Sunday, January 20, 2013
Adoption Week: Bloodlines, Co-Heirs, and Redefining Family
I find it interesting that on our date day we watched "The Odd Life of Timothy Green," (his choice, not mine). I knew nothing of the plot but that an odd boy shows up to a family unable to have children, and he happens to have green leaves on his legs.
But God is not a God of coincidence. Everything He does is with purpose.
If you've seen the movie you know it is an adoption story--and here I am finishing up adoption week on the blog. (Sorry this post is late).
If there is one thing adoption has taught me more than anything, reiterated in The Odd Life of Timothy Green, it is that "family" is not contingent on bloodline. I don't think I would have said it pre-adoption, but I know it to be true today.
I recall a girlfriend (another adoptive mother) telling me while we were in our adoption process that her adoptions helped her understand better her own adoption into God's family. It sounded like fussy jargon.
Yeah, yeah, I'm a co-heir. Yep, God's "adopted" me into the "Big God Story."
In principle, I could read Galatians 4:7 and comprehend what it said. And I believed it to be true because the Bible said it. But I didn't experientially understand it.
And then I held my son.
And comforted him.
And knew the little details in his face.
And discovered he doesn't like potatoes.
And loves the water.
And can drum even though he's only four.
Even though on the outside he was different, and even though his DNA was different, he was my boy, grafted in, in the most unnatural, absolute reality. I loved him.
There was no separating.
And that's when I realized, there is no separating with me and God either. I too am grafted in, as a Daughter of the Living God, in the most unnatural, absolute reality.
He LOVES me.
A year after we finalized our adoption of the Bean, I had another breakthrough.
At that time I was borderline obsessed with a blood relationship that wasn't what I wished. I was chronically disappointed by the reality of the relationship. I prayed over and over for a connection with this person. I felt like a needy puppy, chasing the affection of someone who didn't really want me.
I lamented to God, and this is what I heard:
"Haven't you learned anything, my daughter? Why are you putting so much emphasis on that one relationship, that one blood relative, when I have given you FAMILY through the gift of adoption? You have so many people in your life who play the role you crave from that one person. Stop putting that relationship on the pedestal. Look at the family you already have!"
Immediately, I let go. Yes, it was that easy.
I see that one blood relationship now and I am grateful for what it is, but I also don't feel bound to that person like I once did. I am attached, bonded, to a family bigger than my biological family. I am loyal to more than my birth family. This does not mean I do not love my biological family immensely, or that I'm not grateful for every piece of what they've given me. But now I see my role in His family as greater than my first family.
And so I see that adoption gave me more than just a son. It gave me a shipyard of relatives: brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, mothers and fathers, and grandparents galore. And the greatest gift adoption gave me was the experiential understanding of my relationship with my own perfect Father.
I'm looking forward to next week's "Subject of the Week:" small groups for churches. (I am no expert, but I'll share about what I've learned leading a small group, some incredible curricula you might want to check out if you are a small group leader at your church, and some ideas for pastors for how to equip small group leaders like me. So stay tuned!)