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I used to require so much distraction. My insides were noisy so I craved the same around me. Weekends were filled with dive bars and Excederin. I thought I was connecting but my unwillingness to be quiet or still meant a lot of time was spent apologizing, playing “catch up” or hiding out needing introvert time when I really just needed someone to explain boundaries to me.

This is what connection looks like to me these days. Savoring a cup of coffee. Savoring a vulnerable conversation or belly laughter (or both) with a friend. Savoring these moments sitting on the sidewalk, covered in chalk, and watching a little boy discover the world anew every single morning.

I’m calling in more ease in 2019. Many moments like this where it looks like we are doing nothing but instead this is everything.

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One year ago today we got the phone call we had been waiting for. I was in Venice about to teach a private and the moment Extraordinary Families showed up on my phone my stomach did one hundred back flips.

When I answered the phone the social worker said:
There's a baby who needs you.

We had ten minutes to decide. We didn't know a name, we never saw a photo. We simply said yes.

It was a freefall into trust like we'd never known. You know that exercise where you'd fall backwards and someone would catch you? We were doing that but off the Grand Canyon and were unsure of who or what was at the bottom. For a moment I wondered, who will catch me but then I remembered: I'm here to catch him. I've been caught my whole life, comforted and supported. I'm here to catch him.

But even after all the classes we took, the books I've read, the foster and adoptive moms I've connected with, I was scared. Who would I be? Would I be good at this?.

We pulled up to the hospital. Left the car seat there. Walked in. Okay, wrong building. Left that one, walked into the other one. Got a name tag. And started down the hall.

My entire body was vibrating. Anticipation, excitement, fear. Honestly, in retrospect it was already vibrating with love. Stepped up to the nursery door. A nurse waved us in. And then there he was.

Right there in the middle of the room in a clear bassinet. I could see him from the side, loads of dark brown hair and big brown eyes. My eyes welled with tears and I walked over to place my hand on his very tiny back.

There you are.
You are perfect.
I love you.

My entire body flooded with something I'd never felt before. I recognized him instantly. I loved him even before I recognized him.

I found my purpose.
It is to love with every ounce of my being, no matter what. Without conditions. Without certainty. Without holding back.
And it is to answer life’s call and say "yes" in every damn way.

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Today you are one. It has been my greatest honor to mother you and watch you grow and trust and giggle. To become the beautiful, loving little human you are meant to be.

This year I said goodbye to you maybe one hundred times. I was told to pack your bags. I was told it was time to let go. And yet here we are. Still fumbling and loving side-by-side.

One year ago today we still didn’t “know” you. It would be almost another week until we held you in our arms and looked into your big, brown eyes and felt our hearts melt and transform. I’ve cried more joyful tears in this last year than my entire life.

Sometimes people imply that this journey and this pain will only be worth it if all goes “our way,” if we know it’s forever. To this I say that’s not true. Every single second with you has been worth a thousand times these challenges and this pain. You’ve changed me forever. You’ve brought my entire heart and being alive. You’ve changed the way I see the world.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Happy birthday to the sweetest boy I’ve ever met. You hang the moon.

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This is what I was doing the day you were born. One year ago today. You arrived two weeks early and we signed our paperwork two weeks late. We met in the middle. Perhaps some sort of sacred contract we were all to live out. A plan written that was beyond our control.

I wasn’t at your birth. I didn’t even know you existed. Instead I was sitting on a shipping crate in Downtown LA drinking a smoothie and about to get my brows done with Rosy in tow. A normal day for the most part except that I was watching my phone like a lovesick teenager.

Every day I would ask Matt, “Do you think it’s today?” He would say that he wasn’t sure but that it would be soon and I should enjoy the quiet.

I sat in your room and sorted your children’s books. I had two pieces of clothing for you - an Iowa Hawkeyes sweatshirt that I wore as a baby and a Sade tee shirt. I didn’t know how old you’d be. If you were a boy or a girl. I knew nothing except that I already loved you.

So I was sitting here when you were born filled with love. I would’ve loved to have taken you in my arms right away and whispered that you were safe, that were loved and you were right on time. But because I wasn’t in charge (oh, how I’ve learned this lessons a million times over this year!) I loved you from afar, on a shipping crate, waiting.

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On December 12, a year ago yesterday, we signed our official foster parent paperwork. We’d been through trainings, background checks and mountains of paperwork. This meant we could finally start getting phone calls about placing a child with us. I was seriously trembling as we walked into the office, sure that someone was going to say “Ah, sorry it’s still not time.”

For someone who was unsure about parenthood for many years I was filled with a sense of serious urgency from the moment we decided to foster. I felt my purpose deep in my bones. It was undeniable. I micromanaged us like crazy to make sure we got thru the classes and paperwork as quickly as possible. Matt would laugh and say “You can’t get an A+ in foster parenting classes.” I didn’t care for recognition. I just wanted to be done with classes so we could meet the child who needed us.

For whatever reason signing was delayed a couple of weeks and so on a Tuesday we walked into the office and signed a stack of papers. The moment this was done were able to receive calls. I’d heard of people getting calls while in the meeting or the moment they got home. That’s how many kids are in need here in LA.

After we signed our paperwork we went and celebrated with coffee and donuts on Sunset Boulevard. We got home and the baby yoga mat I had ordered was delivered. I was not anticipating a newborn! More so a one to three year old.

I sat on the tiny mat in my yoga room and closed my eyes. I said “Thank you God for getting us here. We are ready.”

I’d love to give that sweet, naive pre-foster mama a hug. She was about to walk through the most beautiful, heart expanding, painful year of her life.

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I love to plan. I love to strategize. And I’m a bit of a recovering control freak. But I’m also super creative, trusting and someone who loves to dream.

Dreaming used to come so easily to me. I’d gaze out the window on a flight listening to music and daydream for hours on end. I’d sit with my notebook and put my dreams on paper. Then all of the sudden I stopped doing it. It has felt scary to dream knowing that much my heart is in the hands of people I don’t know. I even felt that if I dreamed it I might “jinx” what I wanted so instead I avoided the dreaming altogether.

A couple months ago I started doing it again. Putting on my headphones and letting myself drift. Imagining what I want. And I even came from daycare drop off on a Monday and instead of going to my email inbox I sat down with my coffee and made several vision boards.

Dreaming is a state I wanna stay in. I have no doubt what’s meant to come to fruition will. I’ll be over here doing my best to dream and trust on the regular in 2019.

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I love my family.

What you don’t see is that Matt and baby boy are making the exact same face.

Our day to day is filled with a lot of laughs and a lot of joy. We choose to live in this space because it’s good for our health and it’s good for this little guy.

We try not to waste our precious time together dwelling on what might or might not happen. Matt and I support each other in this. We say to one another: Come back.

I spent years trying to pad myself from feeling pain or grief. And I did such a good job I became quite numb. Now my heart has a lot of cracks and wear and tear and I feel it all. Feeling life has become something I do daily, like breathing and calling my mom. Feeling life and allowing it all to come in waves. Uncertainty always present but so is possibility.

I love this messy, beautiful family of mine. Thank you for taking this journey with me and for feeling life together.