Meeting new people is hard for me, I think it’s hard for most people but it’s especially hard when those new people look different, smell different and talk different from you. Where Elizabeth is from, most people look-alike and speak the same language and it smells different over there than it does here. They eat different foods and act differently than we do here. Imagine being taken out of this familiar environment you have known for your entire life and thrown onto a plane for 22 hours with people you barely know and then coming to a new house that is supposed to be your new home and people who are supposed to be your new family. Would you be stressed out? I would. That is where our daughter is, so when she meets new people it is stressful for her. To that end, there are some tips I would like to give you on how to meet our daughter in a way that is least stressful for her. I know that some of these ideas are not the most comfortable for you, but right now we need to focus on how to make her the most comfortable since she is the one who is going through an enormous change in her life. When you are introduced to her, if Glenn and I quickly give you suggestions on what to do please don’t take it personally or be offended, we are not trying to offend, just to help you meet her in a way she is comfortable with and avoid her acting out, which is what happens when she gets uncomfortable. There are a few ways you can tell if she is uncomfortable or overwhelmed. She will wave her hands, look away and step back from you and if you pursue her further she will blow raspberries at you, if you don’t cease and desist your pursuit, she will hit you. You have to understand she doesn’t want to be unkind, she is just afraid. She doesn’t know what you are saying, she doesn’t speak much English, so she doesn’t know you mean well. Please be patient and understanding. So here are a few tips to help the first meeting go well:
1. Please don’t be afraid to meet her. She is not scary or a bad child, she is very sweet, just tends to get overwhelmed and scared easily.
2. When you walk up to us don’t look at her directly or try to talk with her. It’s better if you talk with me or Glenn first and then she can size you up without feeling pressured.
3. Don’t try to touch her, even if she makes eye contact with you or smiles, she is not comfortable with much physical touch unless she knows you well.
4. Get your cues from us on how to pursue her. Ask us how she is feeling and we will help you understand her cues and take steps to get better acquainted.
5. She loves to play ball and also gives high fives, but only when she is ready. You have to give her time to get comfortable first.
6. If you meet her once and it goes well, she might not remember you the next time you meet. It takes her a few times of interaction before she remembers you. Remember, she is meeting lots of new people and just can’t keep them all straight.
7. I know it might feel odd to not talk with her upon meeting her, but she really does prefer to be left alone for a while until she gets to know you better. She isn’t trying to be offensive, she just isn’t used to being around new people, she was in the same school with the same people for many years and hasn’t had the occasion to meet others.
8. Please do come and talk to us. Don’t be afraid of us, we haven’t changed, we just have a new child. It’s a very stressful time for us as a family and we need you to be friendly and talk with us just as you did before we had a new child.
I know everyone is so excited to meet her and we are excited for you to know her, but we have to do things on her terms for them to go well. She is very sweet and kind and not scary but if you approach her in the wrong way she becomes scared and will act out. So thanks for following these tips and our directions. This will be helpful to everyone in getting to know each other in a positive way.