I confess that I don’t know that much about adoption.
I used to tell my little brother that he was adopted—from the animal shelter. I have reaped the consequences of this in my own sons, as the generational dysfunction marches on.
I remember lying in bed as an angsty teen, wondering what it would feel like to be chosen, wanted, and wishing that I had been adopted; never comprehending that there could be two sides to that coin.
You probably have similar stories.
A few months ago, it seemed as if my Facebook feed was full of “Gotcha Days;” days that the “labor pains” of adoption resulted in the birth of belonging. Days that assured those children would never see the inside of another foster home. Days that ended the fear of an unknown verdict for both parents and children. Days that promised the hope of stability and security. Days that acknowledged redemption.
I looked at the new family pictures, faces filled with so much joy! Parents with a possessive arm around their new little one(s) in a stance that clearly stated, “You are MINE!” For some, the process was a blur, almost sudden, and for others, the fight was long and hard, uphill all the way. I celebrated with them.
It was around that same time that an old internet article came up on an adoption gone wrong. It got me to thinking and I attempted to put myself in the mother’s shoes.
How devastated would I be if a child I adopted, chose, embraced as my own, refused to belong? What if we wanted to go out for some family fun and this child locked his/herself in their room, convinced that they weren’t a part, weren’t deserving of a place in our family? How disappointed I would be after pouring myself out for this child, embracing them as my own flesh and our relationship resulting in rejection by the very one I had fought so hard to save.
Then God spoke.
“Look at yourself. Living as if you don’t belong. Living in fear and insecurity. Withdrawing during hard times, isolating yourself instead of running into My arms. I have adopted you. I have chosen you. You are MINE. And yet, you tell yourself you’re undeserving, unworthy, and you refuse to allow yourself to accept the benefits of all I have given you as My child. I sacrificed My Son for you, and while you claim to be part of My family and, in essence, have taken My ‘last name,’ you’re not living as part of My family. Those feelings you would feel if you were the mom in that article? Ahem, do I need to say more?”
There are no words to explain my reaction to that moment.
For all who are led by the Spirit of God, these are of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery to fear again, but you received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself witnesses with our spirit that we are of God, and if children, also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, indeed we suffer with that we may also be glorified with. – Romans 8:14-17 (NASB)
Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed His name, He gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. – John 1:12 (NIV)
What does it mean to live as God’s child? It means to live as if I’m loved and cherished. It means to live as if I know that every need will be taken care of. It means to live as if I can go to my Father with every fear, anxiety, and hurt. It means to live as if I can go to my Father with every joyful moment, every tiny thing that excites me, and every new tidbit of information that makes me laugh. It means to live as if I have inherited my Father’s kingdom.
Because I have. I belong and it’s time to start living like it.