Dis­cover free­dom in let­ting go

How to find more free­dom by em­brac­ing un­cer­tainty.

Yoga Journal - - Contents - By Mary Beth LaRue

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.

Mary Beth LaRue

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