Karma Yoga: Foster Parenting

Karma yoga is the yoga of selfless service. This is one of the most profound yoga practices that happen off our yoga mat. And while I love my asana practice and my meditation practice, it is my practice of karma yoga that brings me the deepest sense of peace and purpose.

We live in a world where there are so many causes or people in need.  It gets overwhelming sometimes. When our hearts are open, we want to give to everyone. But we can’t. We can only do what we can do with the resources we have in that moment.


One resource I have in ample supply is love. I mean that seriously, not in a trite or a fluffy way.  And because I believe that love = action, I’ve been a foster mom for the last 6 years. This is my karma yoga. I have four children and two of them are currently in foster care.


There are over 17,000 children in foster care. These are children who, through no fault of their own, cannot live with their biological families. There are all sorts of reasons why a child is removed from their home, none of them happy.


We could focus on the sad stories and the trauma they experience, but my family doesn’t. While we acknowledge it and certainly aim to heal it, we choose to focus on stability and love. We have learned that children THRIVE when given love, affection, and predictable, stable lives.  


There was a child we fostered from birth to four months. We thought we might adopt her but then they transferred her to another home. Yes, we cried. Yes, that was sad. But when I think about her now, I know we gave her the BEST beginning possible. That makes me happy because I did my job.


I have a child that I will adopt. It’s been a long windy road for her but it is now clear that we are her forever family.


I have a child that I’m not sure what the outcome will be or how long we will have her with us.  I know that my job is to love her, educate her, and get her the services she needs to heal from her life experiences thus far.


Is it easy? Hell no.  Four kids is NOT easy. I cry a lot. I yell sometimes. I hide in the bathroom. But all moms do that. But, I’ll tell you the truth - if I had another bedroom, I’d take another child.


Because there is a huge need for loving foster families in NYC. For all kids, of all ages.


Not everyone is called for this. In fact, most people aren’t. But if you have thought about this, considered it, wondered about it - I invite you to dig deeper into your heart to see if you might want to learn more.


And if you do, please reach out to me.  Literally, just respond to this email. My foster agency is looking for foster parents and I’m game to host an info session for anyone who is so called.


Ask your heart: is this me? If not, no worries. If so, join me.


I’ll end with a message I recently received from a panhandler on the subway:

"Keep your heart soft and find a cause you believe in."

- ALYSSA

PS: Because parenthood is difficult no matter HOW your children arrived to you, we have to find ways to lighten it up. A dear friend, also with four kids, shared THIS with me this morning. I laughed so hard that I cried.