Adoption = Love

coupleToday marks a very special day in our family, the anniversary of our oldest grandchild’s adoption into our family.

While seven of our grandkids are aged seven and younger, Andrew is an amazing young man who has already married a lovely young woman. My wife and I are terribly proud of the path he is on, which has taken him to Japan, where he is promoting peace as a member of the United States Air Force.

While we all naturally love children physically “born into” our families, there is a singular affection—a consciously chosen and active love—we extend to those we adopt.

Delores and I seriously investigated international adoption during my assignment to Korea in the late eighties. Unfortunately, the doors closed, and it was not to be. We believe strongly in the importance and delight of adoption.

Although adoptions bring a few unique challenges to the family mix, there is no stress free recipe for parenting. Every successful formula involves a number of the same ingredients. Among them, patience and forgiveness need to be poured out in considerable quantity.

I wish to commend each of you readers who have adopted a child, or helped others to do so. And I also pray for God’s blessing upon each of you who are foster parents.

Finally, I offer a prayer for each of you who are, yourself, adopted. May your relationship with your parents fulfill all of the hopeful dreams that were held by all on the day that you entered your “new” family.

C.S. Lewis knew a great deal about adoption. He recognized how ill-prepared he was to become a step-father and ultimately a widowed single parent. In a 1957 letter he wrote:

I have married a lady suffering from cancer. I think she will weather it this time: after that, life under the sword of Damocles. Very little chance (not exactly none) of a permanent escape. I acquire two schoolboy stepsons. My brother and I have been coping with them for their Christmas holidays. Nice boys, but gruelling work for 2 old bachelors! I’m dead tired now.

In his biography, Jack’s Life, Douglas Gresham, one of those “nice boys,” described the situation after the death of his mother, Joy.

Jack also had a new responsibility to take care of, two teenage stepsons, each presenting the typical problems associated with growing up, though each in his own unique way. As was typical of the man he had become, Jack did everything he could to help these two young men. He knew all too well from his own life’s experiences how difficult their lives had been and tried hard to do the best he could for them.

A closing thought, as we all return to our other tasks and diversions. Christians see themselves as adopted. While all humanity is created in the wondrous image of God, entrance into the community of faith, the family of God, comes through faith in his only begotten Son. Because of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, we are able to rightly call God, “Father.”

I’m overjoyed to be adopted into that holy family. And that adoption didn’t occur because I was smart, or handsome, or witty, or praiseworthy in any way. I was adopted solely because of the mercy and love of God.

And that divine adoption provides the perfect model for us to emulate in our world today.

16 thoughts on “Adoption = Love

  1. “I’m overjoyed to be adopted into that holy family. And that adoption didn’t occur because I was smart, or handsome, or witty, or praiseworthy in any way. I was adopted solely because of the mercy and love of God.”
    Me too. :)

    Around the same time my nephew was born, my cousin and his wife adopted a little boy! I can’t wait to meet him. :)

  2. We have a daughter we adopted from Korea at age 5 months. We had two biological children before her and one after her. She is our daughter and their sister, no different than the others. In fact, once when I was telling stories to the teenaged kids as to what degree they had made me sick while I was pregnant with them, I turned to her and said, “I don’t remember being sick with you.” When she said that maybe it was because I didn’t give birth to her, it was a “Duh!” moment! I had actually forgotten!

    1. What fun. That’s precisely how I believe it should be in all adoptive families. Easier, admittedly, when the kids join our families as infants. But, the ideal still, in all circumstances.

      God is so creative in the way that he fashions families. It’s sad how little most of us appreciate that blessing.

    1. I’m so very sorry that your adoption experience was so traumatic. I wish you had been protected from what must have seemed hellish pain. Despite my many faults, I assure you I am not the devil… and what’s far more important… God is precisely the opposite of that. He’s the loving, forgiving, merciful and healing Father who is big enough to accept your anger and and rage and love you even more.

  3. Di Saunders

    Wow you’ve covered all angles of adoption. It might have been nice to be adopted into your family … Who knows? You rightly point out God’s metaphor of adoption – something I will look at to draw out what sorts of parents make good adopters. As an Adoptee who discovered the secrecy of my adoption at 43 and as a struggling Christian, I must believe that God delights in my uniqueness and identity, keen to see what I will do with the creativity and talents He has given me – I am not that a commodity and He diesn’t need me to make Him happy … Just that He delights on us. My adoption into His family was for me. From this you may be able to guess what sort of parents I had. The sad part is that my lack of attachment to my parents has affected my ability to relate horizontally and vertically, with ‘man’ and God. My faith and mostly God’s grace keeps me there even if I don’t feel it. God bless

    1. Di, thank you for your very open response to the post. I’m sorry that your home wasn’t what it should have been. I know it’s small comfort, but I think it could help people in your situation to remember that many of us who grew up in “biologically-intact” families experienced similar shortcomings. My own alcoholic father was often remote and sometimes emotionally abusive. I don’t know what would have become of me if I didn’t have a loving Christian mother.

      Like you, I know in God a loving, open-armed Father (think of the story of the prodigal son). I never experienced any confusion between the shortcoming of my earthly dad and my heavenly Father… but I’m quite aware that some do. (Fortunately, there was never any physical or sexual abuse in my own situation.) I won’t pretend to know that it is like to have to move beyond that.

      But this I do know–God heals. He is the Great Physician, and if when we yield our hearts, minds and souls to his care, he begins to bind our wounds and mend our crushed spirits.

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