Before I get to the “call that changed everything”…
Almost a year ago, we were returning to the U.S. from our sabbatical. At the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, we logged on to our Facebook accounts and noticed a message from friend and co-worker, Don Diva. Don knew of an adoption attorney in Southern California who was looking for potential candidates interested in adopting an Asian child. Would we be interested? Until then, we never considered adopting domestically. Too complicated, too messy, too risky. There was something more appealing (and seemingly safer) about International Adoption because we could remain blissfully ignorant of whatever calamity surrounded the conception and birth of that orphan. But, after praying about this throughout our flight back to the U.S., we knew that God wanted us to be open to this. Ultimately, that adoption case turned out to be a dead end. Much ado about nothing. It seemed to us like God just wanted us to open ourselves to the possibility of domestic adoption. A lesson in submission, perhaps?
On February 22, 2011, we got another call from Ted, the same California attorney that we connected with a year ago. He was calling because he had a client, an Asian American woman, who was looking for an Asian couple to adopt her baby boy. This woman was due to deliver March 1st and time was of the essence. Are we interested?
In over 25 years of practicing adoption law in Southern California, Ted has only seen a handful of Asian babies put up for adoption and has NEVER had an Asian couple sign up to be adoptive parents. Somehow, God brings us back to his mind even though we had the briefest of interactions a year prior. We were the only candidates that fit the birth mother’s criteria. It would either be us adopting or the boy would be in foster care.
We hadn’t thought about domestic adoption even once since we last spoke to Ted. Our hearts remained focused on waiting out the time until we adopted from China. But, as Ted went over the available details surrounding this woman’s pregnancy and desire to put her child up for adoption, our hearts broke. For so long, we had been afraid of domestic adoption precisely because of circumstances like hers. Too complicated, too messy, too risky…right? But, when confronted with a real-life situation and the future of real-life baby, the one thing we distinctly sensed the Lord communicating to us was, “Do not be afraid. Bring this to me in prayer and see what I will do.”
When we prayed, we were continuously brought back to the Gospel. Galatians 4:4-7 resonated like a hundred church bells in our hearts.
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
Every time I thought about adopting this child, I would be reminded of the fact that we are all orphans, ransomed back to the family of God as nothing short of sons and heirs through the blood of Christ. The Doctrine of Adoption became more real, more precious, and more beautiful to me than ever before. Every point of fear and hesitation that we had about adopting this child was overcome by God in His adoption of me. Dealing with complications and hassles? Rescuing out of dark and dire circumstances? Coming at great expense? Crossing barriers of morality and culture? Jesus overcame all of those obstacles and more, in infinitely greater measures, in order to adopt me. The fact that this unborn child already faced a future in foster care screamed of the opportunity to live out the Gospel through adoption.
The next day, on February 23, we called Ted back and told him that we would like to start the process of adopting this soon-to-be-born baby boy. In what might seem to be a short time, we had arrived at a point of certainty that God wanted us to adopt this child. Sometimes, we still find ourselves surprised by things that we’re anticipating. But, like all of the truly best surprises, we never saw this one coming! In about 24 hours, being parents went from something far-off and beyond our grasp (like it’d always felt) to something imminent. Imminent as in something that could happen in less than a week!
Looking back, it’s a good thing that we felt certain. We would need that sense of certainty in order to face what was ahead…