It always amuses me when people find out that I am adopted. I don’t know why, but they seem unable to find adequate words. As if they aren’t sure if it is a blessing or a curse to be the adoptee. I inwardly chuckle a bit to watch them fumble over non-committal phrases like, “oh, really? Interesting.” But what they don’t understand is that being adopted is a good thing. Yes, there is pain involved, but on the whole, it is wonderful.
I was not a kid from a foreign country, impoverished, starving, and left in an orphanage – although I know a few families who adopted kids out of such circumstances. I am amazed at the lengths some couples will go through to essentially rescue kids in these circumstances. But I cannot speak from this point of view. No, I was a just a kid born out-of-wedlock whose biological father wanted absolutely nothing to do with her. Yeah, I went through some struggles coming to terms with being rejected by someone who is supposed to love you unconditionally. I have never met him, nor do I want to. I know how to find him, but I have no desire. I used to think about it a lot and debated doing so, but what little I do know about him told me that it would bring about more harm than good.
But there is another reason I don’t seek to meet that person – my father. My mom met my dad when I was really young. He’s the man who taught me how to ride a bike, fish, check my oil, shoot a gun, cheered me on at graduation, walked me down the aisle… all of those great things dads are supposed to do. And when I was 12, he adopted me. I have never needed any connection to some unknown father because this one loves me as if I am his own flesh and blood.
Fast-forward ten years and I found myself having a child out-of-wedlock. Her father was in and out of the picture, but mostly out. She longed to have a daddy like the other kids in school and my heart ached for my daughter because I understood what she was feeling. I met my husband when she was seven. My husband loves to tell the story of how she captured his heart the first time they met because she climbed right up on his lap and the first thing she said to him was, “will you be my daddy?” My daughter’s adoption was finalized last summer. It is a beautiful thing to be chosen. It is beautiful to be loved so much that someone scoops you up and says I already know your flaws and faults and weaknesses and I still want you to be my child.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Those of us who have been adopted probably have the best understanding of what it means to be adopted into the family of God. The joy of being able to call someone “Abba” who was not our daddy and have them respond lovingly to that name!
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Romans 8:14-16
Adoptees also know what it feels like to be rejected by the natural parent, yet chosen in love.
If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. John 15:19
For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you… 1 Thessalonians 1:4
Adoptees know what it means to be selected for sonship / daughtership.
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. Ephesians 1:4-6
You see, being adopted means you never forget that this parent could have chosen someone else. They didn’t have an obligation to take you under their wing; they wanted to. They had the opportunity to get to know you before making the decision to graft you into their life. Natural adoption is a beautiful symbol of how God grafts us into his family and He tells each of us I already know your flaws and faults and weaknesses and I still want you to be my child.
So the next time you encounter someone who has been adopted, respond with joy. It is an amazing experience to be chosen.
Do you have an adoption story you would like to share? I’d love to hear how adoption has impacted your life.
Abide in His Grace,