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Running Through It: Adoption Day and Beyond

"This picture cracks me up," says Tish, "We're both like, OMG, what just happened?" (And note: her Rock 'n' Roll Marathon shirt...)

When you fly nearly 8,000 miles to adopt a baby, you’re given a laundry list of items to pack: diapers, wipes, onesies, tiny socks, blanket, formula (milk-based and soy—who know if she’s allergic?), bibs, bottles, medicine, toys, snacks. And that’s just for the baby! Oh, and on international flights, your overloaded suitcase can’t weigh more than 50 pounds. When the suitcase got to 48 pounds, I added running shorts, shirt, bra.

When we landed in Guangzhou 15 years ago at nearly 11:00 at night, it was 92 degrees and so humid you could see droplets hanging in the air.

We collapsed in our hotel bed but jolted awake a few hours later because jet-lag and you know adopting a baby that very same day!

Then-husband was lacing up his sneakers. “Where are you going?” I asked. “The gym isn’t open yet.”

Said he: “I’m going for a run.”

At 4:30 in the morning? In Guangzhou? Outside?

My perfectly reasonable response: “I’m coming with you.”

Every year around this time, I am reminded of those literally life-changing days. Maybe more so this year because the coronavirus crisis is upending all our lives.

All along the East Coast where I live, the heat and humidity rivals that of China. (Okay, not quite, but that’s a competition I am happy to concede.) Oh, and there’s that child in my life!

I can’t begin to describe how nerve-wracking it is to be handed an 11-month-old baby who’s screaming because you look, sound, smell, feel different than anything she’s ever experienced in her little life. Wah!

Every route to motherhood is filled with its own unique blessings and challenges. As an adoptive parent, I didn’t have post-partum physical concerns; I also didn’t have an infant but an 11-month-old who was fully cognizant that her world had taken a startling turn she wasn’t sure she approved of. Wah!

Therapist-speak would say running is my coping mechanism. She napped; I ran. Some might say that was selfish, I should’ve spent the time with her. I’ll say no mother should ever feel guilty about taking a half-hour to reset her sanity—especially with such a healthy mechanism as running!

All the best moms celebrate "Family Day," anniversary of adoption, with ice cream at the Jersey Shore. Fifteen years! Sniff!

Come to think of it, it’s a pattern that continues today, as she nears her Sweet 16th birthday. She sleeps in, I run. Blessed are the teens who sleep until nearly noon on weekends.

Don’t you know, I ended up running nearly every single day of that trip in China?

How has running has helped you cope with life-changing events?















4 responses to “Running Through It: Adoption Day and Beyond

  1. I’ll always remember the first run I took after September 11, 2001. I hadn’t been anywhere near New York on that day, nor did I know anyone personally who had been impacted directly. But as a young teacher, I certainly felt the weight of responsibility to bring comfort to my students. I was rather new to running, and hadn’t gone more than about 4 miles in a run. My first run was the Saturday following the attacks, and I remember feeling that all the stress and worry were leaving my body with each step. It was so cathartic! I ended up running 6 miles and feeling very strong throughout. I really needed that run!

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