Wednesday, October 29, 2014

3 Years of Chosen

Our boy turns one very soon.
 I'm in some kind of weird state of denial that he has already been in our lives for a year. It has been such an amazing year full of transition, joy, exhaustion, learning, and love. As I look back I am amazed at how much our lives have changed. We didn't have a lot of notice before Isaac came into our lives, and everything shifted so quickly and so dramatically. The one thing I feel above everything is thankfulness…and I'm in awe at how just right it feels.

We ran The Chosen Marathon for the third year in a row. Each year has brought about different emotions for me. Since this blog serves as a time capsule of sorts, and at the ripe old age of 28 things are already starting to blur, I've decided to do a recap.

Year 1--We had just started the adoption process and had no baby in our arms or minds, only in our hearts. My step-dad, Chuck, had unexpectedly passed away the week before. We were determined to keep running. We ran. I remember clutching a laminated photo of Chuck and praying for our future child as I crossed the finish line. It was a moment I'll never forget. I hugged my real dad and said goodbye for the last time at that race as well. Little did I know, he would fall victim to addiction and the mental illness that had plagued him for years, and take his life less than 2 months later. Running that race was hard, but if there is one thing  marathoners and families who adopt have in common: it's endurance.

Year 2-- We weren't going to run. It was too painful to move, let alone run in some of the months leading up to the race. We were still healing from the loss/failed placement of our first son in Jamaica, Alex. There were moments that I couldn't fathom enduring 13 miles of memories along the same path that I ran the year before praying for our child with every step. However, we felt an nudging in our spirits to continue with a domestic adoption, and within six weeks of our new paperwork being complete we were selected by a birth mom to parent her unborn child. We created a team and rallied our forces, although our team was smaller than the precious year, it was mighty! We met with Isaac's birth parents the night before the race. We drove down to New Braunfels after the meeting just talking and praying. Our whole lives were about to change. Running that race for the second year was exhilarating. I ran and remembered my time with Alex in Jamaica with a painful gratitude I  can't quite describe. I ran and remembered my Dads and who they were to me, and how they impacted my life and brought me to where I am today. I ran for a little boy who would be in my arms very soon. I felt afraid and vulnerable, but I ran anyway. I let go of my fear that things would fall through on that race course. I let go of the very real possibility that my heart would shatter into a million pieces when it was barely put back together in the first place. I  called my son by name for the first time on that race course when a stranger cheering on the runners asked me who I was running for. "My son, Isaac!" I said barely able to catch my breath.

The only thing that ever made sense to me amongst all the confusion and heartache was to move forward. Step by step. Running became a tangible metaphor for my life. The radiant symbolism has been hard to ignore.

I crossed the finish line that second year with tears streaming down my face when I had the realization that next year, God willing, I'd cross the finish line with my baby.

Year 3-
And cross we did. A beautiful, momentous, & victorious cross!

I'm still reeling from the excitement that was year 3. The weather was perfect and the anticipation and anxiousness was palpable. We packed our river house full of runners and supporters that got up early that morning to head to the race. Some very dear friends surprised us from Dallas, which made me even more emotional! I am always so blown away by the love and support that we have in our lives. The run itself was beautiful as always. I had two partners along the course encouraging me and pushing me forward. The thought of meeting my little one towards the finish line propelled me every step. That moment was exactly what I'd been hoping for and dreaming of for three years! The moment was sacred and victorious. I could hardly breath because I was overwhelmed with gratitude.

After showering and resting up after the race, it was time to get ready for Isaac's first birthday party. The theme of the party was befitting, Baby Steps. Half of the members in attendance were limping around due to the day's earlier muscle exertion, but it only added to the fun! It was such a joy to celebrate our boy overlooking the very river we had prayed for him for three years. Burgers, games, laughter, and community with our tribe.

Pretty proud to be (almost) one!
Cake by Aunt Lauren @ Mrs. Weber Bakes

To top off the celebrations, we met our goal this year to raise money and provide shoes for the children at Robin's Nest in Jamaica. It brings me so much joy to bless the wonderful directors, staff, and children at "The Nest."

As you can see, this race means more to me than just an early morning run in the Hill Country. This race is so symbolic of what makes my very heartbeat.

See ya next year Chosen, I'll run this race until my legs fall off . Thanks for blessing us in so many ways!

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