In April of 2010, on the same day that we boarded a plane en route to Serbia to adopt our daughter, news broke of a woman in Tennessee putting her seven-year old adopted son on a plane (all by himself) and sending him back to Russia. We got scared!
By the time we arrived in Serbia our email inboxes were filled with concern over all adoptions from that region of the world coming to a halt. We got a little more scared.
After meeting with ministry officials and facing the issues surrounding our own adoption, we stopped being scared. We got angry. Righteously angry. The Serbia officials involved with our adoption watched Sofija beat the crap out of us day after day after day. And they asked, “Are you sure you want her to be your daughter?” “Do you understand that you can’t send her back to Serbia?” Some woman in Tennessee, that I had never heard of before, who I am quite certain spent years and thousands of dollars to adopt her son, had now created a roadblock for us in our efforts to bring our daughter home. I don’t often feel contempt for someone I’ve never met. This was an exception.
In the moments when I struggled with taking Sofija away from her foster family and all that she had ever known, I struggled because I knew the taking away would be FOREVER(for more on how hard those days were click here . I knew that the moment we pointed our fingers back at ourselves and slowly spoke the words, “I’m Mama.” and “I’m Tata”, it was FOREVER. We could not ask her to identify us as her parents until we were willing to accept her as our daughter. Period.
Before we adopted Sofija, before I read dozens of books on adoption and subscribed to countless blogs on the subject, I had some basic understanding of what it meant to be adopted.
Romans 8:15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he ADOPTED you as his own children. Now we call him, “Father.”
Galatians 4:5 God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could ADOPT us as his very own children.
I was adopted. I have a biological mother and father, but I was adopted into God’s family. Notice that there is no mention in those verses of a time limit on that adoption. There are no contractual clauses that give God an out if He gets sick of being my father. Lord knows I’ve done PLENTY in this life to give him reason to send me back to wherever it is I came from. But he doesn’t work that way. He adopted me forever.
This past spring I participated in a Beth Moore Bible study on the book of James. I missed out on several weeks while traveling to Louisiana to spend time with my grandmother at the end of her life and God loves me so much that our new church is offering it this summer. So, I started it all over again last week. James is a hard book. For about a decade it’s been my favorite book of the Bible, but it’s a hard one to digest. James doesn’t pull any punches. He says things like, “Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and not do it.” and that we should “count it all joy when we are faced with trials of many kinds.” Like I said. He doesn’t pull any punches.
So, there’s this one little verse in James that adoptive families use all the time and that the rest of the body of Christ (including most preachers) would rather just skip over.
James 1:27 Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.
I really struggle with anger towards Christians who pretend like that verse doesn’t exist. We have a God-given mandate to look out for orphans. And there’s more…
In Matthew 18:5 Jesus said, “And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me.” And… Matthew 25:40 And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these…. you were doing it to me!’ And a little further down the page…. Matthew 25:45 “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these…. you were refusing to help me.’
Don’t know about you, but I read those and I go straight back to the words of James….
“Remember it is sin to know the good you ought to do, and not do it.”
Which brings me back to the lady from Tennessee who sent her son back to Russia. He was her son. She adopted him. She did not just sign a contractual agreement with the government of Russia to take care of him. She made a covenant agreement with God to adopt one of HIS children and to care for that child FOREVER… or til she dies, or Jesus comes back.
Tonight, as I was reading the news headlines, a story caught my eye.
Apparently, some judge gets it. He gets that the Tennessee lady (who now lives in California) made a covenant agreement to be a mother to “the least of these”. And now, the lady will pay child support for the boy that she worked so hard to make her own, and then sent away. Feel free to leave comments stating your opinion on the matter. 🙂
Aren’t you thankful that God always supports us? Better yet, aren’t you glad that he never sends us away?!
Aren’t you thankful for a God who is….
Psalm 68:5-6 Father to the fatherless, defender of widows—
this is God, whose dwelling is holy.
God places the lonely in families;
he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.
But he makes the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.
As for my own little former orphan… She is going to summer school. Yesterday she came home with a note that said, “Today Sofija led THE WHOLE SCHOOL in the pledge.” I have to be honest. I had no clue that she even knew the pledge. So I asked her to say it for me… 🙂 Yw2xQ9iMJ48