As human beings, we tend to surround ourselves with things that represent who we are, express our hopes and desires, and share our stories. We are very social beings, and while we love the fact that God created us with such diversity, we also tend to search for people who share at least some of the characteristics and passions we find so unique about ourselves. And for most of us, this is a relatively easy thing to do. In our weekly community group meetings, for example, I am surrounded by people who are entirely different from me yet hold a significant number of similarities. Cameron, like me, is a middle school teacher. Laura and Aubrey are my counterpart introverts. Luke enjoys fishing more than I do. Sam is a fellow worship leader. Karly shares a deep desire to help others. Alexis is expecting her first baby as well. But even if we didn’t have any of these factors in common, at the end of the day, we are all there to profess Jesus is our lord and king, which is enough to unite even the most estranged personality types.
It is important to note that our community group meetings are not the only times we meet throughout the week. We are incredibly entrenched in one another’s lives. When Jesus talks about his disciples, whom he lived closely with during his time here on earth, he refers to them as “the people [God] gave me” (John 17:6). These are the people God gave me, and I am grateful that he chose people who share so much in common with me, but also who constantly help me grow not into their likeness but into the woman God intends me to be.
When I look at the blessing of community and shared understanding I have with these friends, I wonder if my child, whose story is so unique, will have difficulty finding people who will understand the complexities of what it means to be adopted. I’m sure he will find dozens of people who share his taste in music, his favorite hobbies, and his beliefs, but I’ve begun praying, even now, for people who have seen, experienced, or understand adoption to play a central role in his social life.
I hope he has someone to call when his high school biology teacher assigns the dreaded heredity project. I hope he has someone he can talk to when people become intrusive about his birth parents. I hope he will find people to intervene when strangers ask if his parents have given him permission to ride home with me in the carpool lane—again.
The good news is that while it may take time to find the right people who I know God will faithfully insert into Desi’s life, there are several individuals in scripture who have experienced adoption first hand, and have quite a story to share. I look forward to sharing these stories with Desi, as he will have an insider’s view on what it means for God to have chosen to work through them even though their lives were born into unpleasant circumstances.
The first example is Moses. Although his mother loved him very much, she knew that keeping him would lead to his death at the hand of the pharaoh. Instead, she placed him in a basket in the reeds along the Nile, where the daughter of the pharaoh found him, took pity on him, and adopted him into the royal family as a Prince of Egypt. Later we learn that Moses’s adoption made him uniquely qualified to approach the pharaoh later in his life to demand that he release his bondage over the people of God.
Esther, one of my favorite people to study, was orphaned at an extremely young age due to her parents’ death. Her cousin, Mordecai, adopted her as his own daughter and raised her in such a way that she became the queen of Persia. Like Moses, her royal edge is what enabled God to use her as the intervention against the genocide of her Jewish people. This story climaxes with what is perhaps one of my favorite scriptures of all time, Esther 4:14, which says, “If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?”
And finally, the man we all know and love, Jesus. Yes, believe it or not, Jesus was adopted by his earthly father, Joseph. We was not biologically related to Joseph, and yet, he was accepted and raised as his own in order to fulfill a covenant promise which was made many, many generations before Jesus’ time to a man named Abraham. Genesis 12:2 states a promise God made to Abraham that the savior of the world would be one of his descendants. It says, “I will bless you . . . so that you will be a blessing . . . and in you shall all the families of the earth be blessed” (18:18; 22:18). When we skip from the first book of the Old Testament to the first book of the New Testament, we see this covenant played out in Matthew 1 which shows the genealogy of Jesus. It starts all the way back at Abraham and lists the 42 generations of the family tree which ends with verse 16 which says, “Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Mary gave birth to Jesus, who is called the Messiah.” Many people use this verse to rip apart the Christian faith stating that Jesus wasn’t biologically the son of Joseph, therefore he was not the fulfillment of the covenant made to Abraham. If we wanted to get super technical about it, we could discuss how Mary is actually a descendant of Abraham as well, but the point I’d rather focus on is the permanence, validity, and completion of adoption through God’s eyes. He did not see a problem with fulfilling his covenant through adoption. In his eyes, the adoption of a child is in every way as valid, complete, and official as if Jesus had been biologically born into the family of Abraham.
This story, much more than the others, is what I hope to affirm to little Desi. Yes, he may have been adopted, and yes, his story started so differently than many others, but I can’t shake the feeling that he will taken from Korea to the United States in the year 2017, to prosper and grow in a country where he can freely worship God and one day declare that it was all intended “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14).
Verses to Consider:
See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him. Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. -1 JOHN 3:1-2
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. –JEREMIAH 29:11
Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told. –HABAKKUK 1:5
A Prayer for Your Day:
Lord, I have no idea what plans you have for [child’s name], but I know that you designed adoption and have used it to save your people throughout your word. God, while others may doubt the validity of adoption, thank you that you see it as so complete and perfect that you fulfilled one the greatest covenants of scripture through adoption. Thank you for giving me examples of redemption through your word that I can encourage [child’s name] with and remind [him/her] that your plans for [him/her] will be just as extraordinary if [he/she] should desire to follow after you. I pray that you would rise up people who would surround [child’s name] and help [him/her] grow into your likeness, who will help my child process [his/her] past in times of pain and confusion. While I will do everything in my power to help, I know my abilities will never be enough. God I give [child’s name] to you so that he may belong to you for [his/her] whole life (1 Sam. 1:28), because I know you will be able to provide and instruct when my abilities are not enough. Be with [him/her] today and help me to rest in your provision for [him/her] today.
In Jesus’ name,