Since becoming a part of the adoption community, I have read countless blogs, opinions, and training “manuals”, all designed to help families transition and work through typical adoption issues. I have read some really good information and some really bad, unBiblical information. Wading through this stuff as someone who was not adopted (though I claimed to be often), can be exhausting and as my friend, Joy says, we don’t have to digest everything… But when it is shoved in your mouth, sometimes you swallow without thinking when you should be spitting out (Oops, wrong reflex). So as in everything, we MUST let the Word trump anything written or taught by man.
The Word is a pro-adoption book…to the point that if you have NOT allowed Christ to adopt you, you are lost…abandoned…without hope in this age or the age to come. The Bible is clear about its stance on adoption…to the point that it makes it a requirement. Within this requirement is this beautiful and amazing concept of redemption…a Life laid down so that we have the opportunity to live. In this concept of redemption is a beautiful bride without spot or blemish…made up of all colors, creeds, cultures, and nations…all of us adopted by Christ and living freely in the family of God as brothers and sisters. This is the amazing picture of an adoptive family. Forgetting what is behind and pressing forward to what is ahead…not wallowing in the past, the “what ifs” or the “could have beens”…not going back to Egypt, but walking forward toward the Promise Land.
Of course, we live in an imperfect world and we are imperfect people so we all struggle daily to live out this picture to some extent. Even the “oldest” children have weaknesses and find themselves “wishing” for things contrary to what the Father has ordained…there is a measure of imperfection in all of us. But we are all striving as believers for the perfect picture that Christ has painted in the pages of His glorious Word.
And I think that is why I struggle with some things I read and hear about adoption. Bear with me as I am candid with my struggle. Please hear me out and try hard not to judge. I know that I don’t have the full picture and many times I am only going on the Word of God…and if that makes me naive, it just does.
I struggle when I hear people say that when an internationally adopted child receives a family outside of their country that they are not coming home, but actually being ripped from it. While I completely understand the thought process behind this and the grief that comes with a child leaving his/her culture, home is where the Love is. We aren’t at home in this world anyway. We are strangers…sojourners…so though a child might never look like or even talk like or think like their adoptive family, they are HOME. They are where they belong. Just like when we come to Christ, we don’t hang on to our old way of life…we learn a brand new one. Please hear me when I say, I am not saying that I think it is wrong to hang on to culture or traditions from our children’s countries…as a matter of fact, I feel part Chinese inside. Every time I come across a Made in China label, I have an urge to buy (I quickly realized I couldn’t afford 90% of everything sold in the US, but I still get warm fuzzies at this label). I am only saying that when God chose Kate for this family, she came HOME. Home is bigger than what you look like or what country you were born in…it is where the Love is.
I struggle when I hear people say that internationally adopted children would be better with their birth parents. When I see Kate run and play and be unashamedly loved…when I see her live in freedom and learn Jesus, I have a really hard time with this. Maybe it is because I am selfish, but I think it is also because I see God’s redemption. I see our Father has taken something so broken and made it beautiful…and I just have a hard time taking myself into the “what ifs” here. Again, maybe I am selfish… maybe I am unwilling to get into the dirt of a parent’s pain on the other side of world… but maybe it is because I wasn’t called to Kate’s parents (and I pray every day that SOMEONE is), I was called to Kate and what I see is beautiful. Is that at her expense? I don’t think so… through adoption, Christ has given Kate the opportunity to be openly loved beyond measure and to learn about Him freely. It does Kate NO good to “what if” and to “wish ” that sin did not exist, that parents all wanted their children and could afford to raise them, that Eve didn’t eat that apple. Yes, we can let Christ work through us to that end, but this world is broken. Yes, I grieve that Kate’s parents are missing out on the gift God gave them. I “wish” I could find them and share her with them somehow, but fact is, I can’t. When she is old enough… when Jessica comes home… when we have to deal with identity issues… guess where I will take them. Right to the cross… right where we all have to go… right where eternal redemption happens and your past no longer means a hill of beans.
I struggle when I hear people say the my internationally adopted kids will struggle all their lives with being different from our family…from not looking like us…that they will to some extent always struggle with identity. What a fabulous opportunity for our family to learn our true identity is in Christ! Do we believe it or do we not, dear brothers and sisters? Are we so concerned with the worldly view of things that we forget how true and life changing the Word is? Are we scared to believe it because this is the “real world” and we just have to stay “grounded”? I don’t know. I may be naïve here. Kate is not old enough to express such insecurities… but I will tell you. I grew up more insecure than most of the population and I had my mom and dad around for most of my growing up life. I don’t think this is an adoption problem at all… I think it is a “fallen world” problem. We must know and cling to who we are in Christ because that is our identity.
So I may be adoptionally incorrect, but my life will be spent instilling the Word into my adopted children…praying daily for them…loving them as best I can… and teaching them that ultimately we are all in the same boat. God has a plan for everyone He created. Yes, my adopted children have suffered more than I would have ever, ever planned for, but somehow God allowed that suffering and He will use it ALL through their lives to shape them into the children He created them to be. I will teach them to yield to that Hand and let Him use even the darkest stuff for His glory. They won’t get a pass…an excuse to stay a victim even after Christ redeemed. Because after all, don’t we all have very, very dark moments…moments when we felt and thought we had been abandoned… parents or not, we all struggle through these things. Adoption is not an exception to the Gospel. Adoption is the Gospel.
“13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind<sup class="crossreference" value="(A)”> and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on<sup class="crossreference" value="(B)”> toward the goal to win the prize<sup class="crossreference" value="(C)”> for which God has called<sup class="crossreference" value="(D)”> me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Phillippians 3:13-14