Saturday, December 9, 2006

THE JOURNEY OF A LIFETIME

We receive a multitude of different reactions when folks find out that we are adopting a little girl from China. Some act like we are crazy, some as if we were saints, and many place us somewhere between the two. Some have said that we are on a rescue mission. We make no claim of sainthood, and as to being crazy, well that’s a matter of opinion. We would like however to try to make clear what our motivation is.

Now, why are we at the age of fifty four adopting a little Chinese girl? The short answer, because we really, really want to. It’s not some super spiritual altruism. It’s not a rescue mission. We want to raise another daughter. We are so thankful for and proud of our three daughters, but we want another one, and not just any one, but the one that we believe God has chosen, the one that is destined to be our as we are destined for her. Why did we choose China? Who knows? Maybe it’s the culmination of many small beginnings. Our youngest daughter, Bethany began to talk about wanting someday to adopt a Chinese baby over twelve years ago. It was through her that we first heard of the hundreds of thousands of Chinese orphans. Maybe, the six months that we lived in Hawaii, where we became acquainted with several wonderful people of Chinese descent. Maybe the discovery of how much life our grandkids bring to us. It may be our love of this country. We believe that we live in the second most blessed nation on planet earth.

Maybe the stage had been set, the seeds planted, when one Sunday a couple visited our church that had lived in China, teaching school and working in an orphanage. When the wife gave a short slide show about the orphanage we gazed in amazement at a scene of dozens of little girls lined up in rows of baby seats. The lady closed her presentation by saying “if you have room in your heart and room in your home, please think about Chinese adoption”. Becky looked at me and said “we have room, don’t we”? Right then I knew that if it was possible we would do it. When Becky contacted the adoption agency that the lady from church worked with we received bad news. They had an age limitation. The combined ages of both parents could not exceed one hundred. We were too old.

A few weeks later the subject came up as we visited with Becky’s cousin Ben and his wife Carla. They had become acquainted with friends who had adopted from China and were interested in a little sister for their daughter, Marlie and son Luke. We encouraged them and told them how disappointed we had been. About three months later Ben called saying that he had good news. They were applying to adopt from China through Chinese Children Adoption International, and oh yeah, they would accept couples up to and sometimes even over fifty five.

As I said earlier, we aren’t candidates for sainthood, but we do believe that the Bible is God’s word. We don’t claim to understand all things, but what we do understand gives us hope and guides our lives. In Psalm 37: 4 and 5 the King James version reads: Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. We don’t believe that a person can be said to delight in the Lord and have wrong desires in the heart. Actually it may be that if we delight ourselves in the Lord, then the desires we have in our heart come from Him. Maybe this desire in our heart to adopt a precious child from China was placed there by the Lord.

As for rescuing a child from China, here is the way we see it. If a child that was apparently destined to grow to young adulthood in an orphanage, then be turned out into the world without parents or kin of any sort, were to be adopted into a family, then I suppose that could be viewed as a rescue. If that view is taken, it shows a very shallow and limited understanding of adoption. A believer in Christ, well read in the scriptures sees a much richer, fuller view of adoption.

The Bible says that we are redeemed by the precious blood of Christ. The prophet Hosea was told to redeem the adulterous Gomer and take her to be his wife. He could have just paid the redemption money and she would have been set free, or one might say rescued, but he married her. There is great difference between being emancipated as opposed to being redeemed. Biblical redemption always leads to relationship. Christ redeemed us into relationship with Himself. The word ‘adoption’ in the Bible is strongly connected with redemption. In the epistle to the Galatians chapter four we read that “ in the fullness of time, God sent His Son to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons, and because we are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into hearts crying Abba, Father”. In the book of Ephesians, chapter one believers are said to be “ predestined unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself…in whom we have redemption through His blood”…And in the letter to the Romans, chapter eight: “ we have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry Abba, Father. The Spirit itself bearing witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God”.

It looks like God is very much into adoption. From the great numbers of Christian families adopting from China it looks like He is especially into putting Chinese children into families. We are so thankful for this opportunity. We don’t think we deserve any praise for what we are doing. We are somewhat selfishly redeeming this precious little one into relationship. She will be our daughter, with all of the attention, love, and care that our other three daughters have had. It will be a forever family, there will never be a time or event that could make us want to back out. Adoption is forever. Adoptive parents cannot divorce their children. God would never divorce us and His love is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. As the apostle Paul wrote to the Romans “for I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord”, so our Chinese daughter can be assured of our steadfast love.

Ronnie

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