A few years ago, I was involved with two families who had recently adopted little girls - one from Russia and one from China. I had the privilege of being able to baptize one of these little girls and welcome her to the family of God. As we gathered at the front of the Church and prayed together, I was reminded that adoption is a process that is so dear to the heart of God.
"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 to be adopted as his sons 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
In Ephesians 1, Paul uses adoption language to describe our relationship with God. As I reflect on the Apostle's words and my own brushes with families who have adopted, I am reminded of the following based on the scripture above.
- We are loved before we know we are loved! Each of the families that I am connected with has been in the adoption process for a long time – in one case, longer than the child has been alive! Even while the children were born into difficult places and difficult circumstances there were people a long way away who loved them deeply. This is the story of Jesus.
- He chose us to be holy. The places where we were bought up, our 'old home', were not the nicest. There were struggles, and pain, and – certainly for us – sin. God saw the poverty of where we were living and wanted to bring us to a world of prosperity. Not a financial prosperity, but a spiritual prosperity. The families in adoption have shown great courage to not let those caught in poverty stay in poverty. There are millions more that need adopting out of spiritual poverty.
- Jesus takes us from the old to the new. In a spiritual sense, it is Jesus who places us in a new family - God's family. Adoptive parents endure great pain, offer great sacrifice and take great risk to incorporate a new child in their family. Jesus does the same.
- God is familiar with difficult transitions! Both sets of families that I know who have recently adopted have had some 'readjustment' struggles with the children they have adopted. Behavioral, relational and trust issues seem to be common place. In the same way, as we are being transformed and absorbed into God's family we often have the same issues. Our heavenly Father is full of grace and patient with us.
- Adoption gives Him great pleasure. Despite some of the trauma of transitioning a new child into a new family, adopting a child brings great pleasure and pride. Knowing that things will be forever different, deeper and richer provides a joy that few other things can match.
I am grateful for adoptive families, they deserve our prayers. I am grateful for an adoptive Heavenly Father, He deserves my praise.