Note to Self: I will never leave you. Never again. Not when you’re feeling less than. Not when you’re feeling scared. Not to fit in, chameleon, or impress. Not in the moments of uncertainty or doubt. And not in the moments of elation. Feet planted, heart open, gaze steady. I will never leave me. The price is far too high.
This morning my meditation was simply me repeating to myself “It’s all going to work out.” Over and over again. I have to believe it, even if “working out” is different than the path I believe I need.
It was about a year ago today that we finished our foster parent classes. And a year in December of loving you from a tiny newborn baby boy to a rambunctious toddler full of joie de vivre and endless giggles. A year of living with the absolute uncertainty of our future with you.
You see in the classes I understood. I listened, I read the manuals. I made sense of this. And when I heard about people whose path was hard I thought “God bless them. Please not us.” What I didn’t understand then, and I certainly do now, is a mother’s love. Whether that baby comes via birth canal or phone call makes no difference. There’s a ferocity to this love, a deep well that cannot be contained. And it hurts. I wasn’t prepared for how much it would hurt to love you.
I wake up every morning and ask myself “Can I do this?” in regards to a number of things but mostly foster care. And then there’s the yes, sometimes barely whispered, and we keep going. We keep going because you are the teacher and we are the students and this love is everything. This love can never be taken away. This love can never ever be contained.
Since becoming a mom almost nine months ago I know one thing for sure: I cannot skimp on my health rituals even the slightest bit. With the lack of sleep and the amount of daycare germs it’s imperative that I take care of me so I can take care of my family.
Here are three of my must dos:
Take Nature’s Way Immune Blend and Chaga: I take both of these supplements every single day. Immune Blend harnesses the power of ancient wisdom by creating an immune blend of 6 diverse mushrooms to support your immune system.* And this Chaga grows in the birch groves of Finland. It is wild harvested to support antioxidant pathways.
Meditate: I sit for meditation every day. Whether it’s for five minutes or twenty it makes such a different in my mental and physical health. By getting off the rollercoaster of my thoughts I press pause.
Drink Maca: I drink Maca every morning after my cup of matcha. Maca supports stamina and helps with vitality.
What do you do every day for your health?
The moment I wake up, I pad down the stairs and stand in the nursery. Light floods in through the window over the crib. I glance at the Ganesha statues and elephants I’ve nestled in every possible corner in hopes of removing some of the unseen obstacles that no doubt lay before us.
I will become a mom in the coming weeks. Like most new mothers, I’m nesting and excited and scared. Though unlike most new moms, this baby is not with me now. I haven’t had headphones on my growing belly, sending early good vibes from Van Morrison. I haven’t felt any kicks. I haven’t seen any sure signs of there you are.
That’s because my husband, Matt, and I will be brand-new foster parents, and we’re currently waiting for the call. Every time the phone rings, my hand goes instinctively to my heart. This could be it. While all new parents have no idea who they will meet until their little being arrives, we are preparing to foster children who’ll come into our home for a week, a few months, a year, and hopefully even longer, eventually adopting a child—or children—who will become part of our family. And now, after holding more anticipation than I could’ve ever imagined, all we can do is wait.
Matt and I started the journey to becoming parents last year. When we didn’t conceive, we saw a fertility specialist who recommended intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF). That appointment was immediately followed by another with a financial advisor, who threw a lot of (big) numbers at us. Because so much was still unknown—we hadn’t spent that much time trying to conceive, and I hadn’t seen any of the alternative practitioners my friends had recommended—the paths being presented to us didn’t feel quite right. So we left, got an ice cream cone, and tabled the baby conversation.
A few days later, Matt and I were on a walk when I asked him, “What do you think about adoption?”
He looked at me with big eyes and said, “I think it’s beautiful.”
“Yeah, me too,” I replied with a big smile. “Really beautiful.”
Fast forward a few weeks and we’d sought the advice of a student of mine, named Taylor, who is a foster-adoption lawyer. She’d been coming to my classes for years, always setting up her mat front and center. Life is like that, not letting you miss the important people who will change everything. After talking to Taylor, Matt and I met with a foster-adoption agency and made the big, scary, beautiful decision to become foster parents. With more than 34,000 children receiving services in Los Angeles, where we live, we thought surely a few of these kiddos were looking for us as much as we were looking for them.
In addition to the unknowns all parents face, we’re staring down a few more. We’re not sure how old our baby will be, and we won’t know the gender, race, or even what kind of prenatal care this baby’s birth mama received. We may foster a baby who is ultimately reunited with his or her birth parents; we hope to foster a child who we’ll ultimately adopt. We will ask questions and get some answers, and amid all of the uncertainty, what we know for sure is that this will be an education in trust. Trust that no matter what happens, we will be united with this child who we thought my body would carry and who our hearts have always wanted to hold.
Back in the nursery that morning, as I looked into the crib and wondered about the baby who’d soon lie in it, I silently repeated my new mantra—I don’t know—a phrase that’s offered me more hope and comfort than I’d ever imagined it could.
When we met with a social worker to talk about the foster system, she warned us, “You’ll fall in love, and you might get hurt.” Scary, to be sure, but isn’t this true of so many things in life? After all, so much of what’s worth doing is a messy path for the heart.
I’ve spent most of my life bracing myself for the impacts of those messes. These days, I’m choosing to dance with uncertainty.
Becoming a foster parent feels a bit like a free fall, and of course one part of me wants to engage with the countless worries and what-ifs. Yet more of me is tapping some well of wisdom I didn’t even know I had, and one day at a time—even one hour at a time—I’m simply putting one foot in front of the other, trying to make the next right choice. And with my eyes and heart wide open, I’m reveling in the I don’t know.
This originally appeared in the March 2018 print edition of Yoga Journal.
I think this photo really sums up my 34th trip around the sun. Full of adventure and wearing a lot of hats. (Maybe lugging some baggage too but I’m gonna stick with the first two. 🙄)
I’m spending this week, in between changing diapers and solo parenting, reflecting on what worked and what didn’t this past year as I turn 35 on Sunday.
I’m inviting in more simplicity this coming year. Even if it’s not occurring circumstantially (hello foster care!) simplifying what I can and moving toward what feels good and supportive, physically, mentally and energetically.
Us Virgos love reflection and my soul is asking for more of it. Less focus on pleasing others or getting “gold stars” and way more focus on simplicity, nourishment and, dare I say it, EASE.
I truly love getting older. Bring on the laugh lines and the expanded heart and all the lessons.
For my upcoming trip to the Rocky Mountains. (I picked this photo because I'm dreaming of cold weather.)
For my new shiny gold birthday Birkenstocks.
For almost (!) Virgo season. My planning and visioning has been at an all-time high.
For Ella Mai and Cautious Clay. In major rotation right now.
For miracles. There have been a lot of them in our life as of late.
For little beach getaways with my family.
For dreaming about the future and where we are headed.
I've been a little quieter than usual. I write to process and have written throughout our entire journey with baby boy and foster care as a way to do just that. Lately I crave quiet. I'm changing and who I thought I was once was isn't who I am anymore. I am meeting this girl and giving her the space and grace to be as she is. Just as she is.