The primary goal of the Rocking Orphans for Lifetime Success is to help children in orphanages develop stronger attachment abilities, ultimately improving adoption outcomes for families and opportunities for lifetime success for children. We will do this by providing rocking chairs and workers who are dedicated to holding and rocking children in orphanages. Our plan is to start in the Philippines and expand as funding allows.
The act of rocking positively engages three important senses – touch, sight, and sound – that contribute to children’s brain and behavioral development. As children are held and rocked, and are able to look into the eyes of the caretaking adult who will likely also be talking, reading, or singing to them, the child will be forming important bonds with a stable, caring adult. As they continue to receive this regular attention, they can begin to feel safer and grounded, which should serve to benefit them in their relationships, and ultimately help them transition more smoothly into an adopted family or adult life.
The Project’s founders, Eric Lindeen and Anna Graham, have set an initial financial goal of $15,000 USD, which will allow us to place 3 rocking chairs with caretakers at an established orphanage in the Philippines. This approach should help lighten the load of current staff while providing new employment opportunities for local Filipinos. Furthermore, by hiring local craftsmen to build the rocking chairs, the Project will help contribute to the economy by stimulating new work for these craftsmen. If funding exceeds our initial need, it will be used at the next orphanage or donated to an orphan support charity.
According to UNICEFF, there are 147 million orphans globally (newborn to age 17). The opportunity to help these children and their future adoptive families is nearly inestimable; while the numbers are overwhelming, we know each life is precious, and helping to strengthen the bonds between even one child and their future adoptive family is worthwhile.
Comfort, affection and nurturing are essential for healthy brain and behavioral development of children. Providing a solid foundation of affection and trust with parents and/or caregivers can help a child develop the ability to bond emotionally, which benefits them in youth and later in marriage, the workplace, and society in general. The availability of at least one stable, caring and supportive relationship between a child and the important adults in his or her life can predispose children to positive outcomes in the face of significant adversity (Shonkoff, 2015). And following the adversity of losing one or both parents when being placed in an orphanage, the presence of and relationship with stable and caring adults can help the child heal going forward.
Orphanages throughout the world have the enormous challenge of caring for and supporting precious children, providing food, clothing, safe shelter, education and social adjustment. With so many competing needs – should they buy vitamins, bikes, or books? Clothes, milk, or new bedding? - there are rarely enough resources to meet all the needs. Because of limited finances and staff, personal one-to-one time and attention given by caregivers to the children at an orphanage is usually minimal.
When positive experiences outweigh negative experiences, a child’s “scale” tips towards positive outcomes (Shonkoff, 2015). It is our heart’s desire that these additional paid rockers, who will routinely and lovingly rock these children, can help tip these children’s development towards the joyful and positive, strengthening their ability to bond with others and enriching their lives forever.