WASHINGTON — The organizer behind a charitable run to raise funds for orphans in China says the event has special meaning this year as her family is in the midst of adopting a child of their own.
“God has really opened a lot of doors and moved the process forward for us,” Katie Murphy, founder of the Run for the Little Flowers Virtual 5K, told CNA. “The run has been a big blessing for us and even for our kids.”
When Murphy organized the race last year, it was to help support and raise awareness of the world’s 147 million orphans. At that time, she and her husband, Peter, had begun researching adoption for themselves after learning that they may no longer be able to have children.
Although their hearts were in it, the couple discerned that it was not the right time for them to adopt just yet.
“I was really searching to know what else I could do to make a difference for these children,” Murphy said.
Out of that desire, the Run for the Little Flowers Virtual 5K was born. Promoted mainly by word of mouth and on her blog, Blessed with Full Hands, the “virtual 5K” had some 250 participants from nearly all 50 states signed up to run 3.1 miles in their own hometowns on the same day.
The $3,000 that was raised from the runners’ race registration went directly to Little Flowers Projects, a charity that seeks to “build a culture of life” by providing care for orphans in need of medical attention in China.
This year, Murphy hopes to sign up 500 runners for the race, but “realistically” is aiming to raise about $5,000, which would translate to having at least 300 runners signed up.
Not only was the run last year able to raise funds for orphans in China, but it also served as a catalyst for her family’s journey to adopt, of which they are now in the early stages.
“I really think that the thing that came from the run was our family starting the adoption process,” she said.
After putting trust in God for the success of the first run, Murphy said the family’s discernment of adoption became “much more God-led.”
“Not that it wasn’t before,” Murphy added, “but we were just really waiting on the Lord — this was clearly something we both felt open to, and we were just waiting on [God’s] timing.”
Now, the couple is trying to keep their trust in God’s plan as they balance planning the race and raising funds for their adoption, which will cost about $30,000.
“We’ve had the very real conversation that this run could take money away from our fundraising efforts for our adoption — both of us just approach it as a total faith thing,” she said.
Aside from the financial difficulties, Murphy realizes that adoption poses unique challenges to family life and bringing up children.
“You have to prepare yourself and your family for the ups and downs that are going to come after you bring the child home,” she explained. “This is a child who has been abandoned.”
“There is a brokenness there, whether we like it or not, that affects a child. Anybody who’s looking at adoption has to kind of know what may come with that,” Murphy said.
Similar to preparing for marriage, she noted, couples looking to adopt should focus on their whole lives together with the child, not just the day they bring them home.
“All the paperwork and stuff is kind of like your engagement phase,” she said. “You go through marriage prep, and they teach you all these things, but if you are only using your engagement for the wedding day, you’re going to be in trouble.”
Overall, Murphy believes that adoption is a special calling similar to religious life or marriage.
“Although it’s extremely beautiful, it has its crosses,” she said. “Every family and every couple have to discern if that’s where God is leading them.”
Readers can learn more about the Oct. 18 Run for the Little Flowers Virtual 5K here.