THE TAKE AWAY
Adopted by Father-God
By Kersley Fitzgerald
I was sitting in the coffee shop at Barnes and Noble with my girls. We'd had JT for about two weeks. Ronna sat to the left. The previous month, God had granted her deepest wish: identical twin boys. She had hoped she'd have the twins before she already had three at home, but nevermind. Kris was to the right. She was expecting twin girls in less than a month. She already had five. Her oldest was seven. Did I mention she homeschools? Catheryn was in the middle. With three already, she desperately wanted more, but for now she was content to take care of us.
I was wiped. JT wouldn't sleep without crying for ninety minutes first. Dev had gone back to work. My little introverted self was caving in on itself like a raisin. I'd known this would be the issue. And I knew I was growing, with God's grace, into someone who could handle all this. But, unlike the feeling I'd gotten on our wedding day (Thonk! "You now know how to be married!"), I knew this was going to be a long road.
Ronna was talking about her boys. They did not look like month-old twins. They looked like toddlers. Her biceps were so big from holding them that her arms strained her shirt. And all that heavy nursing had almost gotten her down to her original weight again.
Catheryn gave an update on the other couple in our Bible study. Charley had gotten a blood clot in his leg, but was doing well. She asked Ronna if she could come over and "scrub potties" — Catheryn-speak for clean her house.
Kris was talking about c-sections. She'd had one with her number five, and the doctors were pressuring her to repeat with the girls. "But, if I do, they'll never let me deliver natural again, and I have such easy deliveries!"
Again? I thought. She wants more?
They continued talking. All Catheryn's son's fish had died, but she was finding such beauty in the coral that remained. Kris couldn't come up with names for the two to come, yet. Ronna's dad was sick again.
I tried to focus. Dev was home alone with JT. And when Dev was home alone with JT, all JT did was cry. As soon as I came home, I'd get the report — "First he cried by the window and then he..." This weekly group and my Saturday-morning run were my only down times. I'd had to switch to directed study in my drafting classes because JT couldn't handle daycare, and Sunday school was even worse — he'd cry until he'd throw up. I wanted to suck the marrow out of this evening, but I was finding it hard to concentrate. What had we done?
Kris looked across the table at me. "You look terrible."
I tried to focus my bleary eyes.
She sat back. "You're bringing JT over tomorrow and you're going home and going to bed."
To her house? With her five kids and her two on the way?
"But — "
At one the next afternoon, I walked into Kris's controlled chaos feeling about forty pounds lighter. The two older boys were outside, possibly playing their favorite game of "Egyptian soldiers killing all the Jewish babies." (Boys!) The eighteen-month-old was wandering around in a pull-up, having miraculously potty-trained himself weeks before the twin's arrival. Kris was with the youngest girl, working on school.
The oldest, seven, walked up to me, JT on her hip.
"He cries a lot," she said.
"Yeah," I said. "He does that." Of course he did. Here he is surrounded by fun kids and more toys than he knows what to do with, and all he does is cry.
She pursed her lips. "He cried the whole time." She looked down at him, clinging to her shoulders. "Unless I was holding him."
I smiled at yet another of God's glimpses into His world. How many times had I been perfectly cared for, surrounded by blessings, and all I could look at was the fact I had no control?
I took my son from her and went to thank her mom.
The fact that our adoption was so hard was due in part to the loving care of JT's foster family. He'd been with them from month 2 to month 17. He was completely attached — which is good. It meant he'd...eventually...attach to us. But, man, it was hard. Through it all, though, God has given us little nudges. Little whispers. "See? That's what I meant." And we take a breath and wonder how on Earth God put up with us for so long.
It won't work if you're not qualified for the job. We spent four years on our homestudy, answering questions, taking personality tests, getting background checks. All to see if we were up for this adoption stuff. Dev continually said, "If everyone had to go through this to have a kid, there'd be a lot fewer kids out there!" Even when it's all said and done, there's still that nagging feeling — "What are we doing?!"
Jesus' homestudy lasted about 33 years. God-the-social-worker made sure His house was stocked (John 14:3), made sure He had all the skills to get it done (Matthew 12:18), and put Jesus through the most intense personality test ever (Luke 4:1-13). The fifty-question survey is nothing by comparison, but the adoption rests on the qualification of the new parents. News stories abound showing there is no safety in adoptive parents who can't do the job. Children can only rest in the arms of parents who are strong and loving. God proved He has what it takes.
No matter how many people help, the adoption is the parent's responsibility. I honestly thought that the process of adoption was us throwing money at people and them doing things I didn't pay attention to. I couldn't have been more wrong. We were responsible for every piece of paper in the process.
None of this requires any effort on the part of the child. The child lives his life, eats chicken soup, grows, and plays with his dogs and cats. The big acceptance fee we had to pay went toward his expenses, including social workers and foster family. We were surrounded by social workers, admin clerks, government officials (in both countries) and more social workers. But, when it came down to it, we were responsible for the adoption, not them.
In the same way, God is responsible for adopting us. He uses preachers and friends and family and radio hosts, but in the end, He reaches down and says, "That one's mine." No one gets in between Him and His kids.
He is yours. He just doesn't know it yet. The time from referral (when we get the picture and have to answer, "Do you want this one?") to travel was only a few months. JT's social worker in Thailand was pregnant, and they wanted to clear her files before she delivered. But it was still a surreal experience.
I can't remember which child it was — I think Zahara. Angelina Jolie had picked her out, but the State Department hadn't authorized the adoption yet. So Angelina stayed in Africa with her. She got a lot of criticism, but what people don't realize is that the court doesn't dictate the moment the kid becomes the child of your heart. That usually happens much earlier, often when you get the first picture. Instead of, "We're adopting from Thailand," it becomes, "Our son is on a farm outside of Bangkok."
Predestination and free will are messy concepts, but from God's perspective, He has kids down here who don't yet know they belong to Him. They aren't in His arms, yet. They may not even know His name. But He can look down on Earth and say, "My daughter is in Bogota. I'm coming to get her pretty soon." Which almost sounds creepy, doesn't it? But in God's heart, it's already done. She belongs to Him.
For all intents and purposes, there is no difference between adopted kids and natural. Dave and Di had three kids by birth, but they'd always wanted to adopt. They went to Russia and found a boy nearly the same age as their middle son. You cannot tell which of the four kids is adopted. Scott and Chris, two pale, round-faced Southerners, went to China. They adopted a boy and a girl — both with albinism. You have never seen two Chinese kids who look more like their white parents!
JT is from Thailand. Dev and I are Caucasian. It's pretty obvious. Well, to us. Funny how kids have no concept why that the black-haired, dark-skinned boy wouldn't be our kid. And when we lived in Hawaii people just assumed whichever parent was with him had married a local. He looks like he was born on the islands, and there are so many multi-ethnic marriages in Hawaii that people had no reason to think he was adopted.
Some people have a hard time understanding that it was always God's intent to call the Gentiles to Himself. They think we're second-class citizens that got the Jews' scraps. What they don't realize is that the Jews were adopted, too. God only has one Son — Jesus. God chose Abraham. He chose to adopt an individual to invite others to be adopted in. The whole predestination/free will argument is as confusing as the whole which-child-do-you-get issue, but in the end, the adopted kids are no different than the natural ones. They all grab hold of the dog's lips, lick rainwater off the car, use a push broom to clean the hood of the Mustang, drain your bank account, and call you, "Mommy."
I was right that God wanted me to have a kid, even if I didn't want one. His ways are higher, and all that. I knew He wanted me to understand myself and my relationship with Him better. I just never expected that part of the adoption process would be me understanding God more.
Next time: We thought we were adopting him, but he had to adopt us, too.
Adoption, The Series
Part 1: Adopting a New Way to Look at God
Part 2: Adopted by Father-God
Part 3: Adopting a New Life
Part 4: A Whole New World
Part 5: Adoption is Forever
Tags: Biblical-Salvation | Calvinism-Tulip | Family-Life | God-Father | Personal-Life
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