Adoption. It used to be just a word to me. I had no idea what it meant. This Valentine’s Day, I think a post on adoption fits. Adoption is a pure form of love instituted before the world began.
What compelled me to board a plane, fly to a foreign country and adopt strangers?
God in His wisdom built the foundation of society on the family: Adam, Eve, a beautiful perfect home, and the command to be fruitful and multiply. Adam and Eve ate the only forbidden fruit and sin entered the world–the great divorce of heaven and earth. The first family was torn apart. Adam and Eve were ripped from the garden and from the connection with their heavenly Father.
I huddled beside Anne under the gray metal desk, licking icing from sticky fingers. Cold fear seized me, wrapping its tenacious tendrils around my heart and setting up residence. Sweet donuts heightened my fear, supercharging my blood sugar.
It was a frosty October evening in 1969. My father’s objection to the expulsion of fourteen black football players from Wyoming State University immersed my family in a bitter battle. My father hid us in his office to avoid the tumult on campus.
My parents’ lifestyle in the turbulent sixties and seventies had us on the run from one university town to another. I toddled around with a sense of evil foreboding usually reserved for veterans of Vietnam. My dad ranted and raved about the evils of our society with the stench of alcohol on his breath. We marched for Civil Rights and Dad campaigned for McCarthy. Watergate news coverage blared on the TV while Peter, Paul and Mary played on the stereo. My childhood innocence and sense of wonder was lost. Every anxious day, a new catastrophe loomed on the horizon. My father spent his days off sleeping off hangovers or nursing them with even more liquor. Although the record turntable sang “We Shall Overcome,” my family lived in an oppressive pit.
Then one day, my father burst out of the house like an angry hornet. He jumped in the teal Suburban and sped down the lane. I sat on the back porch , staring at my new red sneakers. My brother ran after him yelling, “Dad, don’t leave!” Tears dripped down his dusty, sweaty cheeks.
My father was gone.
This was my first exposure to the reality of the great divorce of heaven and earth. I was banished from the only Eden I had ever known, flawed as it was. I was a hurt child, reaping the consequences of someone else’s life choices just as children all over the world– children who are victims of circumstances, hunger, rejection, alcohol addiction, depression, rage, fear, punishments, loss of temper, war, famine, prostitution, and drugs. The pit is the same in any language: Deep, dark, and putrid. No matter what the cause of the rejection or abandonment, the feelings are the same. The devastation parallels Adam and Eve’s separation from the Heavenly Father.
All adoption is preceded by sin. Just as my adoption as God’s child was prefaced by my sinful nature, all adoption is foreshadowed by the original sin. The Father knew man would fall, iniquity would enter the world, satan would have dominion, families would fall apart, children would suffer. What was His predetermined response to this?
“Even as [in His love] He chose us [actually picked us out for Himself as His own] in
Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy (consecrated and set
apart for Him) and blameless in His sight, even above reproach, before Him in love.
For He foreordained us (destined us, planned in love for us) to be adopted (revealed)
as His own children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the purpose of His will
[because it pleased Him and was His kind intent].” -Ephesians 1:4-5, AMP
He sent His only beloved Son to restore the breach the great divorce had caused and then adopted us as His own children. I came to know the joy of that adoption for myself and had a heart for lost children, whether lost spiritually or physically. There is a big step, however, from having a desire to leaping into action.
Fast forward 25 Years
On chilly January day, I took our biological children, Audrey, Amerey, and Hunter (at the time, they were 11, 7, and four) out to lunch at the local Ponderosa Steakhouse that my husband managed. In the middle of the meal Jerry was summoned to his office to take a phone call. He returned with a Cheshire cat grin and a question that would change our lives forever.
“What is it?” I asked, immediately able to tell that something was up.
“Remember the adoption information we requested from Tracy? She wants to know when we are going to complete the paperwork and if we would adopt a sibling group of three. I told her I would have to ask my wife.”
“Well,” I stuttered, “Can we pray about it?”
In my heart I already knew we should adopt three. What were my thoughts when I had watched that first international adoption video? How could I just adopt one? My mind raced. The January sun glaring through the window suddenly seemed tortuous.
My intellect bellowed, I cannot handle three more children!
My emotions answered, If three children need me to be their mommy I can’t say no.
“We believe Jesus in heavenly things- our adoption in Christ; so we follow Him in earthly things- the adoption of children. Without the theological aspects, the emphasis on adoption too easily is seen as mere charity. Without the missional aspect, the doctrine of adoption too easily is seen as a metaphor.”
– Russell Moore, Adopted for Life
What does adoption theology have to do with my reality? I already believed certain things about adoption that I’d studied in the Word and prayed about, but theology isn’t mine unless I put it into practice. It is just something inspiring I read on a blog or in a book. It was time to live my theology.
The rest is history. Jerry and I did adopt a sibling group of four. You can read the book, linked below or listen to a bit of our story on The Whole House Podcast, Episode 3, The Guire Adoption Story.
On this Valentines Day, I want to give a shout out to foster and adoptive parents everywhere! You rock! Really, you do. You are the living example of love lived out. Unconditionally. If I could buy every one of you a giant box of your favorite chocolates, I would! Thank you for living out the theology of adoption every day! Please comment if you have adopted children or you are a foster parent. Tell us a little of your story in a sentence or two!
*Most of this is an excerpt from my book A Positive Adoption Story: The Door from Theology to Reality. It’s a reprint of my first book with an added study guide in the back for personal study or for use with a support group. Email me – Positiveadoption@gmail.com if you have a support group and are interested in the book and study guide.