Shedding Some Light

Hello Friends!  My week away from A Bushel and A Peck was filled with family, rest, and fun. I want to give a very warm and hearty thanks to my friends who generously stood in for me.  Weren’t they all wonderful?!?

The Rockin’ Mama Challenge is going strong; if you haven’t joined us yet, jump in!  It’s not too late.

During my computer-free week, I was blissfully unaware of some criticism toward the Rockin’ Mama Challenge, and particularly toward me.  I had shared the Challenge on Grown in My Heart, hoping to encourage parents to draw their children’s hearts more deeply into loving relationship.  Some readers raised concerns that I don’t want to leave unanswered, so I hope you won’t mind if I address them here.

1.  Holding Therapy

Several comments expressed concern that rocking Honeybee is some form of  forced “holding therapy”. I want to assure everyone that there is no force or coercion involved in our rocking time.  In fact, Honeybee, with the therapist’s help, asked me if I would commit to rocking her in this way.  That is why the challenge is addressed to me, as the parent, and is not a challenge for my child.

There is absolutely no restraint or force involved.  Honeybee curls up in my lap, her head nestled on my shoulder, our arms around each other, and we rock.  It is a quiet, precious time.  Sometimes we talk, sometimes we sing, but this morning we were quiet for fifteen minutes.

I clarified some of this when I wrote about rocking Eby in this post.

2.  Resistance

There was concern that Honeybee is resistant to rocking and even if I am not restraining her,  I am forcing her to endure these 15 minutes.

Any resistance to this rocking time is purely mine — I’m a selfish person — it’s true.  It is hard for me to set aside time in my busy life to do this.  Sitting and rocking is the easy part, it’s finding a time and place with no distractions from other children, the telephone, or life in general that is a challenge.  Sitting quietly while not “accomplishing” anything is a close second.  I’m an extreme multi-tasker and I find it hard to be still.

Honeybee had gotten in the habit of  “reminding me” all day long that I needed to rock her and it was morphing into nagging, so we finally agreed that she could use a sign to remind me, but not words.  She now holds up ten fingers, followed by five more, and I assure her that I haven’t forgotten, even if we have to squeeze our time in at the end of the day.

3.  The Creepy Factor

There was some thought that rocking an 11 year old is “creepy.”  I can’t agree with this, and I think if you knew my tender-hearted daughter, any concerns you have would be dispelled.  My daughter spent most of her life in an orphanage.  Now she has a mother and father and in many ways she is still a very young child just learning how to love and be loved in the safety of our family.

Additionally, we are a very warm, affectionate family.  We hug, kiss each other on the cheek, put our arms around each other’s shoulders, and generally like to be close.  All of my younger six children enjoy cuddling up on the sofa or rocking.

4. Hoarding Children

I suppose when I put my life out for the world to see, I have to expect criticism from people who don’t know me.  I can only say that we do not “hoard” children; we consider them a gift that God has given us and we are doing our best to bring healing to their hearts and hope to their lives.

*******

It is Monday morning and the beginning of a brand new week in a brand new year.  I have loads of work to accomplish today, but the sun is shining on the snow outside and my heart is light.  I’m ready for a full, satisfying day of work; I hope your day is wonderful too.

Lisa

This post may contain Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

47 Comments

  1. amy
    January 10, 2011

    It almost made me cry reading this post. I just thought of all the hope and healing that can be a part of what the challenge with adopted or bio kids and how if the people who criticized (cruelly at times) knew you they would/should be ashamed of themselves. I am personally so thankful to you. You inspire me. Thank for putting yourself and your family out there.

    Reply
  2. Courtney
    January 10, 2011

    oh, lisa. i hadn't heard nor thought of any of those things…i'm so sorry! you are brave to confront it all head-on. but i love your confidence in who He is in you – the mother He has given to your precious children. i pray your heart dwells in that and not the other.

    Reply
    1. Sara
      January 10, 2011

      I agree with Courtney.

      Reply
  3. Tisha
    January 10, 2011

    Wow, it's surprising there would be any kind of criticism for something you are thoughtfully engaging in with your daughter to promote health and healing. Your invitation to us to join you has been exactly what I needed to help take my children and I to the next step. I am so grateful to you for inspiring me to be a Rockin Mama too!! I can't thank you enough for sharing your life and encouraging us.
    I'm glad you had a nice week away. Thank you for the opportunity to share some thoughts on your blog.

    Reply
  4. April
    January 10, 2011

    Lisa, thank you for sharing about the rocking therapy. As an adult I LOVE to rock in a rocker b/c it FEELS so good and I know that my kids (adopted and bio) love to be rocked just because it allows us to be so close and is incredibly soothing.
    I have to say, after sharing posts a few times at GIMH I am very disappointed at the moderation and will no longer be a part of the website. Criticism I can handle and I welcome different points of view but the ugliness that is allowed to go on from the same people time and time again is ineffective when it comes to debating the issues and will only serve to intimidate those who wish to make comments at all.
    I loved your article and love that you share your heart every week with all of us. Your family is an inspiration and your candor very refreshing. One day Honeybee with rock her own children and think of the special time you had together….

    Reply
  5. Chantelle
    January 10, 2011

    I can't imagine anyone criticizing YOU! You're so loving, compassionate and dear! Please don't let the very small percentage of nay-sayers ever keep you from blogging your heart because WE NEED YOU! You are an inspiration, a challenge, a motivator, a supporter, a mentor, a friend!

    ((((hug)))) Keep up the great work!

    Reply
  6. Celina
    January 10, 2011

    I'm thinking that we all need a little holding therapy from time to time 🙂 I'm 32, married and have a family of my own and when I go visit my momma I sit on her lap sometimes. Rock away!!!

    Reply
  7. kristen
    January 10, 2011

    Welcome back, Lisa! My kids would thank you if they could for the Rocking Mama Challenge…it is precious time that each of my children cherish! And I, when I'm not too selfish for it, cherish it too!

    Reply
  8. Karen
    January 10, 2011

    Unbelievable. You answered those questions so very kindly . . . not sure I would've been so gracious. If any of those people actually followed your blog and "knew" you, they'd know you have nothing but good in mind for the children God has put into your loving care.

    Thank you again for your blog and all your insight into therapeutic parenting. It's been very inspiring.

    k

    Reply
  9. Kristy
    January 10, 2011

    My question is, what is "hoarding children"? That you have a large family? That you love all of your children? That you have saved children from a life of poverty?
    I am a single woman with no children, but have enjoyed your blog and reading how you love all of your children! I am inspired!

    Reply
  10. Mary
    January 10, 2011

    Sheesh. I just read the comments on the other site and as the french would say, mon dieu!

    Ditto to Kristen. My punkins love the Rocking Mama challenge. And the few times my daughter has resisted the rocking time, I just set her down and send her on her merry way to play with potato head or something like that :).

    I think why I keep coming back to this site Lisa is the humility you show–that this is not your cause, your children, your job–this is God's calling. You encourage all of your readers to be in a constant place of humility. We have to let go of our preconceived ideas of what is best. We have to listen to each child for their needs. We have to set aside any number of good tasks for the best tasks. And we have to trust God to work his magic in healing hearts (ours included).

    Reply
  11. carla
    January 10, 2011

    Oh my! What is wrong with people? Of all the adoptive mothers I know, you are the one who is doing everything possible for your children, to love them and help them heal, the right way. Again, your character has shown through by addressing these concerns with grace. I know we are all human and imperfect, but I admire and respect you so much. I thank God for connecting me with you through your blog, I have been given so much hope and advice that has helped more than you'll ever know.

    Reply
  12. Amber
    January 10, 2011

    I am so impressed with the loving, grace-filled way you addressed these criticisms. I think that alone speaks volumes about your heart and about the kind of home you have and the love your pour into your children. I am SO impressed with your rocking and your loving! Praise God.

    Reply
  13. Jodie Howerton
    January 10, 2011

    Lisa, would it be creepy if I asked you to rock ME? Cuz' I'm a really big fan of yours. 🙂 Just kidding. I love what you're doing – love, love, love it! Ignore the criticism. It's so easy to criticize on the internet (sigh).

    Duzi and I have been loving our rocking time! He asks for it and reminds me if we've missed it. It's been very healing.

    Reply
  14. marcie
    January 10, 2011

    I hope you know that I never thought anything wrong with what you were doing and I tried, as much as I could on GIMH, to "defend". 🙂

    Reply
  15. Tracey
    January 10, 2011

    Those that have criticized you are just WRONG! I only hope Samuel will loved to be rocked at 11 as much as he does now! IGNORE THEM! You are my hero.

    Reply
  16. Hannah Tucker
    January 10, 2011

    I had to chuckle at peoples' criticisms; I think that it's wonderful that you're doing this for Honeybee. And it's so beautiful to see the free acknowledgment of love – I know that because of the way my parents were brought up, we've never been a very "huggy" family, so while it takes an effort for me to give someone a hug when they need it, I love seeing it elsewhere.
    Thank you for sharing your life so freely and frankly!
    Blessings from Nevada!

    Reply
  17. Dawn
    January 10, 2011

    All I can say is- how ridiculous!!!! Seriously!!! If these people are reading my comment- DON'T come to my blog please!!! You don't know or understand well enough! Thanks!

    I LOVE ROCKING, cuddling, kissing, hugging all of my children!!!! I even kid with them that they can only get older if they always promise to sit on my lap. IT IS NEVER FORCED because my children WANT to love! Why is that hard to understand???

    Sorry for those who don't understand…..maybe they need to be rocked too??? That is what I choose to believe 🙂

    Reply
  18. Anne Martin
    January 10, 2011

    I feel sad for people who feel the need to put down someone they don't even know. It's one thing to have and opinion and another to be just plain mean. I think several of those responders could have and still could use some rocking themselves.
    Please listen to those on this website, there is a reason so many people are lifting you up. Your a wonderful woman with a huge heart and you inspire me daily.
    God Bless,
    Anne

    Reply
  19. Michelle
    January 10, 2011

    Oh my goodness! I can't believe some of those comments. To describe rocking your child as creepy. Wow. My children love baby play of any kind (peekaboo, where's your nose etc.) and will initiate it during warm, snuggly times. They love, love, love baby toys and toddler toys at friends' houses.
    They are turning 7 and it is not creepy in the slightest. They missed all these things in their life in ET.
    I'm so sorry this has happened. What a great post addressing all the 'issues'.
    God Bless!

    Reply
  20. expressmom
    January 10, 2011

    I have a 13 year biological child that loves to cuddle. And enjoys movies best if we are under the same blanket. And we only have two kids. Neither is adopted. And he's a BOY.

    I would be more worried about kids that don't show affection. Keep loving your kids they way they want to be loved!

    Reply
  21. rebekah
    January 10, 2011

    I wanted to add my comments on the other blog – my thoughts and impressions about how much rocking time means to us and how grateful we are that you've suggested this so gently. But then I thought let sleeping dogs lie, right?

    It just seems as if no one who commented so critically actually read your piece.

    Anyway, if you're offering rocks, I'll get in line:) I'm about to turn 43 and if that doesn't warrant time in a rocking chair I don't know what does! Thanks for all you do with such grace and openness.

    Reply
  22. Jenny
    January 10, 2011

    You are very gracious in your responses. I have been wanting to join for a while, but like you, I need MAKE the time to do it. My girls need it. They really do. Time will be made.

    Reply
  23. learningpatience
    January 10, 2011

    Oh, I just have to laugh that you even had to address those issues. Oh, that every child would be loved enough to be held and hugged and nurtured; oh that every parent would find the time/energy/focus to do so. Then the world really would be a better place.

    Thank you for starting this; I'm sorry you've had to endure criticism for it.

    Reply
  24. Elizabeth
    January 10, 2011

    You have no idea the strength it took me to not respond to the comments on GIMH. As your littlest sister I can vouch that having you rock me was a blessing! To be honest, I loved and still love to cuddle up with both of my sistesr, Mom and Dad. I am fiercely protective of my family so it is probably best that I didn't leave a comment because it would have not have been productive. I asked Julia if she would think it was weird if I wanted to rock her for 15 minutes everyday and she said, "of course not! Were you wanting to do that right now? (Yes, she is 10 and really does talk like that! hehehe). Of course Jack (6) loves to be rocked and has actually taken to acting like a baby lately….but I digress..Anyway, I am proud of the way you handled all of those ugly comments and I am also thankful that you are my sister. I couldn't think of a better person to be a "child hoarder"…lol! Love you!!

    Bits 🙂

    PS – Even with only 2 kids it is hard to find the time to be still with just one of them for 15 minutes. I am thankful that I am still able to cuddle them nearly everynight. I'm not sure they will ever give that up!

    Reply
  25. Karri
    January 11, 2011

    Oh, wow, Lisa. Wow. I can only say I read those other posts and I am horrified by the judgment and complete lack of knowledge, or even reading, about rocking kids and specifically your challenge. I think what people were saying was horrible and I couldn't have responded with half the grace you responded with. Your challenge is something I have tried to incorporate every day with my daughter and it's not creepy- it is something she loves and would do for hours. Please take everyone and their KIND words here on this site to heart, rather than the words of an ignorant few.

    Reply
  26. underneaththestretchmarks
    January 11, 2011

    i have come under fire a little bit recently on my blog and I am so sorry. it hurts to be mis read, especiall when we try so hard to use the right words, speak gently and honestly. there is always going to be someone who doesn't understand or sees the negative. i learn from you every day.

    thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  27. Mamitaj
    January 11, 2011

    Lisa,

    You are a hero.

    And to the "children hoarder" commenter, I have one question for you…

    Are you afraid there won't be enough children to go around? Don't worry. There are 147 million orphans in the world. Lisa can't take them all in.

    Reply
  28. Teresa
    January 11, 2011

    My 16-year-old still likes to be rocked and held, especially if she's had a rough day out in the world. Home is her safe haven and nothing feels more safe to her than to be cuddled in her momma's arms knowing she is loved. My 11-year-old son is the same way. There's nothing creepy about it at all. I still love to sit by my own mother and put my head on her shoulder with our arms around each other. It's a precious place to be…and she's 75 and I'm 43!

    You're doing the right thing and I know you know it, so keep on keeping on! Other people's opinions are just that…their opinions. And you addressed their criticisms well. I'm not even going to bother to go back and look at their comments because there's no point. God is helping your children heal and He is giving you the tools they need to help them in their journey to wholeness and health and love.

    God bless you and yours,
    Teresa

    Reply
  29. Cera
    January 11, 2011

    I'm so sorry that you had to hear unkind words. You're an inspiration both as a mother and a person, and the world would be so much better if more people put half as much time, thought, priority and true caring into their parenting as you so clearly do. Sometimes ignorance is just that- people just really and truly don't understand something and don't know better than to be reactive to something that sets of their misconceptions. It is never pretty and never ok, but it has to to with the person who is misinformed or uneducated, not with you. Still, because those comments came from ignorance, you have responded with grace and in a helpful way by fighting ignorance with information, when so many would just fight back in kind. I think that says a lot about your character, and am more inspired than ever. Being a mom and an advocate are both hard jobs, but I hope you keep at it, as your writing is a help to so many- including those who criticized you, and are hopefully learning through your response so that they know better next time.

    Reply
  30. dmkroeker
    January 11, 2011

    I have taken on a modified version of your Rockin' Mama Challenge, to suit our family, and my daughter and I have both been blessed by it. For her, it is love and attention that fills her heart and increases security – I can see the calming effect when we are consistent. For me, it is taking time to savour and grow more attached to my daughter. I just hope she is still willing to rock with me when she is eleven!

    I am so glad for all you and your readers have shared – and so sorry you came under unnecessary attack!

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      January 11, 2011

      I'm so glad you have found a way it is working for you! I hope you are keeping some notes to share.

      Reply
  31. blessed
    January 11, 2011

    What is "hoarding" children?! I am laughing at the idea.

    Lisa, you are so gracious, and it was good that you addressed those concerns, because your "gentle answer" might help diffuse some people's anger (I am thinking they are really mad that they did not get rocked as children. . . or are experiencing guilt that they should have rocked theirs) and also because God's heart in you shone through in this post!

    (the site is not letting me say all this in one comment. . . hold on a sec. . . )

    Reply
  32. blessed
    January 11, 2011

    . . . I am a mom of 4 kids from "easy places" ; ) and yet this challenge got me thinking about physical touch and how my kids and I have fallen out of physical touch/cuddling, etc. as they have gotten older (and by older I mean 4!) and how I think that is not healthy. I have not been rocking them, but I have started to make purposeful positive touch time, sometimes a massage before bed, or even just more hugging and maybe rubbing their backs and lingering in the hug.

    This is all to say that I think your rockin'challenge has been a major source of GOOD to so many famlies this holiday season, so don't let the words of the grinches stay with you–please soak up the positive words that others are sharing here and believe that God is using you for His good purpose!

    Happy New Year!

    love,

    blessed

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      January 11, 2011

      I'm so glad to hear that the challenge has prompted good things for you, even if your kids don't have special needs. My kids love touch – well, except for Eby who has a love/hate relationship with it! Yesterday he was looking out the window and I knelt down next to him and gently rubbed his back for a moment. He didn't flinch or push me away, so I count that as a success.

      Reply
  33. charity
    January 11, 2011

    the waves just continue to come in this life don't they? here's to a new day, a new year, a new strength to meet the bizarre issues brought on by the transparency technology brings…you ROCK, you are a wonderful mommy, and example to those of us trying to do the same…grateful EVERY DAY to not feel like there is no one out there who feels as i do about our families, our children, and those we'd like to add to our families. "there must be opposition in all things…" usually it serves best to remind us to appreciate the good when we face the bad…love you.

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      January 11, 2011

      Charity, thank you for your encouragement – yes, technology is strange and wonderful. If you had told me five years ago that I would even have a blog, I would not have believed it.

      Reply
  34. Cindy
    January 11, 2011

    Lisa, so sorry about the negative comments:0 I guess it only goes to show that the enemy of our souls would love to destroy what God is doing in our lives. Keep livin your life for Christ His the only one we need to please:)

    Reply
  35. darci
    January 11, 2011

    hi dear lisa, i have not stopped in for a while..but wow. I can only imagine these critical people sitting at their computers just thinking of what nasty thing they can type..honestly! Creepy? rocking a child or making nasty comments about someone's amazing parenting skills? hmmm, i know which one I think is creepy. I LOVE your posts, and although we (still!) don't have our adoption completed you help me be a better mom to the three bio kids I do have right now. I was thinking as I read this how I need to be even more intentional in filling their little hearts, and what a great idea it is to just sit and cuddle and rock. So, my 11, 8 and 3 year old are going to get some serious cuddle time. And by the way, my husband (big macho guy) was still getting pulled onto his mom's lap for a hug into his early 20s, and he is NOT a wuss and she is so not creepy! And I, at 38, will STILL grab onto my dad's hand if we're walking..again, no creep factor, just solid, loving relationship. You go girl! You are an AMAZING momma and I'm sure once our adoption D"OES happen I will be rereading many of your posts! darci 🙂

    Reply
  36. Jillian
    January 11, 2011

    Lisa- I am so sorry you came back to hit all this head on! But I am glad your time was not invaded with it…we recently have received several comments about attachment and how it isn't the 'child's fault they don't' want to attach to a stranger' and such in emails…what you have endured is so much more harsh…
    I do understand there is a knee jerk reaction to the old methods of "rebirthing" and such and several people can not hear past that because of things that had once been considered by a small group to be OK.
    We do know your heart and that you are on a healing mission…we know that despite having a large family you know your kids, you REALLY know them and are so involved with all of them..I think people see the large number and assume you don't, but we know that is not the truth.
    Chin up, stay strong, you are loving those kids to healing and helping others…and you are doing a a FABULOUS job!
    *hugs*
    Jillian

    Reply
  37. Dr, D
    January 11, 2011

    Your response to your accusers was so absolutely gracious. You truly are like a refreshing cup of water. 🙂

    Reply
  38. Ann
    January 11, 2011

    Dear Lisa,

    I didn't read the other comments and wont as I can tell they will just make me upset. I want you to know how much your posts have helped me and how much they will continue to help me as we bring home our 11 year old daughter. I will be thrilled if she will allow me to rock her. She has never had a Mommy to rock her. She deserves to have a Mommy rock her. Even if she is 11. Especially because she is 11. Prayers for you and all you do.

    Reply
  39. Heidi Wilson
    January 11, 2011

    I think that the critical comment leavers probably have a lot of hurt in their lives, in order to read things the way that they did. I can be very touchy about adoption related articles and posts (although I try to re-read and reason through what the person is actually trying to say before I blast them out of the water with my uninformed or ignorant comments because I cannot 'hear' the emotions behind their words, nor understand the years of background and experience that have led them to their situation or conclusions).

    Unfortunately, many adoptees have not had families who understood them, wanted to truly 'attach', or even cared enough to take them to therapy. Some of those who's parents did take them to therapy were only seeking to control their behavior rather than truly understand them and meet their deepest needs. I'm utterly jealous of your children! LOL! As an adopted child I wanted nothing more than to be held and paid attention to until I finally gave up in my teens and looked for that love, touch and especially attention in other places.

    Bless you for doing this for your daughter. It will reap benefits for many years to come that you cared enough to give her your time and attention, as well as your affection.

    Reply
  40. Chris
    January 12, 2011

    Amen, Heidi! I see the hurt surface in these comments and see your heart and oh how the two need each other so bad. Lisa, Thanks for sharing God's Grace that has been poured out on you and your family and truely overflows. You are such a blessing!

    I've started this special time with Asher and it is VERY needed. He doesn't fight it but welcomes it and life would be a whole lot different without it! Thanks for being willing to share yourself and your family with us!

    Blessings,

    Chris

    Reply
  41. Angela
    January 14, 2011

    I just adore you. 🙂

    Reply
  42. Marissa
    January 15, 2011

    Wow Lisa! I'm so sorry you had to endure this. To be misunderstood in such a way had to be very painful. Rocking is a great tool and it's something I need to do more of. I know at least one of my adopted children will enjoy rocking when he's 11 years old too.

    I grieved for those individuals that wrote such comments. Their concerns and criticisms surely come from personal pain. Child psychology, especially adoption child psychology, is such a young field. I'm glad our children are blessed with such understanding and compassion.

    Reply
  43. Kerrie
    January 18, 2011

    Oh! My! Goodness!!! I didn't read any of the "Grown" comments until you posted this. I'm sure that felt terrible. My take on the comments, though, is that they obviously were not personal (even though they were phrased that way). Clearly, some people are carrying levels of unaddressed bitterness that has very little to do with you or what you wrote. I couldn't even be sure that they actually read your post. Please keep going!

    Reply

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