This past week, some friends of mine met their children for the first time.
The year-long process of paperwork and meetings, home studies, fingerprinting and criminal background checks has finally been capped off with nearly 2 days of traveling and introductions to a 4-year-old boy and a 2-year-old girl.
Those of us who have watched the process of these parents pursuing their children have a privilege that far out weighs just rejoicing with a growing family.
The adoptions of these 2 is a picture of the salvation offered to each one of us through Jesus.
In their book, Orphanology, Tony Merida and Rick Morton outline some of the parallels:
1 Adoption involves purposeful planning - just as human parents have to plan ahead for bringing children into their families, God planned ahead to bring us into His.
But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father." So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir. (Galatians 4:4-7)
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will - (Ephesians 1:4-5)
2 Adoption requires the right qualifications - praise the Lord that one of the few things that is right with the system of adopting children in this world is that not just anyone is allowed to take a child into his or her home. This is where background checks and home studies come in. There are checks and re-checks and redundancies in the system. In the same way, only Jesus is qualified to make a way for us to be part of God’s family. (see Galatians 4:4 again)
For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, (1 Timothy 2:5)
3 Adoption is costly - ask an adoptive parent, or better yet, just do a google search for adoption grants. The sheer number of people offering grants to perspective adoptive families is overwhelming (and if the number of grants is overwhelming, you should try looking at an application), and very few of the grants offered actually cover the whole of the cost. And that’s just financial. Adoption costs families in a hundred other ways. And really, there is no comparison with what our adoptions cost. He literally took on our curse.
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree."(Galatians 3:13)
4 Adoption saves children from terrible situations - life on this planet without a family is something that is nearly impossible to overcome. Life on this planet without the saving grace of Jesus... it is actually no life at all.
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved. (Ephesians 2:1-5)
5 Adoption transforms the child in every way - spend some time with an adopted child (which I highly recommend we all do occasionally), and you’ll see that in a relatively short time, adopted children begin to take on traits of their new families. One of my favorite personal examples is how my friend Jesse will greet you with the sweetest, most drawn North Carolinian “Hhheeeyyy”. While she still inexplicably enjoys an Orange Fanta at room temperature, Jesse sounds like the people who taught her to speak. There is no trace of a Ugandan accent. On a deeper level, she also shares the sense of humor that runs through her family of 6. She is a part of them. And here is where the best picture comes in. Spiritually, I am marked. As an adopted child of The King, my whole life is different. I think differently, I speak differently. It is all different.
Merida and Morton have much more to say on our spiritual adoptions and they go on to help us all see how we can love orphans in practical ways. And when we see loving orphans as God sees loving us, we are compelled to action.
Imagine my friends doing all the work, filling out every form, jumping through every hoop, writing every check; and never flying over to actually get their children. Adopted and no one ever tells them. Tragic.