Don Dollar says (via my facebook wall), "It's time for another blog post." Don, you know how I hate to disappoint. :) Conveniently, my Breaking Free bible study wrapped up this past week, and my plan is to ease back into the blogging world slowly and cautiously. I'm ready to pick up where I left off, but instead of feeling an obligation to blog every (x) amount of days, I'm going to blog whenever and wherever I darn well please.
So yesterday was the day. The day of the Second Empire 5K Classic in downtown Raleigh, of course. If you don't remember from several of my previous blog posts, this was a 5K race in the heart of downtown Raleigh held by Second Empire Restaurant & Tavern owner, Kim Reynolds, to benefit Hopeful Parents, a nonprofit organization that assists prospective adoptive parents in preparing to adopt and provides community support to adoptive and birth families. Kim and her husband, who adopted their son a few years ago, are active members of Hopeful Parents. When they spotted the Mother's Day story in the News & Observer about my open adoption last May, Kim contacted me about helping to plan the race. Jumping at the chance to promote adoption, I was so in.
Having the opportunity to be a part of the planning committee was nothing short of a privilege. I had the opportunity to work with so many great people who truly believe in celebrating, supporting and promoting adoption. There were 500+ runners at the event, adoption agencies on-site to answer questions and provide resources, music, mascots, and spectators. It was so neat to see how many people came out to support the event and celebrate adoption. What I like best about Hopeful Parents is that the organization strives to provide continued support for adoptive parents, birthfamilies, and adopted children. No member of the adoption triad left behind! Which of course is not their slogan, but I'm thinking that it probably should be.
A particularly memorable moment (for me) was before the race began and one member of each side of the adoption triad (adoptive parent, birthmother, adoptee) addressed the crowd on stage. First, Lea, a board member of Hopeful Parents who adopted her son a few years ago spoke about her experience as an adoptive mother and about Hopeful Parents. Next, I hopped (literally) up on stage and spoke for a few minutes about my experience with open adoption and my goal to start a birthmother support group here in the Triangle. (Here comes the memorable part) --> The adoptee, 10-year-old Allyson, spoke about how grateful she is that she was adopted. It was precious. I could see a few teary-eyed folks in the crowd as Allyson read from her hand-written list all of the things she has been able to do because of her adoption -- playing on a soccer team, learning to play the violin, having a little brother that she adores, etc, etc, etc. She noted the fact that she would never have been able to have these things if she had not been adopted.
I couldn't help but get a little misty-eyed myself, thinking about Deanna as Allyson spoke. I hope that Deanna feels similarly about her adoption when she gets older. I hope that she is able to understand how much she has been able to experience because of her adoption and how much she would have missed out on had she not been placed with Don and De. Things like playing soccer every week, being enrolled in a stellar gymnastics program, living at the beach, having a stay-at-home mom and a stable home life are just a few examples of the things that probably would not have been possible for Deanna if I had tried to do things on my own. While I don't constantly dwell on Deanna's future adoption inquiries, these tough questions are something that I have tried to mentally prepare myself for. Allyson's speech gave me hope for Deanna's acceptance someday.
And then I ran the 5K. I wasn't planning on running since I was speaking literally RIGHT before the race began, but I decided at the last minute that I would just do. Seriously, I almost died in the 90+ degree weather, but I actually ran the entire race without stopping and came in 5th in my age group. I'm so glad that I decided to challenge myself. Unfortunately, today I am dealing with the intense repercussions of 1) not stretching well before the race 2) not warming up before the race and 3) not lathering sunscreen on my shoulders/arms/back/chest.
I'm beginning to realize more and more as I get older that my parents are always right. Yeah, I admit it. "Always wear sunscreen, stretch before you exercise, remember to say please and thank you, etc, etc, etc." And the list goes on. My parents have drilled these concepts into my head time and time again, and it's sad to think that as a 23-year-old, I've only placed the utmost importance on the "remember to say please and thank you" part. I'm finally beginning to realize that there is a logical explanation behind all of my parent's rules and advice. But don't tell them I told you that. :)
Well aside from looking like a lobster and feeling the pain of sunburned skin and sore muscles, I am feeling pretty good about myself today. Thank you to everyone who came out to the race!
Check out the pictures from the event: