The place God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,

As we prepare for the arrival of our daughter, we have learned that while decorating the nursery and stocking up on baby essentials is important, even more important is the emotional health of our baby. In her short life, Makeda will have gone through more changes and life altering experiences than most adults could handle. Imagine how much harder the changes will be for her. While she may not consciously remember the events, she will still experience immense loss, including feelings of grief and trauma. She's already experienced the loss of a birthmother and will soon experience the loss of familiar and comforting caretakers as well as the sights, smells, and language of her birth country. Her world will turn upside down. She will struggle with feeling safe and secure and she may lack the ability to trust that we will meet her needs.

We have prepared to meet her emotional needs so that she does learn that we will always take care of her and we will always keep her safe. We need your support. In order to form a strong and healthy attachment we will allow Makeda to regress so that she has the opportunity to go through all of the emotional stages with us despite her chronological age. Although it may appear that we are spoiling her, we have been advised that it is best that we meet every need quickly and consistently. Until she has learned that we are her parents, we will need to be her primary caretakers at all times. It is essential that we always hold her, feed her, and do all of the nurturing. You may wonder how long this will take, but the timeline is different for every child. We will follow Makeda's lead and trust our instincts as her parents rather than worry about what society expects.

We have all been waiting anxiously for our daughter to arrive but she has not been waiting for us. She may show her grief and confusion in many ways and we are prepared to help her through it and prove that we are a forever family and this truly is her last stop. We trust that as our family and friends you will help us to do what is best for Makeda, and we thank you in advance for your support and understanding.


Ashleigh and Ben

-adapted from


Jennifer said...

Great letter Ashleigh, I might need to borrow that one ourselves for family, friends, and maybe even do something similar for our church bulletin. (that is if you don't mind!)

Barbara said...

I remember getting some raised eyebrows because I would run to Makeda's crib everytime she cried, which sometimes meant 7 or 8 bedtime runs. Eventually I knew she was playin' me and weaned her off the "immediate" response time, but it took a long time to reach that stage. In the meantime, she hollers, you jump! And worth it all when you see the amazing bond you've created.

The Hattons... said...

We did this for Mikiyas, and plan to do it again for Mihret. It was so important and we never have any regrets. Good for you!