On October 20th of 2016 we brought a three and a half year old girl into our family to be our daughter. The adoption of this sweet little one is more than the fulfillment of a dream.
It’s a calling birthed from conviction and love.
Very early in our marriage, even before any biological children, God made his heart for adoption clear to us through His Word. As we prayed, He confirmed that it was the path that our family would take one day.
Psalm 68:5 “Father of the fatherless and protector of widows
is God in his holy habitation.”
James 1:27 “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”
Such a decision has to be based on concrete things, otherwise, when it doesn’t feel much like a dream, when children defy the good desires that their parents have for them, when the trauma involved with adoption and parenting rears it head, we would give up.
Lord, lead us to the Rock that is higher than we are; higher than the struggle and the fear.
Unlike a good dream where one hopes it never ends, the truth is that it may not always feel that way. There may be days when tiredness gets the best of us, and physical and spiritual fatigue leave my wife and I sitting on the couch at the end of the day feeling stuck and wishing in fact that it would end.
But God will meet us in that place. We will look each other in the eyes and remind each other that this is God’s work, not ours. It’s His calling on our lives. We cannot do this in our own strength.
I’m here to say that we didn’t pursue adoption because it sounded fun or heroic, or to make a statement. We went down this long road because at the core of the Gospel is a Father’s heart for orphaned souls.
God sought me before I ever knew He was coming for me. He knew my name, my time of birth, my whole life story, including my sin and the sin of my ancestors, and yet, He still ran to me in His perfect timing. He showered His grace upon me and said, “You’re mine. I died for you. I purchased you. I’ve adopted you as my own and no matter what you do I’m never going to leave you…ever.”
The Father endured more for me than I can possibly imagine. He sacrificed His only Son. Now, through faith in Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection I am adopted as a son forever. I am sealed with the promise of the indwelling Spirit.
Just as this assures me of His steadfast love each day, I want all my children to come to the end of each day and know that I will be there again for them tomorrow, and every day that I’m alive, to greet them with enduring mercy jusy as my Father does for me.
It’s my God-given job, with my wife, to show this to them; to teach them God’s enduring love. I long for that love, and pray, even beg, that the Spirit would give it to me daily and make it reality. I want the Father’s adopting-love ingrained into the very fabric of my thinking so that I return again and again to the truth that God in His grace found me and saved me and will never leave me. I was dead in my sins. I was poor, blind and destitute. I was spiritually orphaned. I had no way to rescue myself from my sin, but He reached down with loving arms and gave everytging to rescue me when I needed Him most.
So, why sign up for this? Why should anyone sign up for this battle of parenting, adopting, fostering, teaching, training and leading children?
Because it’s what God does every day.
Jesus loves the little children, but not every child in this world feels loved right now. Some may never experience it and Satan would like to keep it that way. I want my life to show that they belong to Jesus and not to this world.
And you don’t have to adopt in order to do that. You just have to be changed by and committed to the grace of God, and let it permeate you heart, your home and all your decisions.
Our adoption/parenting story is not the same as everyone’s. And it may not be a dream come true all the time, but it is a miracle. Each one of my kids is a miracle. Each one of them is another way God is filling us with His joy. It’s a long road of redemption, discipleship and sanctification, the fruit of which will likely not be seen until later, but it’s worth the wait. And God’s patience through His Spirit is available to us through Christ to help us with this gospel work.
My children belong to the Lord. And as long as their lives are under our care, I want them to feel safe, secure and loved. I pray that they would know with deep assurance that neither we, nor their Father in Heaven, will ever leave them or forsake them no matter what.