I have been hearing these tear-jerking, heart-wrenching radio commercials lately for a mission team that is forming and preparing to travel to Russia this summer through an organization called Orphan Outreach. Our sweet Emalynn even heard it and cried out “Mama…that is so sad! They are finding newborn babies in dumpsters!” It just makes my heart ache to know there are so many children out there who are abandoned and don’t have parents or a family and loving, caring homes. When I look at our children and pray over them I am heartbroken that there are children just like ours in every nation of the world who don’t have anyone to pray over them daily. This is one reason why when I hear that a family is going to adopt a child I am overcome with absolute joy and admiration.
There is another reason why adoption is so very near and dear to my heart. At the age of 10 the man I grew up calling my dad officially adopted me. He met my mom when I was 2 months old and they were married 8 months later. I obviously don’t ever remember a time when he was not a part of my life. I don’t ever remember a time we were not a family. Nothing made me more furious than when someone called him my “step-dad” because it was just blatantly not true…we were not ever, are not, and will never be just an “insta-family”. He always was, is, and always will be my dad…bottom line! Why did he choose to make it legal, spend all of the insane amounts of money, go through all of the hassle of paperwork and home studies and interviews and hearings when it wouldn’t really “change anything” in terms of how we lived…after all…I was going to be considered an adult 8 years later anyway? Many asked those questions. He didn’t do it for recognition or out of obligation or just because God told him to…he simply did it because he loves me. Did he have to? No…he wanted to. My mom and I weren’t merely a “package deal”. It meant so much more that he waited until I was old enough to ask my permission to adopt me than if he would’ve just gone and done it when I was young and unaware because it speaks volumes about his character and what it meant to him to call me his daughter. I can’t ever repay him for his loving, selfless acceptance of me as his own…except to love him as my dad…because he is…bottom line!
I had been a Christian for several years before I realized I had actually been adopted twice. Once in a legal sense and once in the spiritual sense. I had always referred to God my Heavenly Father but I didn’t realize I had literally been adopted and became His child when I accepted Jesus as my Savior. For someone who has an adoration for adoption it was a really cool realization for me. Just like my dad didn’t have to adopt me…God didn’t have to send His Son to die for my sins so that I could be saved. Jesus didn’t die for me out of obligation or for recognition or just because God told Him to…He did it because He loves me more than I can ever possibly imagine. Just like I can never repay my dad, I can never repay the debt to the Lord Jesus for His gracious and merciful payment on the cross for my sins except to love Him with all of my heart, with all of my soul, and with all of my mind.
When I hear amazing stories about how God orchestrated bringing families and children together it brings me so much joy for them and overwhelming thankfulness for the unconditional love and acceptance from my earthly and Heavenly Fathers alike. Adoption, both legally and spiritually has made my life so wonderful! I pray many more families hear the call from the Lord that He wants them to adopt the child He has chosen for them out there somewhere. And I pray that all of those who don’t know God as their Heavenly Father will choose…just like my dad gave me the decision to allow him to adopt me…just as God gave me the decision to accept Jesus as my Savior…to be adopted by Him through the blood of His precious Son, Jesus. The word gratitude can only begin to express the way I feel about both of my adoptions…both on earth and for all eternity…because I don’t even want to think about where I would be without either of them.