Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Davis' Homecoming--New Pics and BlogBuzz

The BlogBuzz question this week is about "Gotcha Day" and homecomings. . asking us to provde tips and stories for others planning. . .

Gotcha Day. . I know this is a controversial word for some. Not for me. I first heard the term through Jackie Sue, a sweet mentor and friend of mine who adopted a long awaited daughter from China years ago. See the term "gotcha" reminds me of a game of tag. You know, the kind you play on a wonderful summer day in the middle of a field with giggling children. Then, you run up behind the child you were chasing, grab them up, swing them around and sing, "gotcha!" while they giggle uncontrollably. This is why it invokes precious thoughts for me. Especially for my little one. There is little Davis loves more than being "caught" in any game. He lights up! So, for us. . after months of "chasing" and pursuing and waiting. . we finally "gotcha" and boy did our lives fill with joy in that moment!

Today, however, I'm going to write about our homecoming day. You can read about our "Gotcha Day" HERE. . it was very unconventional as we were interrupted. One person who answered this question gave the advice, you'll be disappointed if you come with high expectations. . well, I did and things went differently than I planned! However, in the end it was beautiful because we had Davis in our arms! My biggest tip for travel is. . .BLOG! I love reading about our time. Because I blogged every night and blog pretty openly, I really have a journal of our time in Africa and our first week with Davis. It was also SO fun to have so many of our friends and family following along and commenting, praying and rejoicing with us!

Can I tell you that one of my favorite moments in the TLC show "Adoption Stories" is the airport day? I cry at 2 moments. . gotcha and airport! I am a sucker for introducing this child who has been imagined, dreamt of and prayed over to their extended family. For me, this was a PRECIOUS time! We flew in at 1 am so we didn't know who would really come out in the middle of the night. However. . there had been some people PRAYING for this boy and anxiously awaiting his homecoming for a LONG time and the middle of the night was nothing to them! (In fact, there were others who wanted to come and couldn't make it. . a couple are still sad to this day!) PS I blogged about this day HERE but had NEVER posted pictures!

Seriously. . .this WHOLE crowd is waiting for us! My aunt and uncle (the ones I always talk about) even let their kids stay up this late and come! Then, there is my Mom (dad was out of town and inlaws were watching our other 2 kids), my girlfriends (and even 2 of their kids!) and grandparents! They all screamed, cried and jumped up and down when we walked down the hallway. I'm sure people wondered who the heck we were! (I never told anyone, but my secret wish is always that people will meet me at the airport. We once did this when my sis got engaged out of town and every time I get off a plane I hope for people to be waiting. . how vain am I? I probably should have kept that one to myself!) Anyways. . this was like a dream come true! I started crying as soon as I saw all of them and got so choked up!

Tip: Figure out who videos and get that footage. . I didn't realize until now that Cassie had videoed this!

Can you tell I'm thrilled?! After 16 hours of flying. . .we were home. Davis was still unsure of EVERYONE and extremely tired.

TIP: If you have a US layover before your home destination, figure out a way into the Crown room (or something like it) we were able to shower and get cleaned up which made us MUCH fresher than we would have been!

Since it was the middle of the night (especially for us on Liberian time!), we basically got our bags and left. . this was a short hello and welcome home. This made it even more special that people came out!

That's my mom meeting him for the first time! The guys are my Papa and my cousin, Mitch (all of whom Davis ADORES)

Not sure even why I posted this pic.. except I remember my feeling. . that proud, "hey guys, meet my son" feeling just shows on my face. (even though at the time Davis would barely let me touch him!)

Papa handed him a camera. . this is when everyone first saw his smile in person! Yeah. . everyone melted at this moment!

I know this is a big no no in attachment. . however, it was SUPER quick and quite a surprise for us. .and for papa!

I love my uncle Barry's face in this one. . you can tell they are all crying and he just looks so happy!

Here are my Airport Tips:
1. Decide if this is important to you! I know the books say not to do it. . and to lock yourself at home for the first weeks and for some this is necessary. But, I really don't think 15 min at the airport will ruin anything, IF that's what your family decides to do. Pray and ask the Lord!
2. Let people know. . .tell them that they can't hold him or touch him really. Tell them that you can't (most likely) go out to dinner on the way home. It may be a quick 20 min meeting, but it will be one you won't forget!
3. Enjoy yourself. Take a moment and bask. Sometimes our in country time is stressful, full of activity and surreal. This time, you have a whole plane ride to prepare your heart. Stop and be thankful. Stand in amazement to what it means that others really care this much. They love your child and are willing to come across town (usually at weird times!) just to welcome them into your Family!

Tips for friends and family:
1. If they say yes. . DO IT! You won't regret it. . .I do, however, regret NOT meeting some friends at the airport when they came home!
2. Remember their rules and the needs of their family and respect them.
3. This IS an exciting time. . .make posters and balloons. . jump up and scream. They will feel loved!
4. The other thing a couple of my friends and family did is to "break in" to our house. They filled the pantry and fridge, put up welcome signs and vases of flowers. . they also turned on our Christmas lights (since we came home Dec. 7). When my friend, Jaci came home from China. . we broke into her house (with a key, duh) and printed a bunch of the pics from their blog while they were there and put them in frames around their house! That was so fun!

Either way. . know what works for your family! Enjoy your time. Relax. Adoption is just a starting point of parenting. . a marathon not a sprint. Attachment is the same. It will come. Those first few days, the attachment thing hangs over your head and you spend SO much time wondering what should we be doing? How? When? What? Spend time in prayer. . the Lord will tell you what to do and not to do. And remember. . seek help and counsel when you need it! For us, a big old 15 min party was the perfect way to balance our needs of being alone and our desire to celebrate with our larger community. We loved it! This is a part of Davis' story. . .

I can't wait to share these pictures with Davis in the future. We will most likely celebrate 3 days for Davis. His birthday, his gotcha day and his homecoming day! All 3 so special in his life and real celebrations of his life and our love for him!


Cassie - Homeschooling Four said...

Hmmmm... I forgot that I videoed too. I'll have to find that tape.
That was a fun night.

Amy said...

I looooove this post!! What awesome photos. I remember seeing Erin L jump out of the van and MC and Jackson literally jump into her arms and i burst into tears! I can't wait for my gotcha day!!!

Danielle said...

Hey Brandi,
I read a bit about Davis' gotcha day. . How precious and beautiful. He is a gorgeous little boy! Glad he has a loving family and all his needs met. .

Kari said...

It was so obvious on your face your joy of having Davis home. I think that everyone of us was crying (tears of joy). It was special to get to share with you sweet friend!

Kerri said...

great post! Really great to read for those of us who still have our gotcha day ahead of us. I'm glad I'm not the only one that secretly wants people to meet me at the airport!

Blog Shmog said...

thanks for the tips! this post was fun to read and it was really fun to see pictures of your arrival.

Kristen said...

Wish I was there when he came home!!!
...Is it selfish to wish I got that kind of homecoming when I have my first child? I would welcome anyone to drive to WPalm, break into my place and stock it with treats. I enjoy flowers (penoies are my favorite), any type of food and lots of dark chocolate. :)

Anonymous said...

Ok, I'll jump in! We weren't going to do the airport scene at first, but then people starting asking, and we realized that these same people who had walked with us, prayed with us, provided for us, etc... we part of seeing them come home. BUT, I totally agree that the first few weeks should be lock down, so to speak. The new parents are literally strangers to the children, so they need to get to know them first. As far as the kiddoes go, my three (well, Ellie slept through most of it, but she uses the boy's memories and pictures) talk about it often. It was like the beginning of their "new" memories with their new family. Their faces light up when they talk of the balloons, American flags, the people that were there, etc... To each his own, but it did work well for us. One last thing, to the new parent. Allow yourself the overwhelmed feelings you may feel the first few weeks. Just hang on, seek God, and allow him to help carry you through. Love, Denise

The Albertsons said...

This is a great post! So fun to see your pictures... i LOVE every one of them :). I'm overflowing with adoption love... don't you wish everyone could experience this???
love you!!!

jena said...

Hi. This is blubbering Jena. Not only could I not hold back the tears... I couldn't hold back the sobs!

And oh, my sweet friend, there will be a day four to celebrate with Davis. The day he decides that Jesus is the Lord of his little life. We celebrated Grant's two year anniversary yesterday!

Spence and Lori said...

Just a visitor from RLC. Thanks for the great post and the very good advice.

Jman's momma said...

Hey Brandi - I'm with you too, I was all about people meeting us at the airport and my mom had stocked our pantry and fridge. The only thing no one did at the airport was video. I had ours running as we walked up but all that did was video them, not us. Oh well!

And we didn't really lockdown at home - we came home on December 22.

We even went to church on Christmas Eve. We just stayed in my preschool Life Group. He did fine until the end of church when people happened by and saw him and swarmed. He was a little on edge then.

We were SO not by the book. Poor kid :)

Anonymous said...

How fun to relive the days you were gone in Liberia to get Davis and then that day at the airport when you got home!! It was so sweet! I can't wait for our gotcha day! I am so excited to see what God has ahead for us! Love, Christie

Spankie said...

hey sis, ya got me with yer gotchya post. I am so glad cindy and i have met u and your family.


Billie said...

ok. i cry too at the airport scenes. i don't even have to watch the show and i cry.

it's silly but my biggest fear as that no one will be there to greet us! we live over an hour from the airport and i can't imagine our friends with little kids all making the trip to busy dc/baltimore area. uugh. i hate going myself.

perhaps, i can just pay some people to show up so that i have some type of celebratory footage!;)