Tuesday, July 26, 2011


The title of this essay is something I wanted to write about during the long period of quiet between my last two posts.  I'm sure I started the essay a couple of times and ended up deleting it because I could never finish it properly. 

There is a path that runs from Puyallup to White Plains called the Foothills Trail.  It is 28 miles long.  The stretch from Puyallup to Orting is about 10 miles.  I have driven it, ridden on it and I have run on it.  The drive takes 10 minutes; riding on my bike takes 30 minutes; running takes about 60.

When you drive by the path, your first thought is, "I can't run that!" When you ride it, you think, "That's a nice little jaunt."  When you run it, you think, "Holy Cow, is this ever going to end?  AND, I have to run home!"  However, as you transition from the car to the bike to running, your persective changes.  Things slow down progressively, and with it, your thoughts.  You have more time to notice things, and you get to appreciate sights and sounds those in the cars will never see.  It's the same path, seen three different ways.

Today, the birth mother called to inform us that all of the consent forms have been signed by her.  This situation is one where the mother has very few choices.  If she does not find a home for her child, it will go to the State, and nobody, including the State wants that.  So, in a matter of exactly two weeks, all the work is done, and we are waiting for the child to be born.

The perspective from here is surreal.  The 20+ months of waiting and over 50 mothers don't quite have the same emotional bearing on my life as they once did.  Sure, I remember alot of them, and I remember the challenges and lessons learned form each of them.  But the pain of saying "yes" and not being chosen or saying "no" and wondering "what if?", are already fading into the recesses of my memory.

Which brings me to my first point:  Your current perspective is temporary.  It can only be based on what current information you readily have at your disposal, so don't put too much stock in it.  The chances are very good it is going to change.  While riding on the STP, the last 20 miles were pure agony.  I didn't think I had enough in me to complete it.  Two weeks removed from the event, the pain is forgotten and I would probably do it again.

The second point is the one thing your perspective changes on the most: your resiliency.  Once you have been through the challenge, your perspective on what you think you can endure changes.  Most often you come out a much stronger person, able to accomplish more than you ever thought your were capable of.

So, don't lose your perspective.  Keep it, and maintain it.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

When Kids and Bikes Converge

I realize it has been awhile since I last posted.  This was not by design, but rather because things got too hectic, trying to manage kids and bikes.

Last weekend, July 9 - 10, I participated in the Seattle to Portland Bike Classic (STP) to raise money for my missions trip to Ethiopia.  When you spend 20 hours on a bike riding 200 miles, you have alot of time with your thoughts.

While I was riding, I reflected on what was going on in our adoption process.  Over Memorial Day weekend, Beth and I had been wrestling for about two weeks over a child in Georgia that had a condition called schizencephaly (for more information, please see the following link http://www.schizkidzbuddies.com/).  As bad as this condition sounds, the child had had a recent ultrasound, and her condition had been upgraded significantly.  We pressed on, seeking guidance from friends, family and God.

Ultimately, and heartbreakingly, we declined and sent an email to the adoption agency.  The response surprised us; our profile, which was supposed to have been overnighted to Atlanta, had been sent to Grand Rapids, Michigan by mistake, effectively taking us out of the running.  Also, the other two couples who were also considering the child, backed out as well. 

Sunday morning of the ride, somewhere near St. Helens, Oregon, I get an email on Facebook from a friend.  Offering words of encouragement, she mentioned that she wanted to talk to me during the week.  Exhausted from already riding 160 miles, I put the BlackBerry away, and finished my ride.

Tuesday, July 13, this friend calls me at work.  She and her husband are also in the adoption process, and she shared with me her latest opportunity.  Thinking she was looking for counsel or support, I listenend intently, as she shared her story.  The child is in Alabama, the mother is caucasion, the father African American, and the lawyer was having trouble placing this child out of state, which was the mother's request.  And the baby was a girl.  However, my friend and her husband were not in a position to take this child, and I was sad for them.  Been there, done that.

What I didn't see was that my friend was trying to get us to consider this child.  However, even after an, "I don't want to pressure you but..."  I still didn't get it.  In my estimation, this was too far out of our realm of possibility because this was a private adoption, and we were commited to our relationship to our agency.  I didn't even share my conversation with Beth until after dinner, because I thought the news would be discouraging.  I could not have been more wrong.

Within 48 hours and with the help of my friend, the doors flew open, and we are on track to adopt this little girl.
Here is the kicker.  The due date for the baby is August 25th.  That means that I will be in Ethiopia, with my mission team, working with the adoption ministry when our daughter will be born.

The description of this blog, while not easily seen above states, "My journey of faith, to adotion, for adoption and to Portland.  This chapter started on my bike to Portland, and may culminate while I am in Ethiopia. 

How good is that?