Derek Dupuis, Lifeline Adoptive Dad and R(un) for One Runner
(un)adopted®, Lifeline Children’s Services’ international orphan care ministry, exists to reach orphaned and vulnerable children with the hope of the gospel and the life skills needed to bring about community transformation. By empowering the local church and community to care for the fatherless, (un)adopted seeks to holistically care for these children in their physical, emotional, spiritual, and social needs. Through partnerships in Colombia, Guatemala, Peru, the Dominican Republic, China, Pakistan, Togo, Liberia, and Uganda, (un)adopted is seeing lives transformed through one child, one famil,y and one community at a time. One of our biggest events that helps to ensure this ministry continues is the annual R(un) for One 5K and Fun Run. The sixth annual R(un) for One is quickly approaching and this year it will be held on August 19th in Birmingham, Alabama; Mount Pleasant, South Carolina; Belmont, North Carolina; Topeka, Kansas; Pensacola, Florida; and anywhere else your feet may run.
Hear how the R(un) for One played a role in the hearts of the Dupuis family, one of Lifeline’s adoptive families:
Hope. Anyone who is trying something new or taking a leap of faith has to cling to the belief that he will get where he is trying to go, whether that is a life transformation, a new career venture, or expanding one’s family. I had my first real cling-to-hope moment when I was a freshman in college and began taking steps to lose weight. I remember the first shirt I bought that was a size smaller because I hoped it would eventually fit. With some hard work, it did fit one day. Running was a large part of my weight loss journey—and I use that word because I lost more than 100 pounds in 18 months and have kept it off for more than a decade—because even when I couldn’t run a mile, I could run a block with the hope that I would be able to run farther.
Running was largely a family activity in our house at the time, as my mom and sister were both avid runners. I will never forget the first 5K we all ran together; I thought I was going to die before I crossed that finish line. After I survived that first race, I always brought that hope with me to the finish line that I would indeed survive and post a better time than the race before. Once I really began taking my running seriously, I fell in love with the sport, knowing I could get my frustrations out on the pavement and spend some time alone with Christ. There is truly nothing like seeing a beautiful sunrise as He is speaking words of truth into your heart; it kind of keeps your mind off the gallons of sweat pouring from your body.
When my wife, Rebekah, and I began to talk about adoption, we were drawn to Lifeline Children’s Services by referrals of family friends. We attended an informational meeting in the summer of 2014 and learned some of the specifics of our process, which would begin the following spring, after we had been married for three years.
We also learned about the annual R(un) for One and I knew I wanted to sign up immediately. The run benefits (un)adopted, Lifeline’s international orphan care ministry. Rebekah asked if I wanted her to complete the race as well, and I, of course, said, “YES!” We walked that trail (with all of those terrifying hills) and prayed for our future family, for the safety and health of our birth mother, and for our child, who we were hoping the Lord would grant us. In a selfish way, I prayed that the Lord would grant me a child who would love the jogging stroller and would want to keep running with Dad one day. It was truly a sweet time of fellowship and spiritual renewal that morning.
The year that we filed our adoption paperwork, I was unable to participate in the race because of another race I was running that night out of state, but we still followed the event from afar. This was a time in my life when I was feeling particularly hopeless as we waited and waited for things to progress in our adoption. But those are the times in our lives when the Father brings the most growth. I saw my relationship with Him deepened in so many ways as I learned to rely completely on Him and not on my own strength or ability. He challenged me daily to put my hope in Him. At home, we continued our daily prayers for our birth mother, for our future child, and for our hearts as we waited.
We got the call that would forever change our lives on April 11, 2016, and I was filled with so much joy. My running buddy was finally here; I would get to meet him in three days! When he was able to ride in the jogging stroller—that had been carefully tested in store and possibly taken for some practice runs in the neighborhood, weighed down by produce—I knew that our first race as a duo had to be the R(un) for One—a race that raises funds for children, who like my son before we met him, are alone and without a family.
My mom came in from out of town, and we were able to spend time together and rejoice over the faithfulness of the Father. It was such a joyous morning, as we were able to share this gift we had been given with our Lifeline family who had been with us every step of the way. My son, as always, enjoyed the race immensely; I can hardly wait for the year when we will get to run the race together. Throughout our race last year, I prayed for our birth mother by name, for my son to grow to know the Lord at an early age, and that God would receive glory upon glory for the things he has done for our family—for He is our hope.