Let me stress the relay part of it as I am certainly not an endurance athlete! Being charged with running the shortest leg of the relay (4.6 miles in the hilly trails of Huntsville) was a little intimidating for me, so an entire marathon is definitely not on my near future to-do list.
Since beginning our journey of adoption back in September of 2009, I think a lot about our little chinababy, Zoe. I wonder what she looks like and what her little personality will bring to our family. I wonder who her biological parents are and what they are like. I wonder what the troubling circumstances are that surround her little life. I wonder what is so hard on the parents that they have to give her up. I wonder how they abandon her. I worry about her being left on a dangerously busy street, or on a cold, rainy morning, or in a crowded market where no one can hear her cry. I worry about how well the orphanage is taking care of her. It breaks my heart to know she might be crying but no one can pick her up to soothe her, so I cry with her and I pray through our tears. I pray for her constantly, and I pray for those around her, taking care of her. And I wonder who is praying for the others...
My heart has definitely been broken for the orphan, specifically my little Zoe, but now I feel connected and burdened for all of them. So when my sweet friend Danielle (who is also adopting!) suggested doing the marathon relay for Orphan Hope International, I had no hesitation at all and even roped my husband and friend Jill into completing our team!
Orphan Hope International's mission is "to positively transform the lives of vulnerable children and those ministering to them through Christ-centered Mission Trips, Padrino Program, Adoption Awareness, Safe Houses and Vacation Host Program." This marathon was specifically to raise money to build a safe house in Columbia. I love these organizations that have such huge hearts for some of our littlest ones in need!
Our team name was Team Hope, and the verse we were given was Psalm 31:24. So of course I had to make team shirts because that's just what a girl's gotta do.
I made the back of our shirts for Zoe
And the back of Danielle's shirt for their Ethiopian baby
Of course Arella wanted to support the cause too...
After the marathon was over, Danielle captured so beautifully into words the journey of adoption, I just have to share her quote:
"I can only imagine that the journey of adoption is very similar to the marathon I ran today . . . You start with a burst of energy, the dream of your adopted child hard and fast on your heart, then you settle into a steady pace: research, applications, paperwork . . . there are setbacks, moments you think, maybe I should have stopped and turned around a long time ago . . . you think the path is going one way, almost to the finish, and then you realize an unexpected turn has happened, you still have a long way to go . . . but you're never alone and you can't do it without those who love you (in fact, I only ran 8.5 miles of the marathon today, three other friends ran too, and many others were there to support us) . . . and all the while you know you will make it to the finish line, because you were made to do this. You were made to be courageous and strong, you were made to have faith and live in God's will. You were made to love sacrificially. You were made to run the race set out before you with endurance. And the reward will be better than you could have ever imagined!"
Here is part of Team Hope- Danielle, me, Arella (honorary member) and Eriek
And here's Danielle with our clutch final teammate Jill!
Thank you God for this awesome journey we have found ourselves on!