As children of God we do not always think of the fact that we are adopted children. Oftentimes we do not fully realize what is involved in the word adopted. Adoption has come to mean a lot more to me and my family. My husband and I adopted our two sons as infants from the Grand Rapids area. In this article, when I refer to the adoption of our sons, keep in mind that we did a domestic adoption and not an international adoption, which is much different. Earthly adoption is always a good reminder of our spiritual adoption. As you read this article, keep in mind our adoption as children of God and the fact that we are all adopted. This truth is spoken of in Romans 8: 15-17: “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”
My husband and I were unable to have children. This was a very hard affliction. After much thought and prayer, we pursued domestic adoption. We are so humbled to have been chosen by God to raise two of his children. We were blessed with two boys, both adopted as infants.
The adoption process is such a rollercoaster ride, although I would not take it back for a minute. I did not have to go through labor, but I had to deal with a rollercoaster of emotions. First, we did open adoptions with our boys. The birth mother who was considering us to parent her child would call us in to meet with her. I felt as if I was being judged for every move I made. What should I wear? What should I say to her? What if I say something she doesn’t like? Will I be good enough to be the mother of her child? All of these questions flooded my mind. I soon forgot that God is in control. I had to remind myself that if it was in God’s plan, then we would be chosen to parent her child. Even after we were chosen, we had the uncertainty of whether the birthmother would change her mind when the child was delivered. And even after we took our sons home, we had to wait for different court dates that would finally give us legal custody of our sons. When these court dates arrived, it was a great relief; but before they arrived it was always in the back of our minds that there could be problems. But we couldn’t dwell on this. We did not withhold our bonding because these dates had not arrived yet. Rather, we knew that God was in control and we had to believe and hold on to the assurance that whatever comes to pass is in God’s plan and for our good. Knowing that God was in control gave us the ability to rest in peace.
Many people would tell us not to get too attached to our son because you never know if the birthmother would change her mind. It was impossible! We fell in love with our boys the moment they were placed in our arms. We took one of our sons home from the hospital. That was so hard because we knew while we were being blessed, at the same time the birthmother’s heart was being ripped apart.
Oftentimes, birth mothers are looked at badly. Yes, many of the children that are up for adoption are children that are born to single birth mothers and oftentimes the child was conceived out of wedlock. However, these birth mothers are often sorry for their sin and they just want the best for their child. I give birth mothers a lot of credit. I witnessed firsthand the love a birth mother has for her child. I witnessed the grief a birth mother has to go through. Many others in her situation would have taken the easy way out and had an abortion. I am not suggesting or promoting that our young people who fall into sin and become pregnant give up their child for adoption. I am not doing that at all. However, I want everybody to look at a birth mother’s situation. Usually, a birth mother comes from an unsupportive family and church family, if she has a church family at all. Usually, a birth mother’s family is not willing to help raise the child but encourages adoption or worse, abortion. Oftentimes, the birth mother is left alone and usually without money, and cannot fathom how she is going to be able to raise her child. The Protestant Reformed churches do not believe in giving a child up for adoption. On the contrary, we believe that the father or mother of the child has to step up and that his/her family and church family must be supportive as well. We do not believe that it is right to give up a child for adoption. But it is another matter to receive a child that is going to be placed for adoption anyway.
In addition, we cannot forget that adoption is part of God’s plan in the lives of these children. God caused our boys’ birth mothers to choose us. They knew that we were Christians and that we were going to raise their children in that way. We made it known that we attend church faithfully, that we discipline our children, and that we would send their sons to a Christian school. God moved them to choose our portfolio over anybody else’s. In a marvelous way God uses some birth mothers and adoption as means to fulfill his will. What we were impressed with is that adoption of a child is God’s work and not our work. We are so thankful that God was using us to bring these two children into his covenant. By placing these boys into our home and under our upbringing, that is what God was doing. We are so humbled that God would use us for that purpose. .
I want also to point out that no child is a mistake. Oftentimes adoptive children are referred to in that way. The birth mother will sometimes say, “I made a mistake.” He or she may have sinned, but it was not a mistake on God’s part. God does not make mistakes. He is sovereign, even over sin, even the sins of his people. Every child that is conceived is supposed to be conceived. Every covenant child is a blessing, not a mistake.
We have kept an open adoption with our boys’ birth mothers. We usually see them once or twice yearly. This is good for both our boys and the birth mothers. This will answer some of the questions that the boys may have as they get older. At the same time, it reassures the birth mothers that they made a good decision for their children. My husband and I are considered our boys’ mom and dad from all aspects. We are the ones who nurture, love, and care for them. We tell the boys that their birth mothers gave them to us because of the love they have in their hearts for them. We also tell our boys that they grew in our hearts and not in mom’s tummy.
The birth mothers gave their children to us because of their love for them. This means giving part of them to us so that we can love their children and nurture them. So Jesus Christ died on the cross and gave himself for us, so that we might be adopted sons and daughters of God: “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will” (Eph. 1:5).God has predestinated us unto adoption by Jesus Christ. God has planned even before time that we should be adopted in Jesus Christ. The Lord has a perfect plan for both of our boys, and part of his perfect plan was to place them in our home.
The truth of spiritual adoption has been impressed upon me through the earthly adoption of our sons. The whole idea is so much more real. The love I had for my boys from the very beginning is unbelievable, even to me. I know how much I love my boys and then I think of how much Christ loves me. Then to think that Christ’s love is perfect, unfailing, and unconditional. What an awesome thought! “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints and of the household of God” (Eph. 2:19). Adoption shows the great love of God in making us his children. We don’t naturally have a place in God’s family, and have no claim on his fatherhood. It’s purely his love, undeserved grace, that takes us and gives us a place in his family and makes us heirs of everything that he has. And then to think that God takes those who are naturally his enemies and makes them his sons and daughters – that’s even more amazing!
The Protestant Reformed Form for the Administration of Baptism states, “For when we are baptized in the name of the Father, God the Father witnesseth and sealeth unto us that he doth make an eternal covenant of grace with us, and adopts us for his children and heirs, and therefore will provide us with every good thing, and avert all evil or turn it to our profit.” We are not naturally born sons of God, but are predestined to be the children of God. We in ourselves are not naturally born sons of God, but it is only through Jesus Christ that we are born again and are adopted sons of God. How often are we reminded of this truth, but do not think upon it.
This truth is also taught in the Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 13, Question and Answer 33: ”Why is Christ called the only begotten Son of God, since we are also the children of God? Because Christ alone is the eternal and natural Son of God; but we are children adopted of God, by grace, for his sake.” And in Question and Answer 34: “Wherefore callest thou him our Lord? Because he hath redeemed us, both soul and body, from all our sins, not with gold or silver, but with his precious blood, and hath delivered us from all power of the devil; and thus hath made us his own property.” These questions and answers speak so clearly to the fact that we are not the natural sons of God, but he has made us his own sons and daughters. He even sent his son to die for us in order to accomplish our adoption. Our adoption papers are written in blood, the blood of the Son of God.
Let’s look at this truth from an earthly adoption standpoint. God has a plan for each of our lives and has determined that before time. He has chosen his own before time. God has had a plan for our boys from before time. God’s plan included being adopted by us. God chose them just for us, not for anybody else who wanted to adopt. God chose them to be placed in our home. God chose them to be placed in a Christian home. Part of God’s plan is for them to be raised by God-fearing parents and in Christian schools. God has blessed them with this, and as parents we have a high calling to raise them according to God’s word.
I think it is easy to forget that our children are not our own, but that they are God’s children, whether they are natural born or adopted. God places his children with us for a short time on this earth until he calls each of his children to himself. As a parent, I cannot imagine how heart-wrenching it is when God calls one of his children. We love our children so deeply and would die for them. This has to be comparable to the feeling that the birth mother often has. She loves her child so deeply and wants to give it a better life. Of course, this is all under God’s control. God is almighty and governs all things. Even though as parents we raise our children, and our ultimate purpose is to raise them to be God’s children, I cannot imagine how hard it is to give “your” child to God when he calls for his child to live with him. At the same time, our only peace in the death of our children is that they are God’s children.
Adoption is just another path that God has chosen for some of his children. Adoption is another way that God calls his children from all the ends of this earth. There is so much beauty in adoption: not only how a parent longs for a child, longs to care for a child, longs to love a child, longs to see a child’s smile every day, longs for the words “mommy and daddy” but also how a child longs for parents, for stability, for love, and for the words “I love you.” As children of God, we long for love and stability as well. We are given this through Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son, who took on all our sins that we may be made holy in the sight of God. We have to make sure that we long, desire, and show that love to our heavenly Father. God took us, long-lost sinners, to be his own. God has placed these boys whom we did not know into our home to be our children, but above all his children.
Ephesians 1:5-6: “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”
You’re a chosen child
You’re ours, but not by birth
But just the same, we feel
You’re the greatest child on earth
You’re a chosen child
Sent down from God above
Chosen to fill our home
With laughter and with love
You’re a chosen child
You’ve given us so much pleasure
Chosen above the rest
A precious, priceless treasure.