of first time parenthood. As most adoptive parents are, we were very educated on attachment and cocooning, and had a very thorough transition plan (per our agency's requirements) for the months after our son came home.

How did it all work out for us?

Well, for starters, we decided to have an airport party where close friends and family came to meet Israel before we entered into hiding. Only my husband and I held him there, but we allowed for pictures and for friends to see up close just how amazing and adorable our sweet boy was! Then, we went home and hunkered down for several weeks, where we didn't have visitors (aside from the lovely people who delivered meals) and no one really saw Israel (aside from my 1,000 instagram photos, of course).

Between 4-6 weeks, we finally let our parents come over and spend a short amount of time with us. We let our moms hold Israel while he was sleeping (after I rocked him to sleep) so they were able to get the experience of holding him. Between 2-3 months home, we finally started to let Israel be held by family members for short periods of time when he was awake.

At about 4 months home, we emerged from the cocoon. We went to church, we had our parents babysit for short date outings, and we were taking Israel to more stimulating places like Wal Mart or ministry events.

We were very dilligent with our plan, because we knew we only had one shot to do this thing right, and we didn't want to live with regrets on how our attachment process went because we had been lazy. Our friends and family were very understanding and patient, which was a huge help. Our moms later confessed that they worried how THEY would feel towards Israel, since they weren't given the immediate bonding experiences they had with their other grandkids- but now they have the same relationship with him that they would have pictured if he was biologically ours.

How are things for us now?

Israel has a very healthy relationship with both Will and I. He has a strong preference for us above any other person, yet he is able to be happy with babysitters and when we are away for short periods. He has a very strong relationship with his grandparents and he even knows the difference between them and other adults who are strangers. He is able to make healthy relationships with others and we are confident that he is bonded with us as well. He can be held by others and I don't have to worry if he is bonding with them in an unhealthy way, or if he is parent shopping.

I know he is still a (non-communicative) baby, but we are very thankful for the foundation we are laying with Israel and that we took the time to be intentional about his first few months. As first-time parents, it was really nice to have a few weeks without distractions or input from others as we figured out how to be parents to our little man. In hindsight, those weeks of cocooning seemed to just speed by and it is hard to remember that we even did anything different, even though those days seemed to drag by when we were in the middle of it.

At a year home, we are exactly where we wanted to be with Israel and his attachment. I'm going to give credit to our gracious Father for healing wounds and for knitting our hearts together. I think it is wise to cocoon and I will gladly encourage any family that is on the fence about its importance! Our children are worth the investment of our time and the inconveniences that cocooning can cause. It is such a short time anyway! Let me know if you have questions!


  1. THANK YOU! This blog is a huge help to me! My granddaughter will soon be home, and while on the surface I understood the need for cocooning, I didn't REALLY WANT to understand it, you know? You have helped me see the results of what I think will be a difficult time for this grandmamma!

    1. It's SO nice when grandparents are supportive! Way to go grandma for educating yourself!!

  2. I've enjoyed reading your blog! My family lives in Alabama, and we are in the paperwork phase of our Ethiopian adoption. During some of our required training, we have learned a little about cocooning. I can really see how cocooning would be so essential to forming a good bond with an adopted child, especially after our experiences with foster children where we did not have the luxury of this attachment phase. I imagine it will be the toughest on the grandparents!

  3. Thank you for doing a year in review on this! I just found your blog through Mercy Found. My husband and I are adopting two precious girls from Africa (we are first time parents). I've been doing some research into "cocooning" and how that would play out. Our parents live states away, so having them around won't be as big of an issue, but I was wondering if you would or wouldn't recommend Skype dates with grandparents?

    1. I think skype dates would be okay, especially for the grandparents to get some idea of how the child is, personality, etc. I wouldn't put expectations on a child who's never been involved with the internet to have a mutual understanding of what is going on, though. I know when we were early on in the cocoon, I'd just set up skype with our parents and would play with Israel like normal- not really doing that much interacting or expecting Israel to know to look at the camera, etc. They just wanted to see him play.

  4. My husband and I will most likely be adopting a newborn, but I'm still worried about attachment. Would you recommend cocooning even though aside from his birthmother, the only other parents our baby will know are us?


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