Thursday, July 26, 2012

Five Minutes

It took over five minutes for Aaron to swim across the pool last Wednesday in his first swim meet.

Five long, tear-filled minutes.

How can I capture those minutes into words?

Our little Aaron.  

With a list a mile long of all the things he can't do.

Swimming in his first swim meet.

Completely at ease.  With the biggest grin on his face..

..and with his dimples shining the entire length of the pool.

His coach swimming beside him and quietly cheering him on the entire way.

I'm not one who tends to cry in public but for those five minutes - I wasn't just crying - I was coughing up full fledged sobs as I watched my little guy happily inching along.

It was surreal to watch him and listen to the hundreds and hundreds of people lining the pool all the way around...several people deep.


Screaming and yelling and cheering over one little boy who was going oh so very fast in his mind.

Cheering him on as he gallantly swam.

Five long scream-filled minutes.

Tears flowed as he made his way to the end.

Not just me.  Not just Rob.

But all over the place people were crying.  Watching.  Cheering.

Words do not do those five minutes justice.

When he reached the end and his little head touched the wall... when everyone screamed like he had won....

Yelling as if his was not the slowest race of the night..

Yelling as if what he had done was amazing beyond belief..

Yelling as if it was all that mattered...

Yelling for one little boy who has gone through so much ... who has endured so much... lost so much...

One little boy who inspired a crowd for those five minutes..

It was all I could to do keep from going to complete pieces.

To not want to jump up on a podium and yell out to all those cheering - to tell them where he had been - what he has overcome - what he left behind.  

My heart burned because even though all of those people were cheering him on, most did not even know his story.  They had no idea where he spent the first six years of his life.  They had no clue that for a year he sat in a shed passing the time by drawing pictures in the dirt around him.

They had no idea, yet his swim brought people to the edge of that pool and they yelled like there was no tomorrow... both teams... rivals to the core.. two coaches shaking hands over one very brave little boy.


I cried in the arms of a friend after it was over.  Cried tears of joy and tears of sorrow.  Sobbing out to her all the gut-wrenching thoughts and feelings I experienced as I watched him swim.  Remembering.  Remembering.  Grieving.  Rejoicing.  All wrapped up in one little swim by the bravest little guy I know.

Oh to think that fear of the unknown almost held us back from adopting such a treasure!

To think that if we had said no, the world would never have known the amazing and wonderful Aaron Vanya Nalle.


  1. OH MY WORD! That is SO moving! Well done Aaron! What a testament to the power of LOVE! Thank you!

  2. I just have chills running up and down my arms and legs and a goofy grin on my face! Way to Aaron! You are AWESOME! I just love all the people surrounding the pool to watch! These moments are what life is and love. Thanks for sharing such a cool moment!

  3. You really are trying to kill me, aren't you? Drown me in my own tears? What a sweet, beautiful boy.

    1. You need to wear a life jacket when you read blog posts now Katie!

  4. I'm in tears reading this. Thankful you stepped out in faith and thankful to see how God is still working in and through his story!


  5. Way to Go, Aaron!!! You are a SUPERSTAR!!! I see medals in your future! There is nothing you cannot do. Hope to read more about you.

  6. Thank you for sharing that story! I love how infectious Aaron's smile is. People seem to fall in love with him whether they know his story or not.

    As for thinking of the unthinkable and it bringing you to tears, I had one of those moments the other night while I watched Zeb dancing in the living room with his siblings. Then doing a sumersault. I held back tears just thinking of where he would be if.

    Praising God with you for lives redeemed!

  7. You can just add 1 more person who is sobbing at watching that little brave boy in pictures make his goal. All I can say is "God is good". Thank you for being obedient to His great call so the rest of us can learn so much.

  8. Beautiful beyond words! Having read the story of where he came from, I am in awe and tears. Way to go, Aaron, and mama!

  9. Julia,

    Tears here. What an amazing story. The pictures of the crowd just bring big lumps in my throat. I think you need to have business cards with a blog link specifically to the story of where Aaron has been and what he's accomplished! You could hand them out at events like this!!! I know what it's like to be part of a miracle, although mine has a completely different beginning and end. It really is difficult to explain when you've been part of something so much bigger than yourself, isn't it? My little miracle reminds me to push forward and do more, do more, and then do even more for these kids. I'm so very proud to know you.

    Sue H.

  10. Oh Julia, They were yelling and cheering because what he was doing WAS amazing beyond belief, and believe me NOTHING mattered more in those 5 minutes than what Aaron was accomplishing. I read this with tears, and I am not quickly brought to tears. Aaron is an amazing little guy and all of those people got to share in the magic of that moment. He is bringing so many people's hearts together. Go Aaron!

  11. Wow...your words DID do it justice...I'm bawling!
    Thank you so very much for sharing that.
    Aaron is amazing... :)

  12. Tears of joy flowing here in NY. Thank you for sharing this with all of us, Julia. It was such a pleasure getting to spend time with you and Aaron this past week. I've really enjoyed your posts from the D.C. trip.

  13. Incredible. Beautiful. Redemption.

    and your Mothers Love for this boy is beyond touching.


  14. Shoot Julia, I too and holding back the sobs here trying not to become known as the girl who was heard sobbing during lunch hour... What I want to do is stand on my chair and shout in celebration but something tells me that would defy our policy on cubicle etiquette :)

    Aaron's perseverance is an inspiration - he gets that from his Mama.

  15. These pictures with the coach are wonderful. I am crying too. I think you conveyed your collective experience at the swim meet beautifully. How great that both teams got to participate in THIS! Congratulations.

  16. You did a beautiful job on this post. I felt I was right there cheering him on too!! He is one truly amazing and inspiring little guy!!

  17. This is so beautiful. Way to go Aaron!!

  18. You forgot to include the *Get your Kleenex* instructions at the top! Look what the Lord continues to do through your little boy - how many lives he touched that night by unleashing the spirit God created in him! Way to go, Aaron!!

  19. I'm crying, too. Beautiful.

  20. Bucket of tears here :) Thank you Jesus for this precious life.

  21. I'm actually crying- snif...FABULOUS job Aaron! And also- a big thank you to Aaron- for inspiring others to be (if even for only a few moments) the people that God had in mind when he first created us.

  22. Redemption.....nothing is more sweeter and beautiful. Way to go Aaron!

  23. Julia,
    He is such a treasure. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. It made me choke back sobs myself because of what an amazing boy he is, and I can't help but wonder what Laurel will be able to do when given the opportunity. These children, they change us in ways that can't be predicted- thank you for being a light for them!
    In Him,

  24. Teary-eyed here in Kentucky, too...for Aaron's transcendent victory. And for those wonderful, loving, supportive, caring people who cheered him on through their own tears, without fully knowing his story, and for those even more wonderful, loving, supportive caring people who are his family.

    Hurray for Aaron! He's truly jumping into life and making a huge splash whose widening circles will continue to touch and move all whom they reach...

    Susan in Ky
    Cousin to 2 from EE

  25. BEAUTIFUL AMAZING AND WONDERFUL TO SEE!!!! I wish I could have been there screaming and clapping with the rest of them!!!!! GO AARON!!

  26. He looked so relaxed and happy. Was he nervous before? He kept himself going just kicking? I couldn't kick myself the length of a pool! What an awesome triumph.

  27. I think every post about Aaron brings me to tears. I just love seeing all he has become because he is loved and given a chance.

  28. Your account of his swimming triumph is a treasure. This dear little boy is so deserving! I am in awe of the things he is getting to attempt and achieve and, to think that he came close to being a "throwaway". I praise God for His favor and mercy to place him where he can be cherished and encouraged by loving parents and siblings. I look forward to the unfolding story of Aaron! ~ Tharen

  29. I cried just reading about it. Congratulations, Aaron!

  30. Doggon it... My Mascara is running down my face!!!

  31. Blessed, blessed, blessed you are!!!

  32. Amazing! I would have been crying my eyes out too! So glad that you took the leap of faith to adopt Aaron and now you are receiving some amazing blessings.

  33. I predict this post is going to go viral. THIS is WHY. Aaron you inspire all of us!!!!

  34. I am weeping and my nose is running now! I can tell you that TODAY we were submitted! Two older girls will be ours! If you only knew how important these posts are to families! These testimonies are why we know that fear of the unknown... well, it is not something that people just need to get past!!

  35. Born for His pleasure. Adopted for His glory. Living his life to prove that when the King is your Daddy, the world will stand in awe. Thank you for sharing your miracle boy.

  36. Yay Aaron! Good job!

    (Oh my goodness, the tears keep falling...)


  37. Gooo Aaron!! You are an amazing boy!

  38. Way to go Aaron!! I've been waiting for this story ... almost asked you for it ... but knew you'd post it in time!

    Our community swim team has a special needs swimmer that makes me cry at almost every swim meet. Annie is 12 and was born with ACC (agenesis of the corpus collosom). She is going into 6th grade & has been in my Girl Scout troop since 1st grade. I adore this kid and am completely tickled when she talks to me (her ACC presents a lot like autism). Last summer Annie's parents signed her up for swim team, despite the fact that she couldn't swim a lap. The ACC makes it very difficult for her to do different directional motions with her arms & legs; despite this, she has learned to ride a bike and knows the basics of a couple swim strokes.

    Annie has been the best addition to our swim team ever. When she swims, the kids on the team line the pool and cheer for her ... she "swims" a 50-meter stroke in every race due to her age, and for the 3-4 minutes it takes her, she is cheered on the entire way. In one meet this summer, our coach put her in 4 events, including 2 relays. The other girls on her relay team don't mind finishing last every time and last Annie is swimming up the lane to finish her 50-m swim, they stand along the lane lines cheering on her every move.

    From a parent who does not have a special needs child, I appreciate the opportunity for my kids to learn compassion, acceptance, and a host of other character-building traits. As a strong supporter of Annie, myself, I am truly touched by the support shown by the other spectators at the pool, including the competition. At one away meet the summer, the announcer was encouraging the entire crowd to get on their feet and cheer Annie on to the fist ... and it was 105 F that evening!!

    I knew I'd love your story about Aaron's 1st swim meet and I can feel the emotion from the photos and from the similar experiences we have had with Annie. Thanks so much for sharing your amazing boy and his amazing story!!

  39. It is so true that God gives us more than we could ask or imagine. Thank you for once again pointing to HIm. I so wish I would've been there to see Aaron swim...and I know he'll have many, many more moments of victory. Mihret is memorizing right now "I can do all things through HIm who strengthens me." Perfect words for Aaron and all of us. :)

  40. Absolutely sobbed as I read this...I am so happy the Lord gave you guys such a precious gift in swimming but even more blessed that Aaron is your son. The joy as our babes accomplish things we are told they will never accomplish is amazing. The reality that they have had to endure and overcome so much can be overwhelming for sure! So happy for your precious family!!

    Total sidenote: I found your blog through a friend. I have to share that I LOVE your Biblioplan. We used it for our first 6 years...detoured for a couple of years...and I am excited to be using it again this year with my kiddos...I feel like I'm coming home as I pour over my almost 10 year old Biblioplan :) I have often recommended it to other and am thrilled to be going back to what I know helps me better educate my kiddos. Thank blessed to have found your blog. Mine is We've 7 miracle babes (6 through adoption) and are waiting for #8 to be born in December (also through adoption). It's going to be a crazy school year this next year but I can't wait. Many Blessings, stacy

  41. Crying too, Julia. God bless you, sweet Aaron!! <3

  42. Plenty of tears here too! What a wonderful day for all of you, especially Aaron.

  43. I know you are proud. Thank you for saving this precious boy. I don't see our adoption as saving our son, but you truly saved Aaron. You are an awesome mama and a wonderful woman!


Loving words from kind people make our hearts glad!