Think about this…
What’s a real father?
Sometimes us men may not feel like a “real” dad to our adopted children because often the world looks at us differently. I’ll give you an example:
A few days after our first of two adoptions in China, my wife and I were on a sight-seeing cruise on the Pearl River in Guangzhou, China. I was a tall, anglo-looking American on the deck holding my Chinese-born three-year-old son, and couldn’t help but notice a man staring at me. He wasn’t looking in a rude way, but confused –
quizzically watching something unnatural. Like watching a ball roll uphill. Using the best English I’m sure he knew, he pointed at my adopted son and then turned his point to me and said defiantly, “You no father.”
“Yes, father!” I protested.
Using my hands, I pantomimed signing a contract in the air which I figured is the universal sign for adoption. Seconds passed while gears were turning in his head, trying to reconcile this new piece of information. Finally, a smile erupted on his face as if all of the understanding colided in his brain together simultaneously.
He then asked if he could take a souvenir photo of such an odd American couple holding a Chinese child claiming to be his parents.
I’m sure he went home to tell his friends, “You’re not going to believe what I just saw!”
There was another time when I received a very different reaction. I was on a flight and had a friendly chat with a woman sitting next to me. I showed her a photo of my kids including our two young adopted kids both with different special needs. She literally cried right there on the plane at the prospect of those orphans finding parents.
But why those two reactions – confusion for one or and another getting emotional?
Well, I think I know the exact reason and frankly, it’s mind-blowing. But more on that in a moment.
As most adoptive parents could attest, we all get a lot of crazy questions tossed our way every day – especially if the child has special needs or is of a different race making the adoption more obvious.
If you’re like me, it’s not until later that you think of the snappy answer you wish you’d given…
Now that there’s DNA testing, would he ever be able to find his real parents? Well, actually, he has. His “real” parents wake with him every morning and kiss him goodnight every evening before he falls asleep.
How could you pay $30,000 to adopt? It was the bargain of a lifetime. In fact, the whole process only cost a tiny fraction of what he’s worth.
Couldn’t you get one without such severe needs? That’s nothing, we then found out that he had a far bigger need: parents.
You know he’s going to have emotional problems, don’t you? Well, I have yet to meet a human being who doesn’t.
Why go so far away to adopt? I wouldn’t have gone so far, but my son was in China. Sooo …
But thinking on those questions that we’ve all been asked, here’s the point: each of those questions could have legitimately been asked of God before He spiritually adopted me.
“God, why would you pay such a high cost – for … him?!”
“You know he has problems.”
“Why go to such lengths?”
It’s further explained by the well-known pastor from Minneapolis, John Piper, who profoundly said, “adoption is the visible Gospel.”
Think about that. Over and over in the Bible, adoption is routinely displayed as a beautiful image of the redemption and grace offered to us.
“To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” Galatians 4:5
“… ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15
This is perhaps the best news – ever. The Bible says if we have repented and put our faith in Christ, we have been adopted by Him. Someone that’s broken like us, that has no genetic right, has legally become an heir in God’s family and obtained all of the rights therein.
The very act of adopting can be seen as a metaphor for the love God shows us.
That’s why the world has these reactions. It’s a big flashing neon arrow pointing to that free gift available to all of us of to become a child of the Most High God.
Now, we can look at this Gospel message with the skepticism and confusion of the man I met on the cruise boat in China. Or with the awesome wonder and gratitude of the woman I met on the plane. But parallels between adoption and the Gospel don’t end there.
Dads, think about this for a moment.
– An adoptive father may spend his life savings in order to make an orphan his son, just as Jesus paid an infinitely bigger price. (John 19:30)
– An adoptive father legally grants inheritance to the new child, like a Christian receives from the Father. (Colossians 1:12)
– Both an adopted child and new Christian didn’t do anything to deserve to be adopted. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
– Both the adoptive father and Jesus have gone ahead and prepared a place for them before they come home. (John 14:2-3)
– The adoptive father and our Father in Heaven love their child even before they knew the He existed. (1 John 4:19)
Adoptive dads, when you walk down the street and someone looks at you and your adopted child quizzically, know this…
You, sir, are a living, breathing, walking billboard proclaiming the Gospel message for the world to see.
What an unspeakable and undeserved honor that we have.
And adoptive father – never have a moment of doubt that that your every molecule is your child’s “real dad”.