I was a runner in high school. I was not the fastest or strongest runner, but I enjoyed the satisfaction of finishing the race. My cross country coach, Coach T, was great. He encouraged me to do my personal best and gave me some great tips that have been helpful not only in racing, but also in our adoption journey.
The first tip from Coach T was to prepare.
In cross country, this involved stretching and coming to the race with a good attitude. Muscles needed to be warmed up for the grueling work ahead. A positive attitude kept the mind focused so that I could “push through the pain.”
In adoption, preparation is also important. My husband and I spent months researching adoption and deciding what path was right for us. We talked about our expectations, made a plan for our finances, and gathered our friends and family for emotional and prayer support.
The second tip from Coach T was to pace yourself.
Cross-country races are not sprints. At a sprint pace, I would run out of breath and wouldn’t be able to draw upon the resources needed to finish the race.
Adoption is not a sprint either. For most of us, our adoption journey involves a long distance run. Some of us are one milers, some two milers, for some it may even seem like a marathon. The longer the journey, the more important pacing is. We could easily be consumed by all the work involved in adoption: the homestudy, the birthmother letter, and networking. Pacing ourselves, by setting small, manageable goals and taking breaks, is the best way to ensure success.
The third tip from Coach T was to press in.
In cross-country the course is varied. There are flat runs, twists and turns, uneven ground and even obstacles like steep hills to overcome. Coach T taught us that the most important time to press in was when there was an obstacle. Most runners lose steam going up a hill, so he taught us to take that opportunity to push harder and pass up our opponent. There is something very empowering about tackling a hill at 100 percent.
In adoption, there will inevitably be obstacles along the way: failed matches, long waits, delayed paperwork. This is the time to press in even harder. Facing these obstacles head-on will help us to grow stronger. This is the time to draw upon the resources of your faith, friends, and family.
The final tip from Coach T was to persist.
Finishing the race is what really matters. As I said before, I was not the fastest or strongest runner, but I enjoyed finishing the race. Whether I finished first or last, it didn’t matter as long as I did my personal best.
The adoption journey takes a lot of patience and persistence. There are days when it would be easy to give up, but then we would miss out on the prize of parenthood. It doesn’t matter whether we are first or last as long as we keep running and finish the race! Hebrews 12:1 “Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”