early days

Adoption Cocooning: the plan we followed + the reason for the plan

I shared this post with our family and friends several months before our sons came into our home. We stuck to the plan, and we saw the benefits of it.

I want to approach this carefully but honestly. Here’s the bottom line: We plan to cocoon once our sons are here, and we don’t want you around.

What is cocooning? 
In the adoption world, cocooning is the practice of keeping days calm and consistent while the adoptive parents act as the sole caregivers for an adopted child. Some families do this for a week… Some do it for six months or longer.

Why cocooning?
Cocooning is a way to foster safe, secure, loving attachments among adoptive parents and children during the sweet, important weeks after homecoming. In our case, it appears our sons are securely attached to their foster parents, with whom they have lived for two-and-a-half years. We want to effectively transfer those attachments to us. Though we could do a big old welcome party, we’d prefer to start this attachment work as soon as possible. 

What will we be doing, really?
We plan to lay low and act as their sole caregivers for three months. This timeline is just a plan! We hope to be insightful enough to be able to evaluate our progress and decide if more or less time is needed. And we’ll probably make some exceptions along the way. We all are gonna get stir crazy, friends!

During these three months, we will be focusing on nurturing the boys while still setting firm boundaries.We’re going to work hard to keep their routine predicable and fairly consistent. Hello, visual schedule project! We’re going to keep the number of toys and clothes and activities simple. We’re going to minimize outings and avoid chaotic places. No Children’s Museum on a Saturday. We won’t be taking them to Sunday school or leaving them with babysitters.

As a family of five (!!) — six, counting our dog — we’re going to spend time focusing on attachments within our family structure.

What you can do?
Understand that we may step away from social media and our phones for a while. It won’t be because their transition is miserable, it’s because we want to focus on our kids! Please also understand that their transition might be horrible! We want to be mindful about sharing this part of their story in a way that does justice to the reality of adoption but still respects their privacy.

Please don’t ask if you can stop in “just real quick.” We’re going to be firm on this one! If friends and family desire to bless us with meals or other necessities, we’re going to accept these, but we’re probably going to ask that you do a stealthy porch drop-off.

Know that we aren’t pulling away from family, friends, and our church community. We are simply relying on you in new and different ways. Adoption is different than childbirth. Adopting three-year-olds is different than adopting a newborn. We’ve been waiting for this for three years, and we don’t want to regret not making clearer goals for developing these attachments.

You all have been so kind and supportive of us. Thank you, and we can’t wait to introduce these sweet ones to you when the time is right! 

adoption cocooning

For more on cocooning and these first weeks home: A formal, educational perspective and a real-talk perspective from Jen Hatmaker


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