Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Rocking Chair Test

Some time ago I came across a quote about making difficult decisions.  I never remembered where I had read it, but it has always stuck with me.  I have often used the rocking chair test when a big decision is at bay.  While I was gathering books in our basement to sell on amazon, I found the book that has the quote.

"My best advice to you is
to give it "the rocking chair test."
Imagine that you're ninety years
old, sitting on the porch and
rocking in your chair as you
reflect back on your life.  Will
you regret dong it? Pick the decision you
can live with, and have no regrets
in your choice.  Believe in the
choices you make."
~Anne Larnella Hood

In our initial discussions about adopting a child with down syndrome, I used this test.  I pictured myself as an old woman sitting on the porch next to Shawn in our rocking chairs.  I pictured the alternate path we could have chosen--not to adopt.  Every time I thought about not adopting this special child, I could see my own 90 year old face painted with regret, pain, and loss for not having had the courage and faith to take this risk.   Every time we thought about how things would probably be easier if we didn't adopt, I immediately felt a sense of profound sadness.  Both of us knew that once our eyes were opened to this terrible orphan crisis, we could not simply change our minds and turn away without a sense of regret and longing.  In our hearts, long before we verbalized the words, we had committed to adopt a child who would otherwise be left to live and die in an orphanage or mental institution without ever knowing the love of a family.  Suddenly, it turned from asking ourselves, "will we regret doing this?" to "will we regret not doing this?" And the answer was clearly "yes."

The rocking chair will be here before we know it, so until then, live your life in a way that when you get to the rocking chair, you don't ask yourself "why didn't I...."


  1. LOVE this concept! I did the same thing when we decided to adopt, pictured myself an old lady looking back on my life wondering what I would regret. I enjoyed reading your blog and it's now on my google reader so I can follow your journey!

  2. thank you-needed to see this today!

  3. That is such a neat thing to do. All this waiting has been really hard and I have had to much time to think. John and I are older and the idea sometimes of starting all over with 3 special needs is a little unnerving. After I read this post I sat and thought about years from now not having them and like you said felt so sad. I know that I know God told us to do this and besides I am already in love. Thanks for the encouragement!