Thursday, July 2, 2009

How do the babies handle the flight back to the US?

Short Answer: Usually lots of crying.

More detailed answer:

Well, I can also sum it up by saying.... "Although, we have been anxiously awaiting Gracie's arrival, she has not been anxiously awaiting us."

Gracie has been with a loving foster family. As far as she understands, her foster mother is her MOM/Omma. She has no idea her world is going to be turned upside down. Granted, she will adjust eventually, and she will be happy but it will take some time. Gracie will be deeply loved in her forever family, however she has had to pay a high price to join our family.

At 11 months old, Gracie will be very well attached to her foster mother and her family. When she comes home with us she will have lost all she has known and all that is familiar. She will have lost her "Omma"(Mama) and the biological children of her foster mother, "her siblings". She will have lost the familiar sounds, smells, and language. We will look very different, and maybe even scary to her because all she has seen in her life are probably only Korean faces (not blonde hair, light blue "big" eyes, "long" noses and a hairy face(that's John :-).

It is a very bittersweet time... it is joyful that she will be with us, her forever family that cherishes her already, however, it is also a time of deep loss for her. She will experience grief and we will be there to help her work through it.

So all that being said, you can imagine that a 20 hour flight with a grief stricken child is not going to be fun. Apparently, there is likely to be lots of crying on an airplane full of people (like 4-5 hours maybe). Yikes!! We've heard from some families the babies cry until they fall asleep of exhaustion and once they wake up they seem "fine" or at least a lot better. Other infants just "shut down" from the grief. Although this is heartbreaking, it is a healthy response, it shows they were well taken care of and were attached to their foster parent. Even with the grief, attachment to a foster parent is best because if you have attached to a caregiver in your infancy, it means there is the best chance that you will be able to attach again and trust again.

So John and I are trying to mentally and emotionally prepare for the "worst" on the flight home and anything better than that will be a blessing....

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