Brandy and I are excited tonight to get to share at the "Adoption: Myths and Realities" workshop that our church is doing. The myth that we are going to attempt to put to rest tonight is "Adoption is second best." Thought I'd share our thoughts on this.
First of all, we realized that it is somewhat difficult for us to talk on this matter because it is so foreign to us. Before we ever got married, both of us had a dream that someday we would adopt, so when we found out about our infertility, while we definitely mourned that loss, it was not a huge leap to begin to think of building our family through adoption. It was never second best to us, just one of two options for building a family. We realized that this isn't true for everyone, but why is that?
That question led us to explore what is at the foundation of that conviction, and that led us to the very core of our faith. When I am most moved as I consider my faith, is when I consider my relationship to God, not as a servant or friend of God, but as a child of His. My absolute favorite verse in all of Scripture is 1 John 3:1 which says, "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" The Word of God is FULL of descriptions like this of our relationship to God as a child to a Father. But how is this accomplished? It is through this beautiful miracle known as adoption, and as Ephesians 1:3-6 reminds us, adoption was a part of God's plan from before the beginning of the universe. Verses 4 & 5 specifically says, "For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will." John Piper pointed out this simple observation in a video you can find on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgNXQ2CazUg (as soon as I learn to post videos to the blog from Youtube, I'll do that). What Paul points out here is incredibly profound as we consider our salvation and our standing as children of God and heirs with Christ of the riches of heaven, namely, that adoption in Him, through Him (Jesus Christ) and to the glory of our God is no consolation prize!!! To view it that way would be to ignore this Scripture and to see the Fall of Man as the defeat of God. In other words, when we consider adoption as second best or a consolation prize, we are saying that Satan won in the Garden when he snagged Adam and Eve, that God was somehow shocked by this turn of events, and changed course to Plan B which was Jesus and his sacrificial atonement for our sins that enables us to be adopted, but not legitimate children of God. Absolute heresy!! Nothing could be further from the truth. God, as Piper points out, created the universe as the stage for His glory to be displayed through adoption of His chosen ones which He had already "predestined" before "Let there be light!" was ever uttered!!! That's no second place prize. That's an infinitely wise, loving, and gracious God's Plan A for having eternal fellowship with His children. That's what John meant when he talked about the love that God has "lavished" on us (such a great word, by the way).
So, you can consider the Abrahamic Covenant as a display of God's miracle of adoption, not only by how he adopted the nation of Israel, but how he told Abraham from day one, "all peoples of the earth will be blessed through you" (Genesis 12:3), stage setting for adoption. And on and on the Story, God's Story, plays out with this glorious thread of adoption running through it.
This is the truth that prevents us from ever considering that adoption is somehow a consolation prize for us. Josiah and Selah and this little one waiting for us in Ethiopia are fully ours, fully loved by us, and have the assurance of being a Butler forever because of the miracle of adoption. That God would allow us to participate with him in this miracle is further evidence of the abundant grace of our King. I love how Piper describes adoption, not as a phony piecing together of a family, but "phenomenally at the center of reality" in light of God's revelation of Himself through His Word.
Because of this, adoption is something to be celebrated, not lamented, and that is the way it is in our family. The other day, Brandy was sharing with Josiah about some friends of ours who had a new baby, and Josiah asked, "Where is their birth mommy?" Brandy explained to Josiah that their birth mommy was also their Forever Mommy, to which Josiah replied, "Well, that's OK," as if to say, "That's sad for them, but they'll be all right." I love it that he thinks that way.
We clearly have a burden for the millions of orphans who are left orphaned by the ignorance of people who think this way about adoption, but we are burdened for those who feel that their heart could never love a child that wasn't "their own." How sad for them. I can't wait to blow that myth up! I really believe that at the heart of this ignorance is a weak or skewed view of the gospel of God and His eternal plan of salvation through adoption. In addition, I think people consider this horizontal adoption and separate it completely from the vertical adoption they have been offered by God. If I can encourage my brothers and sisters in Christ to link the two, I believe that many others will be burdened to adopt.
We are blessed to be adoptive parents. I don't believe there is anything closer to the heart of God than this. It is by this that we call God, "Abba, Father!" If that's my consolation prize, sign me up!