It’s been about three months since we received a very special phone call. This phone call at 4 pm on a Friday afternoon was about a potential adoption placement. We expressed interest and tried not to get our hopes up, as we had been through this process several times before. Later that same evening, we got a 2nd call from our social worker – we had been chosen! Shock, tears, all the long awaited hopes turned into joyful fulfillment right there at the restaurant while our server awkwardly looked on, completely unaware of the cause of my seeming meltdown into my napkin.
Six years felt like forever to wait to become a mama! Yet all the while, I had the amazing opportunity to walk alongside other new moms, young moms, still in their teen years. While parenthood came as more of a surprise for these young ladies, they rose to the occasion! I had the privilege of mentoring one young mom and attending YoungLives camp with her and her daughter. It was incredible to see the way all of the camp staff and volunteers loved and cared for our teen mom friends and their children. Such a distinct difference from the way they are often viewed and treated in their daily lives.
In addition to mentoring, I began running in the Flying Pig relay with my friend and fellow mentor, K.K. along with a couple of our mentees to help raise money for their camp trips.
Starting a 5k to support a mission was something I had dreamed of doing since college. In 2015, 11 years after graduating college, 3 years after getting married to my amazing husband, Mark, and moving to Hamilton, and one year after attending YoungLives camp, I shared my dream with K.K. Starting a race on Thanksgiving in Hamilton, so I didn’t need to get up so early to drive to Cincinnati to live out my long-standing tradition of running on Thanksgiving morning seemed like the perfect fit.
And so, 5 years ago, we mapped out a course in my neighborhood that I love, Highland Park. Thirty runners came out for our inaugural event, and we raised $100 in donations for the ministry. Skip forward to 2019, 1,101 participants and over 100 volunteers came together for our 5k, which has now become a Thanksgiving Day tradition for many families and friends.