this pretty much makes me cry just re-typing the story, and looking at the photo.
my friend brian and his wife are in an african country right now (i’m leaving out details, since the legal proceedings are still in process), adopting two 5 year-old twins, a boy and a girl. this past week, billy and becky started living with brian and his wife, at the guest house where they’re staying. brian and his wfie decided, for now, to keep the same schedule the kids were familiar with at the orphanage, including the afternoon nap time. both kids were immediately quiet in their bunk beds (in the same room with brian’s bed), and it was clear they were very accustomed to this practice. becky immediately fell asleep, but billy just lay there, eyes open.
after a few minutes, brian asked billy if he would like to come lay on brian to fall asleep (remember, this was the first day of being together as father/son). billy scrambled out of bed and climbed into brian’s bed. within seconds, he was sound asleep, and stayed that way for a long time.
this photo was taken by brian’s wife:
now, i’m sure we’re all moved by this story, as i was, simply because it’s a beautiful story, and a wonderful illustration of human connectedness. but i think there’s much more to it. i have always had this sense that parents who adopt kids get a glimpse of god’s perspective in a way the rest of us don’t get. and, i suppose, adopted kids get that perspective also. really, i think there’s a deep knowing about the relationship between god and humans, that goes well beyond our ability to put into words, that parents of adoption and kids of adoption get to know.
In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will (eph 1:5)
Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption, the redemption of our bodies. (rom 8:23)
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith (gal 3:26)
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. (john 1:12-13)
so, i think, when we hear a story like brian and billy’s, when we look at that photo, a tuning fork inside us is struck. it has a resonance of “things as they should be”. it has the vibrations of redemption, salvation, and mercy. it has the timbre of love, in a way many of us experience it in our lives with god.
we are all billy.
we all rest more easily in the loving embrace of a father we barely know, who seems to be accepting us and loving us in ways we can’t quite comprehend. but we feel the heartbeat, we feel the warmth, we feel the arms of acceptance on our backs, and we can rest.