Cocooning: Sheltering in Place

April 16, 2020  - By Kristin Link

Well-Watered Women Blog | Cocooning-One Family's Story of Adoption, Transition, and Sheltering in Place

Cocooning At Home

It was a trying time—an isolating season. But as advised, we pulled away from all of our normal social activities and gatherings. We stayed at home day after day, avoiding big groups of people and only going out when necessary. We spent about eight weeks in this unique season called “cocooning.”

You see, this past fall, my husband and I finalized the adoption of our son, Aaro, from India. The joy that we experienced the day we got to meet our 16-month-old baby boy in his orphanage in Pune, India was unexplainable! The many months of anguish and heartache leading up to this long-awaited moment of celebration quickly melted away. I finally held my precious, sleeping baby in my arms. Waiting on God’s perfect timing felt so sweet. 

I immediately experienced new levels of love and protectiveness in my heart as we took our new child into custody. I couldn’t sleep a wink that first night in our Indian hotel room with this bundle of cuteness sleeping soundly just a few feet from my bed. This new season of parenthood was finally upon us. It was something we had only dreamed about and had earnestly prayed for many years. 

We were indeed thrown into full-on parenting! We spent 15 days in a foreign country with an active one-year-old. During this time, we were living out of hotel rooms and eating out for almost every meal. It was one wild way to be thrust into parenting! The 24 hours of travel by plane to return home to the U.S. proved, above all, that we had now begun the greatest adventure of our lives.

On September 13, we arrived at the airport in our home city. We were met by an excited little group of close friends and local family members. It was such a special day! But, within 24 hours of arriving home as a new family of three, we entered into a much-anticipated season of “cocooning” with our son.

A Time to Cocoon

“Cocooning” is a common and highly recommended practice in the adoption world. Our incredible, gospel-centered adoption agency—Lifeline Children’s Services—equipped our family in the adoption process. They gave us very helpful education and training before we ever set foot on Indian soil. We felt confident in the training they had provided for our family. And we knew that in wisdom we should follow their guidelines as closely as possible for a successful attachment and bonding experience with our son.

There is a purpose in this initial “cocooning” period of time after bringing an adopted child home and into your family. As you pull away from social events, normal routines, and other people, you are able to fully focus on attaching and bonding with your newly adopted child.

Caterpillars give us an example of cocooning. These clever creatures cover themselves with protective silk so that they can grow in quiet. They eventually become beautiful butterflies—ready to fly freely! This is how God created them.

As we apply this cocooning idea to adoption, we see how important it is to provide a protective time for the child. This allows the newly adopted child to grow and adjust to a new family and culture. So, as advised, even though it was difficult in many ways, we chose to do what was best for Aaro. We spent time as a family of three just focusing on connecting with one another. This helped to establish trust and security in our relationship with Aaro. We also made new memories and established new norms and routines together.

Worth the Investment

Six months later, our son had adjusted and adapted very well to his new home and family. He even surprised many therapists with how quickly he bonded and attached to his new mama and dadda. We have truly seen the Lord’s provision and protection in this because a big life change lay ahead of us. 

We recently moved to a new city where God has called our family to plant a church. So we were living in our new home for just three weeks when the “shelter in place” mandate was announced in our county due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many, I was crushed by the news. Not surprised, really, but devastated by the implications. I suddenly felt very vulnerable and unsafe, missing every comfort of home. Plus, I didn’t realize until that moment just how much comfort familiar people, places, and things offer in a time when the world seems off its axis. I confessed to a dear friend that I didn’t think it would feel nearly as painful to be on lockdown in our old home. At least there we were surrounded by the familiar comforts of everything and everyone.

Hardship and Blessing

Under quarantine here in Athens, Georgia, I have found myself reminiscing on the season of cocooning my family experienced back in the fall. Minus the threat of a virus, this season so far has actually felt similar to our time of cocooning. And to be honest, because of the big move and all the change happening in our lives right now, slowing life down and removing a lot of the extra “stuff" has been really healthy and healing for our family. We are enjoying some time to reconnect and re-cocoon. It is helping our son to feel loved and secure by both my husband and me during this time of change in our lives. 

So in many ways, this season has been just what we needed. Sure, we've had to face all the disappointments and inconveniences that come with canceled events, postponed celebrations, and the unknowns of being thrust into a new stage of life and ministry in a place where we don’t yet know anyone. 

An Invitation

I recognize the frustrations everyone is feeling right now. We’re all experiencing the stress and anxiety of these difficult times in different ways. I encourage you to share your feelings and thoughts directly with the Lord. Express exactly how you feel. Allow Him to change your perspective. Watch Him lift the burdens. May you experience healing and restoration in your weary soul through His love and grace (Matthew 11:28–30).

Perhaps “cocooning” is not meant only for an adoptive family who is welcoming a new child into their family for the first couple of months. I believe that “cocooning” can also be an invitation to each and every one of us. We can cocoon in our own families and marriages, and most especially with God our Father. 

How might the Lord be using this sheltered time in your life to bond and attach with you further? Is He trying to grow you in your relationship with Him? Are you able to develop healthy rhythms that turn into norms? 

Eventually, when we emerge from this crazy season, may we come out of it more in love with Jesus. I pray we are more secure and confident in our place in His family. May we see this time as an opportunity to cocoon, growing deeper in our relationship with the Lord, seeing Him use this remarkably for our good and for His glory.

Your friend, Kristin

Meet the author: Kristin Link is a wife, mother, and dance choreographer. Kristin and her husband, Steven, recently adopted their first child from India, and she enjoys being a stay-at-home mom in this season. Kristin loves thrift shopping, writing poetry, and traveling the world. The Lord has given Kristin and her husband a heart for global missions and a passion to see the last remaining unreached people groups of the world receive the Good News of the gospel. The Links recently relocated to Athens, Georgia, where the Lord has called their family to church plant near the University of Georgia.

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Well-Watered Women Blog | Cocooning-One Family's Story of Adoption, Transitioning, and Sheltering in Place

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  1. samuel ayala says:

    Loved It!
    You Guys Are The Best…
    Much Love from the Ayala Family, here at Leesburg, GA.

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