The conversation about adoption began about five years ago. I had never thought of it before. Honestly it always sounded like a “Plan B.” Something I could be open to, but only if I needed to be.
We were driving at night when he brought it up in the car. I remember watching the headlights on the interstate bob up and down, reflecting off the raindrops on our windshield as I wondered where in the world this conversation was coming from. After all, we had only been married for three months. “Isn’t this a conversation we should have when we’re actually starting to think about kids? Or even more, if— heaven forbid— we can’t have kids? Why are we talking about this now? Why would anyone want to adopt if they can have children of their own?” I thought these things to myself, realizing I was being close-minded, but not sure yet how to respond in a way that didn’t sound ignorant and selfish. So instead I nodded along, telling him I wasn’t sure, but I’d think about it.
The seed was planted.
Fast forward a year later. We were regularly attending a church with lots of families that didn’t look alike. It was common there to see a baby dedicated after an adoption and there were always adoption seminars, pamphlets, and sermons.
The seed was watered.
A year after that we begin volunteering for an inner-city ministry. Every Wednesday night we sat in a sterile church basement to mentor and tutor children who wake up and go to bed each day in brokenness, instability, and pain. Often the dinner they ate at the program was the only real meal they received all day, they were grades behind in their studies, and most had little to no relationship with their father or mother, or both.
My husband and I were paired with cousins. As they bounced around from home to home and sometimes a car, their grandmother is the one dedicated to sending them to the program each night. We began spending time outside of the program with them, taking them to the mall, a movie, or a park. We eventually invited them to our home and they asked us if both the cars belong to us. They asked us why we don’t yell at each other. Why we sleep in the same bed. They ran around our 90 year old, 1,200 square foot home like it was an episode of Extreme Home Makeover— opening doors and gasping at each new room then running on to the next. Both of them jumped in our bed, pulled the covers over their heads and giggled. I heard one of them whisper, “This is amazing!”
We fell in love with these children; I cried over these children. My heart breaks for these children. I have secret wishes for these children. Wishes I know I can’t change for them, but I begin to wonder if I can change it for others.
Over time, my husband and I began discussing adoption seriously. I got pregnant with my first, we moved 400 miles away, and our relationship with the children from the mentor program fades.
But God was doing a deep work in my heart, nurturing the seed that was starting to grow.
The longer I’ve known Christ, the more I’ve seen the ugliness of my sin. As I study and learn from him, the more holy, sacred and perfect he becomes— and the more I understand my desperate need for a Savior. And as his righteousness is revealed, I become more broken in sorrow yet overflowing with insatiable joy for what he has done for me. That he would make me — a flawed, undeserving, rebellious, unattractive human — his daughter with all the same rights and inheritance as his Son, is, well, just plain mind-boggling to me. There is no reason God should have loved me, but he did. He redeemed me. He reconciled me to himself and restored me to be a part of his family.
And that, my very own story of redemption, right there — that is adoption. And the day I fully grasped this, was the day we began the process to adopt two children from Eastern Europe.
But unlike my plans, adoption for God was never “Plan B.” Instead, God predestined us before the foundation of the world, plucking us from the snares of death. We were orphans that didn’t even realize we needed help. But God, in his great love for us, chose us and went far beyond just meeting our basic needs, he made us part of his family, equals to his only Son, co-heirs with Christ! We have a name in the family of God.
We are God’s children, and God is our Father.
We cannot grasp the full weight of the gospel until we grasp the truth of this relationship.
Earthly adoption is a pale representation of course, a small shard of glass mirroring the great chasm God crossed to redeem his people. But we see a shadow of what the Almighty has done for us, as an adoptive parent says to an orphan, “Come exactly as you are. Despite your history, your background, the hardships and sacrifice, I will love you anyway. Come. Be mine, and I will be yours.”
For God, adoption was always “Plan A.” And this news, the news that we — the orphans that have been adopted into God’s family and can now boldly approach the throne — this news should make your heart sing! We have a Father that loves us! And how wonderful that this was always his plan!
Remember your adoption. It is at the heart of your salvation. When you are feeling alone, unseen and unloved, preach the truth of your new identity to yourself. Despite your flaws, failures and imperfections, God chose you — you are a child of God! You are loved, cared for, and known. You have a home. You are an heir! You are a beautiful display of God’s forethought, planning, love, grace, and mercy.
Take joy and let your soul find rest in the confidence of your adoption. You were the orphan, but now you are a daughter of the King.
A beautiful “Plan A” indeed.
(This blog originally appeared on EnCourgae)