Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Need to Belong

I've been thinking about this for awhile; just haven't got to the place where my thoughts are organized enough to really put it into words. I still haven't, but decided that maybe I should just start writing and see what happens.

I know some really incredible people; people that are so willing to go beyond what most people do in order to help those that are so much less fortunate than most--especially when it comes to kids.  At my church there is a family that is in the final stages of adopting their fourth child from China. You can read about their story here.

Another woman is opening her life to a young boy from China and so looking forward to the day when he will be here in his new home with his "forever" family.

I spent part of yesterday with a family that has a young boy that they adopted from Guatemala.

As I observe these stories unfolding and note the impact that these adults (and others like them) are having on the lives of these kids, I can't help but wonder what their young lives would be like without the intervention of such loving parents.  I wonder how their adult lives as children of adoption will differ from what their adult lives as orphans would have been.  I know that some of these kids are in orphanages in China because they are girls and families are limited to the number of children they can have. Or because they have physical defects or health issues and are left behind so that couples can pursue a healthy baby boy. Often children are victims of poverty and parents give them up in hopes that they will have a better life -- or in hopes that they will just have life beyond the few years before poverty and disease claim them as another child statistic.

I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like not to have a family; not to have a mom and dad that love and protect you. I can't imagine not having siblings to play with; to fight with; to plan with; to share life with.  I can't imagine the feeling of being alone in the world with no one to share a bond that is beyond friendship; a bond that can only be described as family.

In the United States, family heritage seems to have less importance than it once did.  In many cultures, you still are judged by your family name.  It is often a disgrace or matter of great shame not to have a family or a father. To be given the gift of a name--a family name--is a gift that is invaluable. It is a gift that can't be purchased, only received.

When I see these stories, I can't help think that this is the picture of our own adoption into the family of God.
I know that there is a great cost when it comes to adoptions of any kind and tons of red tape to get through (especially with international adoptions).  It takes more than desire to bring about a successful adoption -- it takes a willingness to give up a part of yourself and a willingness to change your life and how you are defined by the people close to you.  It takes pouring yourself into a young life and making that life more important than your own.

As children in the family of God, our adoption has been purchased with a great price. We share an inheritance with our Lord and Savior, Jesus. We have been granted status as sons and daughters of the Living God.

And just as a child in an earthly family can tarnish the reputation of a family by bad behavior, so we are able to give Christianity a bad name by our bad behavior and by our fighting with one another.  If we would just stop long enough to remember what our lives would be like without God; without hope; would we continue to act the way we do?  We have the opportunity to invite others to share in our fortune; to become brothers and sisters that have been adopted into the family of God.  When they see us, is there any incentive for them to want what we have? Are we full of the love of God? Do we have great joy in bragging about our "family" as we share our story with others?

To all of my friends that have given this great gift to a child in need, I thank you for reminding me of the great gift that I have been given and for the encouragement to live up to the reputation of my Father and His family.

John <><

The words to this song really tell the story.


Emily said...

I don't know what the song is since the link is not found.. but another is "When Love takes you In" by Stephen Curtis Chapman. I am in awe of these families taking on the responsibility of children through adoption.

John said...

Sorry the link didn't work for you, Emily. Here's the direct youtube address for you to copy and paste:

John said...

forgot ... 246.8