A few months ago Yoga Journal featured a story on a woman named Mary Beth Larue. It was a touching recollection of the beginning of her journey in fostering and adoption. Her sincerity and vulnerability were so relatable to the Necco community, and few things are more comforting than knowing you are not alone!
Mary Beth's story reminded us of three things in particular that all foster parents should hear.
1. We Don’t Know!
How many times on your journey as a foster or adoptive parent have you said: "I Don't' Know!" - Or perhaps yelled, screamed or cried it? There are so many unknowns. Your heart lurches every time the phone rings knowing this could be the call. You don't know how old your baby will be. You don't know the gender or kind of prenatal care your baby's birth mother received. You may foster a baby who is ultimately reunited with his or her birth parents, or you may foster a baby you will eventually adopt. So much uncertainty. This journey is a lesson in trust. Trust that the answers to so many of these questions will come in time and, while perhaps in unexpected ways, with a reasoning that makes perfect sense.
2. We're on a Journey
Every foster and adoptive parent has their own beautiful story of how they arrived on this path. Some are dramatic; some are peaceful, many somewhere in the middle. While backgrounds may vary, feelings surrounding the experience are very much the same. Mary Beth's social worker told them, "You'll fall in love, and you might get hurt." Many of you have probably heard a similar warning. It is a scary thought, but most things in life worth doing have elements of fear and uncertainty. Life is messy. Extraordinary experiences and profound relationships are the results of embracing the messiness.
3. We Must Be Present
One of Necco’s favorite messages is that you don't need to be a superhero to be a foster or adoptive parent. You just need to be present and capable of small, consistent kindnesses. Stepping into this world can feel like a free fall for sure. It is in those moments that you can remind yourself that you can choose the what-ifs and future-tripping, or you can take a deep breath and focus on the moment. Put one foot in front of the other. Make that lunch. Give hugs liberally. You could be the one caring adult needed to bring a productive child back to the community.
You can follow Mary Beth’s foster and adoptive journey at www.marybethlarue.com.