Is today the day that is going to change your life forever?

We all have experienced such defining days, those days that we’ll remember forever. Maybe it’s a special life event. Maybe it’s a shattering tragedy. Maybe this defining day will come and go and you won’t even know it.

June 16th, 2012 was such a day for me and my family.

I was living in Meridian, Idaho and preparing to race in the Ironman World Championship that fall. My family was happy and healthy, and I loved my career in financial planning. 

But on that same day, on the other side of the world in the city of Tianjin, China, a mother faced what I can only imagine was the most difficult decision of her life; to take her baby to a busy section of this already bustling city and leave him there alone. Anything could happen to him. She must have known she would likely never see her son again, never even find out what happened.

Why did she do it? We’ll never know. Many parents in China have to leave a child this way, hoping the right person will come along. We like to think this mother loved her son and that she believed he would be found and given a better life than she could provide. And ultimately that is what happened.

That little baby was found in the early morning hours of June 16th. There was no identification and no way to know who this child was. The authorities were called, and he was taken to an orphanage. At the orphanage, the staff looked him over and found him in good health. They guesstimated his age at around six months. He had Down syndrome.

Fate was put into motion that day, as the paths of a young family from Idaho and a little baby begin to move ever so slowly towards one another. 

Our family adopted Cooper in 2016 when he was four years old. He truly is the life of the party in the Murray household and the source of much joy. It’s hard to imagine our life without his enthusiasm and willingness to try anything and everything. Hugs are plentiful when Cooper is around. 

But that being said, our experience in adopting Cooper has not been all “sunshine and rainbows”. In being totally transparent, there are days we wonder what exactly have we gotten ourselves into. Cooper’s abandonment and adoption has been life-defining, not just because of the good it brought all of us but also because of the bad—it’s how we have chosen to embrace both the good and the bad and enjoy the journey that has been the source of our greatest joy. 

In your day-to-day journeys, you will experience the bumps and bruises of life. Some of these adventures will have a sad ending and some will end how all my favorite movies end—with smiles and beautiful sunsets.

Enjoy these experiences and be thankful for the days that are defining. 


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