To an Adopted Child

April 4, 2003   |   By:

My father died when I was six weeks old. My mother, unable to provide for me, gave me (and a sister of 30 months) to a recently-married older sister who---for the next twelve years---became my mother.

As I reflect on that experience, I now realize how much I was learning about adoption (even though technically, I was not adopted, but a foster child).

I learned that God always provides, one way or the other, for such children.  His great loving heart watches over all little ones, but is especially solicitous for those not under the care of their biological parents.

I learned something else: very often, His provision for such children, even if not ideal, is a deliverance from what might have been a disastrous situation.  I cannot imagine that it was that way for me, but I have observed it often in other adoptive settings, and even in mine, such might have been the case.  The proper response of an adopted child to the discovery of his situation is a profound sense of triple gratitude:  gratitude to God for His loving care (not to mention his very life!), gratitude to his biological Mom who let him live, and gratitude to those who are God’s instruments of blessing in our lives.

That same sense of immense gratitude is also appropriate for those who have adopted such children.  After all, God has provided for them an immeasurably fulfilling privilege.  And even more significantly, allows them to participate in a symbol of Godlikeness.  Remember: adoption is an earthly picture of a heavenly event.  Natural adoption portrays supernatural adoption by which God Himself adopts people into His own family!  As the Bible says, "God sets the solitary in families." (Psalm 68:6)

The Bible clearly teaches that nobody is born into the kingdom of God through natural processes, but through a supernatural one by means of which God chooses out of humanity's orphanage certain ones to be His own! People not naturally His become His by spiritual adoption.  (And, of course, any human can, unlike earthly adoption processes, choose to become adopted by God. 

In fact, the Bible has a lot of adoption stories: Pharaoh's daughter adopted Moses (Exodus 2:10), Hadad adopted Genubath (I Kings 11:20), Queen Esther was adopted by her uncle Mordecai (Esther 2:7), Jacob adopted his grandsons (Genesis 48:5), and, indeed, the entire nation of Israel was adopted by God (read carefully the graphic account, in Ezekiel 16:3-7, of Israel's plight when God found her as an abandoned baby, wallowing in her own blood, and adopted her). Mary the mother of Jesus was, in a sense (or perhaps formally) adopted by the apostle John (John 19:26-7).  And all Christians have been adopted by God himself; we have received "the adoption of sons" (Galatians 4:5).  That adoption changed our status from slaves to sons, and we became God's own heirs! (Galatians 4:7; see also Romans 8:1-11)  Amazingly, Ephesians 1:4 says that God planned to adopt us from "before the foundation of the world!"

A beautiful aspect of adoption is that, while natural parents have no choice as to the child that is born to them---they must take whatever they get---adoptive parents have choices, marking off their chosen ones as objects of special affection.  I once heard an adopted boy say to a mouthy friend, "Yeah, but don't forget: your poor Mom had to take what she got when you were born, but my Mom chose me!"  And the same is true of God's adoption of us: He was under no obligation to allow us to be in His family, but He chose to grant us such a privilege out of His elective grace.

In my own experience, I came to know and love my biological mother and treasure her.  I thought she did the very best she could for me in seeing to it that I was provided for in a loving family when she couldn't care for me herself.  And after all, she was my ticket to the Big Game, the very game of life itself!  (I once thanked her for not having me aborted, even though Dad was dying and she was almost penniless, and life would have been so much easier without me.)  But I also learned this: although I loved--and do love---my biological Mother (who is in heaven now), it is interesting that, on Mother's Day, I always thought first---and do think first---of my adoptive Mother, my Sister who reared me.  My emotional attachment was always stronger to her than to my physical Mother.  (I remember distinctly how easy it was to call her "Mama"---after all, those were the first syllables out of my mouth as an infant to her!---and, although I loved her, how unnatural it seemed to say that word to my biological Mother!)

Are you an adopted child?  Be eternally thankful to your biological parents---they were God's instruments in giving you life itself!  Be eternally grateful to your adoptive parents---they are God's expressions of love and care now!  Be eternally appreciative to God for all such provisions of His of love and care for you! And especially, for His choosing you to be in His eternal family.  That's the truly great adoption!