I am sure you can guess where this one is going. Today's Say What? is one that I think a LOT of adoptive parents have heard, especially those of us who are adopting before having biological children. It usually starts out the same way. Sweet, curious people will ask how long we have been married and if we have kids. We, of course, reply that we are working on year number six of wedded bliss and that we are in the process of adopting from Ethiopia. Generally, people are super excited for us and want to hear all about it, which I love, because I loooove talking about our little bird (so please keep asking how it is going). Inevitably though, the conversation gets to this point:
"Do you ever want to have your own kids?"
"You want your own kids, right?"
"Can you not have your own kids?"
The trouble with this phrasing of the question is that it implies (albeit unintentionally) that our adopted kiddos will, in fact, not be our own kids. And that is simply not the case. All of the children the Lord sees fit to bring into our family will all equally, without exception be ours. Adopting children is not like buying a new pair of shoes. You get the shoes home, they don't work with your outfit, you take them back to the store. Not the case with adoption. The decision to adopt is a conscious choice to bring a child into your family forever. There are no strings attached. We cannot rightfully expect our adopted children to be grateful to us for "saving" them (frowny face here because I do not like when people see it that way) by bringing them into our family; that is not something we will remind them of when they are misbehaving. If our child is having a difficult time, we cannot and will not think that this would not be happening if he/she was really our kid. That would be insanity. And that brings us to a key question.
What if God looked at us that way? What if He looked at us like we were not His own children? What if Jesus was His own and we were....what? The Bible tells us that we are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ. Let's look at that:
"The Spirit Himself testifies with us that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share with His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory." Romans 8:16-17
If you are a Christ follower, then make no mistake about it, you have been adopted into God's family. When He looks at you, He sees the likeness of Christ. Your sin has been forgiven, your debt paid in full. You are 100% in God's family. But not biologically. So, then, are you His own? Absolutely! Praise God for that truth! It is a beautiful thing! That same reality carries over into earthly adoption in this world. This little one, born all the way across the ocean, is ours, will always be ours, could not be more ours if we gave birth to him/her. And I praise God for that, too. His sacrifice makes this possible for us, and we are so, so thankful.
Now, let me stop here and say that I have never once been offended by anyone who has asked me one of these questions (well, except for my dental hygienist, who badgered me about my own kids all through my dental appointment, leaving me unable to respond because her hands were in my mouth). Let me also say, that not being offended has been a choice. It bothers me, hurts me to hear these questions phrased this way because of what they imply, but I know that there is no malice behind them, so I decide not to be offended. And I do know what people mean by these questions. I do! And I get it. It can be hard to think of the right words. I totally understand that. Allow me to help by sharing just one word. Biological. Any children that Adam and I birth into this world will be our biological children. So, one day, Lord willing, we will have a house full of adopted children and biological children. And for the record, all of them will be our own kids.
"For those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God." Romans 8:14