I Rocked My Five Year Old Baby To Sleep Last Night

Stories from Adoption After Disruption
Stories from Adoption After Disruption

I rocked my five year old baby boy to sleep last night.

There were tears at bedtime, not a usual occurrence, but a product of missing a nap that day. His cries of “Mommy, will you rock me?” were met with a determined YES.

You see, he hasn’t always been ours, and his past is riddled with abandonment and physical pain. So when he asks for extra cuddles, we take advantage of the opportunity to make up for all the years we lost together. We say yes.

At first, his desire to sleep was not as strong as my desire for him to sleep was, and he wiggled a bit as we settled into a rocking rhythm.

Back and forth. Back and forth.

His warm little body slowly relaxed into mine, and as I stared into the darkness of my room, my thoughts began to wander.

I thought about the fact that somewhere in China, there is a woman who knew this boy before me. She felt his first tiny movements and I like to think that she rocked him then, dreaming of his future while he was still tucked away in her womb. I don’t know exactly what led to her to give up the sweetness that is my boy, but I can imagine his complex medical needs played a big part. I held him a little tighter to my heart as I pictured her empty arms. I wondered if she thinks of him as I’m thinking of her.  I’m thankful she chose life.

Back and forth. Back and forth.

His breathing started to steady and even though he tried his best to keep his eyes open as long as possible, in the faint light from the moon that shines under the blinds at the window, I could see his eyes begin to close for longer and longer.

I pictured the years he spent in the orphanage. I wondered if he bonded with a special nanny and if she’s missing him now. I thought of his surgeries, the pain, the lack of food, and I wondered if he got used to the feeling of being hungry all the time. I still reassure him every single day that we will always give him food when he’s hungry. I ache at the thought of my baby in pain. I mourn for the years I couldn’t comfort his heart. But I’m thankful.

Back and forth. Back and forth.

He took one last giant breath and let out his signature sleepy sigh and I knew he was asleep. I love to hold my children when they sleep because they fully embody the innocence of childhood during those moments. I stroked his cheek and rubbed his back as he rested so trustingly in my arms.

I began to slow down the rhythmic rocking and thought of how he came to us, so unexpected.  I started to wonder what would drive a family to give up this miracle, and then I choose to shake off his past yet again. I rejoiced in the medical improvements he’s experienced these past few months and I am thankful. I remember catching him in various mischievous acts throughout the day, building forts with his sisters, sword fighting with his brothers, playing legos with the baby.  He belongs now.  Forever. And I am so very thankful.

I stood up and gently lowered his now heavy body into his bed next to mine. I covered him up with his quilt from Nana and blanket from Meme and tucked his “nuggle blankie” from Daddy up near his face. I knew he’d be looking for that one if he woke up.


I kissed my five year old baby boy good-night last night, and if a mother could ever wish away a thousand hurts, I would do it for him. I can’t promise him he’ll never experience pain again, but I can and will promise him that I’ll be there for him every single day from this moment forward and forever.

I sighed and quietly closed the door.

So thankful.

Please follow and like us:

2 thoughts on “I Rocked My Five Year Old Baby To Sleep Last Night

  1. Hi Selina
    I loved this post & can fully understand the wondering about what the birth mother thought. I spent my foster daughter’s birthday so sad that her mother was missing out on all the things I was blessed to do for her.
    I do have some questions for you. Do you guys have any advice/ experience with children who are extremely defiant & trying to run the whole household with their bad behaviors? Our almost 5 year old foster son has been tossed from home to home (5 homes in 4 years) & now has the most deplorable behaviors imaginable. He is beginning to drop some of them, but it seems that for every one that he’s left behind, two new behaviors appear. We are just at the end of our tether as he takes more work than all 5 of the other children combined. I would love to rock him to sleep, but I know he would use that kind of thing to manipulate me. I really, really want to just love this child & be the soft, gentle mother that I was with my four bio children, but I am finding I have to harden myself just to get through each day. I am sorry for pouring this out here, but I wondered if you have experience/advice in this situation?

  2. The beauty of attachment. It’s so like the way Christ always holds us, even when we rage against him. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. We continue to pray for him daily.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *