Media Article
November 15, 2023
Jenni Lord

From Running Shoes to Rocket Fuel

Chosen - Adoption | Foster & Orphan Care Outreach | Mentoring

Fifteen years ago, the idea for Chosen was conceived at the start line of the inaugural Rock ’n’ Roll San Antonio Marathon. The atmosphere was absolutely buzzing with energy, nerves and excitement, despite the unusual 30 degree weather.  30,000 of us awaited the fire of a gun. Suddenly, everything around me went silent.  I had a crazy thought… what was I doing this for? Five months of training for what? Vanity? Me time? Perhaps, there could be a higher purpose. Maybe I could be doing this for something I believed in.

I reflexively asked aloud the question echoing in my head.

“What am I doing this for? I need to be doing this for something I believe in.”

“Like adoption,” my friend said. She knew how important this topic was to me.

Yes. Like helping children who needed safe, loving homes find a place of healing.

For my first ever 13.1 miles, running for two hours and fourteen minutes (we were slow!), my friends and Italked about — what would it look like if we could run a race for someone else’s victory?

Leading up to November 16, 2008, I had sang & prayed countless times on training runs,“You’re the God of this City” by Chris Tomlin. I didn’t know Chris yet, but it was my heartbeat, song, prayer and declaration over our city — I asked God to use me to that end.

From the time of my idea to the end of the year, the Lord was relentless with me — answering our musings through prayers, dreams and wise counsel.

A race for adoption —  my wild idea — with zero nonprofit, child welfare, or event planning background. I said yes and started plotting a new course.

Less than two years later, at the Chosen Marathon for Adoption, runners lined up at a start line we drew on the ground. 1,100 runners came to run for someone else’s benefit. It was a miracle of epic proportions. About six volunteers who believed in the dream pulled off an incredible feat — we fired a foghorn and sent runners down a dark hilly road just before dawn in Gruene, TX with a pink filled sky.

I will never forget that scene. A dream that was conceived came to be — bigger than I could have ever imagined. We raised $100,000 and gave it all away to fund adoptions. Despite an economic recession. Despite zero fundraising experience. Despite my naiveté.

Through God’s guidance, our mission has evolved to focus on a massive chasm – helping to heal trauma and empowering caregivers, so that families stay together.

I look around my office today and see symbols of hope, prayer, fortitude, and encouragement that have been poured out to move us from a race to a moonshot vision to literally transform the child welfare system.

What God has done in fifteen years is truly astounding. Children created in the image by God — healing, in families. Brokenness redeemed. Marriages and families restored.

An idea birthed a dream, but the path has never been a straight A to B. The course has been full of twists, obstacles, pain, reward and still – His favor. What was born of faith remains a journey of faith, as we seek to fulfill His purposes on the earth and influence systemic change by prioritizing family well-being.

Collectively, since one start line fifteen years ago, millions of miles have passed between all the runners, walkers, volunteers, team members, donors and ultimately the children & families who have sojourned together, demonstrating the power of connection as a force for good.

In our early days, we funded almost 400 adoptions and nearly 100 orphan care projects. Since our evolution, we have now impacted almost 5,000 individuals with healing services to keep families together.

Connection heals. Chosen will continue prioritizing relational connection as a conduit for healing children, families and communities nationwide, as we make this giant leap in our lifetime.

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