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Because friendship is part of our motto, we love to hear stories of how our members connect on the trails. This month's Most Inspiring Members from Shoreview (MN) Moms on the Run connected on the trails with similar pace times, but it was the journey of international adoption that cemented their friendship. When one person's life challenge can be used to help another person through that same experience, everyone benefits, and Krista and Cari are an example of that. Read on to learn more about each of their stories.
Q: How long have you been a part of MOTR?
Krista: Since about 2011 or so. I had to take off most of the 2013 season as I went on bedrest.
Cari: I have been a part of MOTR since I moved to Minnesota in 2013. It has been such a wonderful and motivating group of ladies!
Q: Tell us a little about your family, other interests, etc.
Krista: I am married to Chris and have three girls: Whitney (turns 9 in July), Rosemary (5.5) and Lydia (3.5). We have three cats. I work as the Marketing Operation Manager for Independent Pet Partners, the parent company of Chuck & Don’s Food & Supplies.
Cari: I am married to my wonderful husband Dan, and a mom to two beautiful daughters. My girls are 8 and almost 2. I love spending time with my family, as well as running and hiking, and my church community. I am also a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Minnesota — and just received tenure! It is my dream job and I am really grateful to be in academia, research, and education.
Q: From your own points of view, tell us about your adoption story and how you each connected personally at Moms on the Run.
Krista: During my second pregnancy, we found out that my body lost the ability to effectively hold in babies. I was placed on bedrest for 13 weeks and had a small – but healthy – baby. We decided adoption would be our best option for a third child. After exploring all options, we decided on international adoption and eventually, India. In January 2017, we picked up 14-month-old Lydia from an orphanage in Mumbai, India.
[Cari and I met when] Cari began running with the Shoreview group a few years ago. We run similar paces so had lots of time to bond on the trails. Cari and I are not only working mothers but also have third-grade girls (who are friends at school). The Dutchers are all genuinely good, caring people.
Cari: Dan and I begin to explore adoption when our oldest biological daughter was around four or five years old. We attended several different workshops and asked a lot of questions, but for me, it really was not until I was able to see Krista go through the journey of adoption — and to hear her weekly updates while out on a run — that I really began to understand what it involved and how to get started. Krista put us in contact with the agency that her family used, and we began the journey ourselves in May 2017. We completed our home study around Thanksgiving of 2017, matched with our daughter April of 2018, and brought her home December 2018. She is doing great, and we are so happy and grateful.
Q: Any highlights or wisdom gained from that experience?
Krista: First, it reinforced how amazing MOTR is. My chapter brought me Let’s Dish when I was on bedrest, set up a meal train for me post-adoption, and jumped in to help after I broke my foot. About adoption: I’ve learned that stress and loss at an early age transforms how a child’s brain is wired, the kids in most need of homes are older and/or have special needs, and that adopted kids aren’t “lucky” (they were supposed to be raised by their biological parents; I’m my daughter’s Plan B). I’ve also learned I’m stronger and capable of more than I thought; the world is a beautiful place, even in its darkest corners; and that it is possible to love a child not from your womb as much as one from it.
Cari: It took about 7 months from our match to travel, and I am beyond grateful for Krista's friendship and support during that time. She understood exactly how excruciating the waiting process was, and checked in with me regularly. The day before we flew out, Krista came over to give me a gift. It was a bracelet that says "I can do hard things." I wore it every day. When we brought our sweet girl home, Krista set up a meal train that lasted two months. Many of the folks that brought meals were the women from MOTR and their families. We felt very loved by everyone.
Q: Discuss training and motivation for running.
Krista: I started running when I was 14. It helps with fitness, stress and socialization.
Three weeks after we brought home our daughter, I was so sleep deprived that I fell and broke my foot. I’ve also dealt with various running injuries over the years.
Cari: The processes of adoption and tenure occupied much of my mental and emotional bandwidth for over a year, and running was not a focus for me during that time. I mostly continued with MOTR for the friendships, encouragement, and support. They journeyed with me through both. I promised myself that once my baby girl was home and things settled, I would again incorporate some fitness and nutrition goals in my life. I started training for Goldy's in the first week of January, a full 14 weeks out. I created a plan and (aggressively) stuck to it, and began to see real gains in my fitness and run times after about a month. I was also doing MOTR Polar Club, which helped me get in my weekly long runs. Goldy's went well (it is a surprising tough and hilly course, by the way!), and I am now signed up for a several 5Ks, as well as a half marathon in August. It has been fun to push myself, and great to have a community that is adaptive to my evolving goals.