When we think of the advice given to us upon coming home from an adoption, I think being told to “cocoon” the new child is the most foreign advice for many. It is misunderstood and it feels impossible.
Cocooning is limiting caregivers and exposure to new places and people in an attempt to help a child attach to their new parents as caregivers. Here we give an overview of parenting children from hard places and it gives a lot of insight about why this intensive work to bond and build connection is so critical. (Link: https://143millionreasons.org/parenting-kids-from-hard-places/)
During the early months of the COVID lockdown, I saw some beautiful things come from it. People talked about slowing down, having dinners at home, having more time to enjoy and truly spend time with their children and spouses, playing games, and having time for crafts and activities they simply hadn’t had time for prior to the unexpected slow-down.
It gave me some time to reflect on how coming home from an adoption and “cocooning” is very much like that!
What Cocooning IS:
What Cocoon ISN’T:
For many families, after a long adoption process and being so eager to have their child HOME, they long for nothing more than their life being the normal they are accustomed to - and to help their child/ren get integrated into their life. But years of research suggests to “pause” all of that.
Cocooning is an investment - a short term delay to “getting life back to normal” for a long term payoff. It is an opportunity to best help your child achieve “felt safety” in the home and to learn to rely on you, their parents and caregivers. Many older adopted children especially have a built-in mindset (from their experiences) to not rely on ANYONE.
So while no one wants to revisit the lockdown we experienced in early 2020, it is a great frame of reference to think about when bringing a new child home and searching for those beautiful moments we experienced while slowing down.