50 years ago my grandparents adopted my mother and authored into existence the very beginning of my journey. There was a little baby, Joan, who would have been my aunt had she not been born premature, well maybe, but in all reality if she had lived my mother might never have met my grandparents and they happily would have lived out their lives with two beautiful and healthy children. But God had plans, plans for hope and life, plans that included adopting a little wiry curly haired girl who would keep my grandmother up most nights and run-ragged during the day.
As she grew, the late nights of worry didn’t stop and the trials of parenthood continued and do to this day. But like all great journeys and selfless acts, there are fruits of your labor. I like to think of my siblings, cousins, and children as the some of the fruit of my grandparents’ labor.
I am eternally grateful for God’s grace that has been so preciously and intentionally woven into my story through adoption and for showing me how much he loves us – his adopted children. Romans 8:14-16
All who believe are adopted children of God. I grasp onto these words daily as I struggle to understand how God could love us so infinitely and be so incredibly patient with me. My life would have looked so differently – it may have never have been. Likewise, had my maternal birth grandmother not valued life and chose to give up her baby for adoption, history would have been altered. So many lives would never have come to be, so many beautiful moments of life and laughter never would have been uttered.
God has put it on my soul to have a heart for children, babies, orphans, – people. James 1:27. How could I not? With the adoption of my eldest son, a legacy of hope and love continues. What an incredible feeling it must be to be 80 and look back on your life, the sacrifices, the pain, the kisses, the anxiety, the struggle and see the light. The light that comes with a life full of Jesus, and yet see all that time wasted. Time you wish you had spent differently – done differently – cared differently. My hope is that I will look back on life and see how broken I was and yet how merciful God was through my brokenness and shortcomings. I know I am not a perfect father and I never will be, but I can point my children to the one who is. To live a life without regret means one must be in a constant state of rejoicing and repentance, offering grace and forgiveness willingly and giving of yourself until it hurts. Already I feel I have wasted so much time wrestling with God and looking outside of His word for truth, but our God is the God of infinite chances and boundless mercy.
This little girl couldn’t have found a more loving family. Her future is with the Lord and for that and so much more, I rejoice! Jeremiah 29:11 Their story is one worth telling, but it is theirs to tell and is one that is still being written. Baby M meets her four siblings very soon and with open arms and endless kisses she will be welcomed whole-heartedly into a family filled with joy and purpose in the Lord.
I continue to pray that God will use me (us) to glorify him through the imagery we create and the stories we tell. If these photographs can bless this family and remind this little girl someday of how precious God made her and how much her mother and father love her, than I count it a blessing and it is worth every daily struggle. Psalm 139:13
Someday she will undoubtedly have questions, ones that are not always the easiest to answer. Questions that strike you in your core and make you question you fatherhood/motherhood. But with God’s help, we will have the words that are laced with kindness and patience that speak truth, in love, to our children. The truth that God made you and he loves you unconditionally, even when we fail – especially when we fail. He loves us. He loves us. The words that stop me. break me. and remind me that I am a child to a Father who found me, adopted me, and gave up his own son to die for me. The Story of what love IS!
This Christmas I want to see through the wrapping paper and the flashy gadgets and see a baby in a manger born 2000 years ago who changed the history of mankind forever; and be reminded of Joseph, who loved a son that wasn’t his own. Furthermore, I want to see myself, once a helpless orphan, as an adopted son of the Lord Almighty – who has EVERYTHING to be thankful for! 2 Corinthians 6:18