This is a long post, but it has a very happy ending, so bear with us!
I am pleased to announce that Peter successfully ran his first marathon! I am so proud of all the hard work he put in, and I fell in love with him all over again as I witnessed his perseverance and dedication. My sister Alicia joined him at mile 21 and helped make the last grueling miles a little easier. I have to say that he smiled a lot for someone running 26.2 miles -- he was smiling when we met him on the course, and other friends said the same thing.
Our relay team did their work without a hitch too, and everyone did a great job with the transfers (and clocked some pretty fast times too!). When our daughter is old enough, I hope she will be touched that Lisa, Colin, Aunt Mary and Aunt Alicia were willing to run for her.
My brother Matt joined the fun by volunteering for marathon safety patrol -- he and others rode motorcycles along the course to help watch for runners in trouble, or any other problems. So many people love this child already, even though they haven't even gotten a glimpse of her face yet.
But enough from me! Here are some observations from Peter himself:
First of all, let me thank Nancy and my kids for all of their support as I trained for this race. Their love, encouragement and gift of time allowed me to train slowly but surely for the race over the last 8 months. I will never forget how they cheered me on as I faced both success and set backs. Thank you, my love and my family, for believing in me.
It was a very satisfying race. I stuck to my game plan and only walked for 30-45 seconds or so at water stations every 2 miles, along with a few hills. Other than that, I ran -- albeit slowly! -- the whole time. At the last turn, Alicia and I were joined by relay team members Lisa and her son Colin. We crossed the finish line together at 6 hours, 21 minutes. As we crossed I shouted out "for our daughter!" and started to cry.
I talked briefly with a some amazing people along the course. There was a woman from Kansas in her 70s who was running her 110th marathon. Another man from Tokyo, Japan was running his 600th marathon. Wow.
Miles 16-21 were the most challenging for me mentally, and it was difficult to keep focused. I just kept thinking about our daughter-to-be, wondering what she looks like . . . her eyes, her smile.
It was very inspiring to see friends, people from our church, and family along the way, cheering me on from the sidelines. Thanks so much for supporting me and praying for me as I trained and ran the race. It was such a picture of what we should do for each other through all of life, all the way to the finish line. It made me think of Isaiah 40:31: "But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not grow faint."
And both of us must somehow try to convey the depth of our gratitude to everyone who donated to our marathon fundraiser. Too many times to count, we have been moved to tears by the generosity of our families and our friends. Your love for our child is humbling and so appreciated.
Friends from Oregon, Kenya, Chicago, Minnesota, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio joined with us in spirit as they prayed and gave from afar. Our families, and many friends from church who are passionate about caring for orphans also astonished us with their generosity. The teachers at our sons' school took up a collection, and a relative put out a donation jar at her workplace. Any words we can think of seem inadequate to express how much we want to thank each of you.
And we keep on being surprised -- today, the day after the race, a few more people have given a donation. We are thrilled to announce that the total funds raised so far are an incredible $10,063.60.
Originally our hope was to raise $9,000 and that seemed like a pretty lofty goal at the time. I wish we could find some way to describe how much you have blessed us. Your generosity is a huge help meeting our upcoming adoption fees and travel costs.
Thank you. In the end, that's really all we can say. Thank you.