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.