Saturday, March 31, 2012

Lessons from a night runner

Five days of the week, my alarm goes off at 3:50 am. I am usually out the door by 4:05 am running.

I remember those first few runs where it felt awkward to be running in pitch darkness. I wear a headlamp around my waist but even still, it was disconcerting to only see a few feet around me.

But now.

Now I love that intense darkness. The solitude. The stillness. The fact that most of the world around me is still sleeping but I am running.

Night running reminds me of our journey to parenthood.

During our infertility struggles and treatment I could only see the immediate ground in front of me: get pregnant. Get pregnant get pregnant get pregnant. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other even though you feel like you're blind and don't know what lurks in the darkness, keep going. Keep focused on the goal. Stumble. Fall down. Skin your knees, bruise your shins, but by God get back up and keep going. One foot in front of the other no matter what.

I ran a million miles in the darkness, sometimes it felt like I didn't have a headlamp. Sometimes I was gasping for air. Sometimes I could only walk. Sometimes I could barely crawl. The darkness of infertility threatened to bring me down. But I was determined to keep going on that path, looking down down down at the ground, at the few feet in front of me, focused on the very next step always.


One day I decided to look up.

And I saw the stars.

The brilliant stars--millions and millions of them--across the dark sky.

Where we live there no streetlights. Obviously there is no traffic during my night/early morning runs. It is me and sky and God.

And the occasional deer.

It took me a few weeks of running in the dark to get comfortable enough to look up and notice the stars. And now I see them constantly; now I run with my eyes turned upward, sure-footed and confident.

And nearly every time I go I see a shooting star.

Ah, my babies are my shooting stars.

I was so focused on looking at the ground for so many years I nearly missed them.

Sometimes you have to look up and see the stars guys.

I know there are many reasons people give for staying on the most common path to parenthood, for not considering adoption, but having been through it I will say that barring simply no interest in adoption or perhaps a criminal background, there really are pathways for most to adoption if your heart is ready. The adoption tax credit makes financing an adoption far easier than financing fertility treatments. It's not an easy journey and it most definitely doesn't end when the adoption paperwork is complete ( do not want oversimplify this incredibly complex emotional journey for all parties involved, most importantly, the adoptees who had no say in their adoption), it's an unconventional journey, but in the proper cirumstances, it can build a family.

I can't change my infertility road. But one day, I anticipate some painful conversations when I might have to explain why it took me so long to see my stars. Because I never want them to think they weren't the best choice I could have ever made, because they are.

My beautiful shooting stars. H&H.

I'm so, so glad I looked up.

EDITED: I re-read this post after it published and don't want to sound like I'm pushing adoption. I'm not. Of course I think it is under-considered because it stings to be told to consider adoption when you're not ready. I get that. I was there. But I want to be a light for anyone seeking this option, and maybe even open some hearts to it. That is all. Motives pure. Promise.

Also edited to sadly add: We were lucky with the adoption tax credit. With current legislation it won't be as good for adoptions completed in 2012 and 2013. At all. I need to figure out what is being done to extend it. Man, were we lucky.


  1. Love this. You are such a beautiful writer. And I love the gorgeous photo of your shooting stars with the Texas blue bonnets!

  2. I guess it does sting to be told to consider adoption when you aren't ready... but it's oh, SO wonderful to see families where it is 'worked' when you are! I'm sure your babies will be shooting stars for other people too. I know ho much it meant to me to see other people's beautiful children when we were making decisions!

  3. Sounds just lovely. I too love running before the sun comes up...I love the world quiet and at peace (seemingly).

  4. I too qualified for the adoption tax credit for 2012 by adopting a special needs child. Although, I know for my own sake that I had to try fertility treatments (I still would love to have more than one child!), I am so glad that I became a mother through the miracle of adoption. She is in playing with Play-doh and just poked her head in to tell me that my dinner is almost ready. These are the moments that I dreamed about when I was shooting myself with needles, and going through surgeries. I'm still glad I pursued fertility treatment, so that I know that it is (unfortunately) not my way to build a family. I know some people don't understand it, but I really did want to experience the miracle of pregnancy, but I don't have to experience that to experience the miracle of Motherhood! :)

  5. This is a truly beautiful post. I'm so glad to hear that your babies are your shooting stars. I am getting the courage to glance up now and again.

  6. This is beautiful and I don't think it's at all out of place to encourage the idea of adoption as more than a fall-back. This is your story, your family has been made from those stars and what could be better than that? Your children will know that your path led you to them, that it wasn't time yet until they were ready, too. That is how you know without a doubt that H and H were meant for you, not just any children waiting to be adopted.

    I think it is only good to have stories like this out there. In a way it's not just about adoption, but a way of looking at struggles and seeing how they can be such a meaningful part of who you become. After all, that's what so much of life really is, right?

    I am willing to bet your kids will know that, too.

  7. What beautiful thoughts... and then an amazingly beautiful photo to go along with it! Love this! Thank you for sharing! You made my heart warm. xoxo

  8. Awesome.Post.Period. Your babies are seriously THE cutest!!

  9. Just lovely. It reminds me of the song, Bless the Broken Road, that goes something like, "...God blessed the broken road that led me straight to you." You and your kiddos were simply meant for each other, and I'm glad you are so happy.

  10. Love it. Reminds me of the "Welcome to Holland" post for special needs families- a classic. I think so many times, you have to look up and take in the beauty around, take in the moment, even on a very hard road. Initially, they may not understand (ah, the bliss of untainted youth), but eventually, they will.

  11. Beautiful post! Love this!

  12. I wish I could see my babies in bluebonnets more. Yours are beautiful (babies and bluebonnet pictures). -Kay