This might seem like a question with an obvious answer. But sometimes, stating the obvious is a good thing.
For us, the call to adopt was heard relatively late in life. In fact, it was about the time we’d decided we were done growing our family the biological way. Yes, we’d told God we were His, and surrendered our plans to Him, but no more kids, m’kay?
Adoption was not even on our radar.
Almost 10 years later, we have adopted 7 children from China. Our beautiful brood has grown from 4 to 11. The Lord has done a mighty big work in our little family.
But why? Why are some of us called to adopt?
When we accept Christ as our Savior, He calls us to join Him in His story of redemption. In fact, Jesus tells us to “Go…” For each of us that is a unique directive, and for some of us, that is adoption. And when God calls us to adopt, I can testify… He can use it to transform us in a big way.
1. For the orphan. This might seem painfully obvious, but oh my, does the Lord do an amazing work in the life of a once-orphaned-but-now-beloved-
2. For you. This might not be quite so obvious, but I would say that adoption is just as much for you as it is for your child. When God chooses those He wants to be His hands and feet on behalf of the fatherless, He already knows our hearts. And although you already (obviously!) know the Lord, He isn’t done with you yet. And nothing can change your heart for the Father like adoption. Just as He has been loving, merciful and full of grace toward us, we get to do the same – to a complete stranger. A small complete stranger, but a stranger all the same. And experiencing how the Lord uses you to lavishly love this child is a tangible reminder of how lavishly He loves you – even before you were His. He is the perfect, loving and good-gift-giving Father. And He will use the mountaintop experiences of the adoption journey as well as the valley experiences to draw you closer to Him. Just be sure to keep your eyes open and your heart soft by staying close to Him, because these brushes with the Lord will change you from the inside out.
3. For your family. This might have some of y’all scratching your head. But I’m sticking by it – it has been an incredible truth that I might have missed if we had adopted only once. But adoption will completely change the hearts of your other children. We had 4 biological children, aged 2 to 14, at the time God called us to adopt. And I can’t even begin to imagine who they would be without having experienced the beauty, the heartbreak, and the joy that adoption brings. Our children from China all have special needs and to watch the heart of a 10-year-old boy completely turned over because of his love for his physically challenged sister is something that changed me – just by witnessing it. In a recent candid discussion with two of my boys (12 and 14) I asked, “What would our family be like if we had never adopted?” Of course, I hadn’t really intended on asking that question and once those words were out I immediately began to think of their possible perspective: vacations missed, the huge no-frills van we drive, fewer gifts on holidays, less time with mom and dad. But they both replied in unison, “Our family would be so boring!“ Only God can change hearts like that.
4. For a watching world. This goes for those inside the church and outside the church. Because adoption is a picture of the Gospel being walked out by busted-up people simply following after a perfect God. He uses us, despite us, to care for the least of these and bring glory to Himself in the process. Of course, this doesn’t mean you’ll be embraced by a watching world – in fact, expect be excluded by some – but you can be sure the Lord will use your family as a walking testimony of how He redeems, repairs and rescues His children. That includes the grown-up children, too. And know that you won’t see most of what He does in the hearts of those who are touched by your family’s obedience to the call of adoption, but trust that He is using your story for His perfect purpose.
5. For Him. Ultimately, God calls us to adopt for Him. It’s His heart that beats and breaks for the orphan, the lost, and the lonely. And it is only because He calls us, equips us and sustains us that we are able to fulfill His purposes. And I believe He delights in transforming His children into the likeness of His Son along the way.
So if you are called to adopt, count yourself greatly blessed. As bearers of the Good News, called to adoption, we get to participate in His magnificent plan to redeem what this broken world has trampled on. What a merciful and loving God we serve. And if the journey gets difficult – and it will – just remember it’s His thing, this orphan care movement. And He will finish what He has started. Because these children are His beloved.
We are all His beloved.
And when we obey the call and join Him in His story we realize this is what we were made for. We were made for so much more than serving our selves and pursuing our dreams (just 4 kids and an early retirement, please). Instead, He comes down, changes our hearts and changes our dreams. And His plan is so. much. better.
Our God sacrificed Himself for the joy of knowing that we would be free to live for Him, through Him and with Him. May it be our deepest desire to do so.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:1-2