a stunning picture of adoption

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.

15 thoughts on “a stunning picture of adoption”

  1. Being adopted myself, I can definitely relate. There is a strange reality that I was saved, in a sense, before I was born; my other options were abandonment, poverty, or death. But a loving family adopted me and it changed the entire course of my life. I’ve seen God’s grace in a deeper way because of it. People can get hung up on the “predestined” line in Ephesians 1:5, but I love that God adopted us out of His pleasure and His will. That’s a beautiful reality.

  2. (visiting from jimmie’s blog)… this is amazing, and lovely. my husband and I are considering international adoption and this paints a reminder for us that the ‘family unit’ as God intended it DOES involve opening our homes and hearts to children of another race and culture and ancestry. very affirming to read this today.

  3. As the father of two adopted children, your comments were right on target Marko. There is a profound mystery in what happens through the miracle of adoption, both spiritually as well as in the context described in this little story. Thanks for your insightful post.

  4. I’m also an adopted child. The photo says it.

    Mark, I’ve heard from a couple of places that in Greco-Roman culture, if you were adopted the paterfamilias could never disown you. It was a done deal forever.


  5. Another text which implies a high view of adoption and marriage is the genealogy at the start of Matthew’s gospel. The family tree is Joseph’s, and Jesus’s by adoption into that family line by marriage.

  6. A very moving story and a powerful act.

    I am the father of 4 adoptive children – 1 bi-racial and 3 African American. It is a great gift to be an adoptive father.

    I would lift up to those who are moved by this story that in the state of Michigan alone, there are 800 children waiting to be adopted. Most are African American or Bi-Racial. Most are not infants and many come with emotional issues. Every state has a large number of children just waiting for a loving home. Many of these children have suffered abuse or neglect in their birth homes. They are forgotten children. Please keep them in your prayers. If you are considering adoption, ask God if this might be a door that could be open to you.

    Thanks for lifting up adoption.

  7. Hey Marko,

    My wife and I adopted our daughter from China a couple of years ago and she has been the most amazing blessing to our family. There IS a “spirit of adoption” that is like nothing else. And, you were right, it did open new doors of understanding to those passages of Scripture you mentioned. I understand God’s love and heart for me, as a child of God, in ways I never would have otherwise. It also made me realize thru the seemingly unending waiting process for Jadyn that God waits for us with that same kind of anticipation and longing. Ok…now I’M getting teary-eyed! Enough said!

  8. As an adoptive mother of two (Russia and Ethiopia) I thank you for sharing this picture/story with your readers… adoption is a sweet, sweet gift for all involved

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