The day after my Birthday I left Prineville and headed to the Ochoco Mountains. I ended up camping at the reservoir for the night just outside of town. I woke up to quite waters and beautiful sunrise… so peaceful. One of the things I like to do in the morning is listen to podcasts of my favorite speakers. It stimulates my mind and gets my thoughts off the walk. It was my goal to do 20 miles that day so we headed out early. Taking lots of breaks, we stopped often to look at the many cool sights around us. It doesn't sound all that great writing it, but when you're there its incredible!
I ended up listening to several podcasts as I walked that day and the one thing that seemed to be a random common theme between all of them was adoption. I spent the rest of the day thinking about what was said and how important it was to have my own children vs just adopting. I came to this one indisputable decision, that I would rather adopt then have my own kids. I'm sure that's going to get me in trouble with my future wife… And not just adopt a healthy baby but one with a physical disability that can't talk or hear or maybe missing a limb.
In my mid 20s I worked as a classified sub in district 81 in Spokane, Wa. I worked with all kinds of kids for 2-3 years. Some were behavioral intervention (I actually liked working with these kids), others were one on one with a child that has a physical disability but was in a normal classroom and the one I found the most challenging was working with the kids that were low functioning with sever disabilities. In those class rooms you would have to change diapers and take care of them much like a baby. My 2nd year on the job I got a long term sub position with a blind boy in the first grade. I would meet him at the bus stop to get him on and off the bus every day, help him count steps to different locations around school, and assist in finding his hook and cubby so he could put his things away. We were not only a team but best friends (as much as an adult can be best friends with a kid). We played games and sang songs together. I would catch myself staring at him, watching every move he made and his interaction with other kids. I was so excited everyday to go to work and hang out with him. On the weekends I would miss him and couldn't wait for Monday to come! I couldn't believe they paid me to be there, to be with him. When I was not at work, I would think about ways to help him be more social and interact with his classmates. Eventually that job ended and I had to move on to another position, but I have to say I still miss him to this day. Some time later I saw him on the front page of our local paper and found out he had been in foster care most of his life. The article was about adoption and mentioned a family that had just adopted him. I was so excited for him but bummed because If I would have known that, I probably would have tried to adopt him myself.
That experience has made me want to love those who others see as being "defective"… to fight for the underdog. On the flip side of that, I don't know if I can handle a child with a mental disability. Either way, I found myself praying "Lord, if there is a child out there in the world that no one else wants, prepare me for him or her." I just want to make myself available to the Lord.
I posted up on the side of the road for the night and it was cold. The next morning the weather was terrible! Raining then hailing… cold then sunny.. then back to rain. I pressed on another 10 miles to the top of the summit where I found Ochoco Divide camp ground. I decided to camp there for the night and make a fire to dry off and warm up. After setting up camp, Jim the camp ground host, invited me to his Wennibego for dinner. He was an inspiring character for a 60 some year old man. We traded stories and listened to music over dinner. From Michael Jackson to Guns And Roses, Grateful Dead to some kind of classical music I didn't know. I love to listen to stories of people in their sunset years that don't just retire and wait to die but go out and have an adventure. He made us steak, asparagus and a backed potato which was AMAZING!!! Especially after eating tuna packets and granola bars the last few days. After dinner, I went back to my camp site and crashed for the night.