Here are just a few examples of the love that has been shown to Sam and me:
|My mom, sisters, and dear friends threw me and Sam a Reece's Rainbow themed baby shower.|
|Everyone signed in with a green thumbprint and signature on this tree made by my friend, Ashlee.|
|And to top it all off, we ended our time praying for Sam's court hearing. I know, huh? Wow.|
|Here are some of my most favorite people in the whole world...my youth group. Praying for Sam.|
|And here's the 2nd grade class from St. Peter Lutheran School in Lodi...|
|having a bake sale to benefit the children of Pleven...|
|They raised more than $1,000!!! Thank you again, Mrs. Steiner!|
I know there is also a group of kiddos at a church in Indiana who raised money for Sam as part of their VBS mission project. Thank you again, Sarah!!
And thank you to EVERYONE who prayed, advocated, gave, supported, encouraged.
I want you all to know that I’m looking forward to sharing Sam with you.
And I thank you in advance for being patient with us.
We’re going to take things very slow for the first several weeks back home. Please don’t take this personally! As much as I am anxious to share my incredibly sweet daughter with all of you, I am even more anxious to give her the best start I possibly can to this new life of ours. And for now, I know it is in her best interest that we lay low for a while. For several reasons, really.
Our New Normal. I want to teach Sam what its like to be part of a family. She needs to get used to her new normal. This means spending lots of time in her new home, with her new mom, getting used to her new schedule. The more consistent I can be during this time, the more comfortable she will be and the safer she will feel.
A Solid Foundation. Sam will most likely need full time care from me for the rest of her life. Her first months at home are laying the groundwork for many years to come. It is important that I be diligent in bonding with her and teaching her during this time. For example, as cute as it is that Sam may want to hug and kiss everyone in sight (as many children with Down Syndrome do)...I can’t let her. 20 years from now, when she is all grown up, strangers may not find those behaviors quite as cute as I do :) I want to make sure I am setting Sam up for success later in life.
Attachment. Sam has been “cared for” by many people over the last seven years. No day for her is the same as the last. The adults she sees in the morning are different than the adults she sees at night. As far as she knows, all adults are the same, and they all may or may not feed her, change her, bathe her, etc. I want to teach Sam that she can trust me to care for ALL of her needs. If she needs to be consoled, if she is hungry, if she gets hurt, if she wants to be held...she can look to Mommy and get what she needs. Our bond will be closer the more she depends on me to meet those needs.
“How can we, your friends and family, help you to be successful in bonding with Sam during your first weeks at home?”
Well, thank you for asking!
- Please allow me, her immediate family, to touch only; hugs, kisses, and holding need to belong here for an unknown amount of time. High fives and fist bumps are great! And you can absolutely talk to her and make her laugh! But when she reaches out to be held or hug, please redirect her and offer her a high five or handshake instead.
- Allow me to feed her. If food is offered, allow me to feed it to her. She needs to know that her immediate family will meet her physical needs.
- Don't worry at all if you forget! Just please don’t be offended if I redirect you, saying, "Oops, no hugs from friends, lets high five instead!"
- Pray that God will help me meet her heart needs and see/sense what she cannot tell me.
Thank you so much, in advance, for your help and understanding. And for your continued prayers! Less than three days till we leave and six days till we break Sam out of Pleven! I CANNOT WAIT!!!
Katie and I promise to take lots of pictures and videos and keep all of you updated while we are away!
Lots of love to all of you.