My wife and I recently returned from adopting our two year old daughter in Ethiopia. We began this journey nearly four and a half years ago. We spent just under three weeks in Ethiopia finalizing the adoption and returned the week before Christmas. While I still have much to process about this experience, here are some lessons I have learned thus far about our adoption journey.
- Adoption is hard. Many may see adoption as a glamorous picture, but the reality is that adoption is hard on everyone involved. The family adopting as well as the child being adopted all experience the challenges of this journey. There are many highs and lows throughout the process. Good news is often accompanied by not so good news. Learning to trust in God’s timing and plan is necessary.
- Adoption is a picture of the gospel. Paul says we “have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father'” (Rom 8:15)! Abba Father is a personal and intimate term only those who belong to God can use. We are able to call God our Father because we have received the Spirit through faith in Jesus. We once were not children of God, but now we have been brought into His family through Jesus. Our daughter, too, once had no family of her own, but now belongs to our family and calls me “daddy.”
- Adoption is a relentless pursuit. When my wife and I began this journey four and a half years ago, we did not realize how relentless we must be. We said we would pursue our daughter no matter the cost or challenge, but we had no idea what that would entail. On the day that we met our daughter for the first time, she ran away from us crying. She wanted nothing to do with us…at first. We were not deterred by her resistance. In fact, we were determined all the more to pursue her. Oh, how this pursuit reminds me of God’s pursuit of us. Though we wanted nothing to do with God, He pursued us at all cost (Titus 3:3-7).
- Adoption is permanent. On the day of our court appointment with the judge, he asked us if we realized that this adoption is permanent. “Absolutely!” we replied. Our daughter, on that day, became a permanent part of our family. While in God’s plan this was certain before time, on that court date it became a realized reality. She is now part of her forever family. Again, what a reminder of God’s permanent adoption of us into His family. Nothing can separate us from His love (Rom 8:31-39).
While I will continue to learn lessons from my daughter, I am grateful for these past few weeks with her. Adoption is not easy, but neither was the cross. In order to bring us into His family, God gave everything (John 3:16). He relentlessly pursued us in order bring us into His forever family.