Those of you who have read my blog before know that I often find a way to talk about my kids. I mean, how could I not?!? They have transformed my life in so many ways. The crazy thing is, after being on the journey of becoming an adoptive and foster family for the last twelve years, I sometimes even forget that my family is any different than other families. That is, until I think about how much adoption has transformed me. You see, from the outside looking in you might be tempted to think about how much I have “saved” my kids from or how much “better” their lives are because of my wife and I; but that just isn’t a truthful approach to adoption at all. If you think that adoption is about parents being the saviors of adopted and foster children then you really don’t know the power of what it means to be part of an adopted family.
Truth be told, my kids saved me. They saved me from thinking the world is as privileged as it sometimes seems from my limited gaze. They saved me from being insensitive to trauma and abuse and what it can do to children of any age. They saved me from simple ways of approaching social and emotional issues because that’s just the way it has always been for me. Because of my children, I now recognize that churches need to become better at recognizing signs of abuse and trauma and approaching their people with informed care and love. Because of my children I now recognize racial issues in a way that I probably never would have had my family just orchestrated itself the way it would have in any normal setting. Because of my children, I have been saved to a new way of living in the church and in the world. So who saved who?
In his letter to the church in Rome, the Apostle Paul decides to use the imagery of adoption [a distinctly Roman concept limited to the naming of heirs for Roman nobility] to talk about becoming a part of the family of God. He says this, “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” – Romans 8:14-16 God’s children; all of us. So as we are all adopted into the family of God, your story becomes my story and our stories become informed by each other through the power of the Holy Spirit. We learn from each other, we grow from each other, we become sensitive to each other and we realize the complexity of being an adopted family in God’s Kingdom.
Before I close, let me say this; adoption isn’t necessarily easy. There are times when I am terrified that I am doing further harm to these kids because of my lack of understanding of trauma or abuse or cross-cultural and racial issues (although I am continually educating myself on all of the above). But God’s Spirit continually shows me opportunities to grow and stretch and transform my life from the perspective of theirs.
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“That isn’t a truthful approach to adoption at all”…. That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but I really appreciate your sentiment here, and I think it is an important distinction. Adoption does some much for the one(s) adopting in regard to perspective, depth of intimacy with God and others, etc. However, part of the urgency in regard to adoption in many places is that there are children who do indeed need literal rescuing. This should not be discounted, I believe. Thanks for sharing….