Cocooning is basically where a newly adoptive family takes a dedicated amount of time to stay home, get to know each other, and build bonds and *attach*. Attachment is a big buzzword in the adoption world and is highly recommended by adoption experts. Most children attach naturally when they learn that their parent(s) will meet all of their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. This continues UNLESS something happens to disrupt that attachment.
Without publicizing our son's personal story, it is fair to say that for pretty much all children in his situation, the next few months will be extremely difficult. Please understand that EVERYTHING is brand new and therefore scary. Almost every sight, sound, smell, taste, and texture will be new. His family is also so so new, and he will have to grow to trust us as parents who always provide and who are always there for him. In the orphanage/transition home he has had a rotation of people come in and out to care for him. This is very different from a family structure.
All this to say, we would love if we could invite everybody over to meet him and bring him everywhere we would normally go right away, but this just is not a logical possibility. We don't know exactly how long we will cocoon. Three months is what we have been saying as a general guideline, but it could be more or less just depending on his needs. Sometimes we may go out to very uncrowded public places, sometimes we may invite one or two people over, but there's no guarantees on these things. It's even a possibility that after we leave the cocoon we will go back into the cocoon if that is needed. Please know that we love you and we want you to get to know our son, but ultimately his needs will come first.
When we do start to break out of our cocoon, there are a few things to remember. If you happen to see us out and about, feel free to say hi, talk to him, wave, high five, etc. For now though, please please please refrain from hugs, holding, kisses, pats on the back, and other physical signs of affection. As his parents, we want him to be safe, and part of safety is a healthy sense of stranger danger. You all are obviously not strangers to us, but you are very much strangers to him. This guideline goes both for friends and family, and please know it won't last forever, just until Isaac T gets to know you. :)
A special note for when he eventually starts coming to church... this is a special situation because not just one or two, but dozens and dozens of you will likely want to approach him and meet him. Please realize that although we want each and every one of you to get to know him, if a mob "attacked" that would be an incredibly overwhelming and anxiety-filled time for him. Give him space, let him get used to things, smile and wave and only approach if he looks safe and comfortable. This is just for a season, it won't be forever, and we want him to enjoy attending church and not fear it. :)
Finally, although we just discussed numerous ways that Isaac T's arrival is different from a newborn coming home from the hospital, there are some similarities too. We will most likely be frazzled for a while, lacking sleep, lucky to take a shower and to put on clean clothes. Although it may seem to the contrary, you really do have a huge role to play in Isaac T's homecoming. We covet your prayers for all three of us as we transition into this new normal and as God begins to heal our son's heart from his great loss. It will be easy for us to feel isolated during the cocoon, so please text, call, email, and generally stay in touch.
Thank you for your understanding. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask. We can't wait to bring Isaac T home!! :)