Shayna, can you give us a tiny glimpse into how God moved your heart towards adoption?
I can’t pinpoint the exact time or date or event that made me think, “I really want to adopt children one day”. Perhaps it was a series of small events that opened my heart and mind to it – a friend who told me stories of her precious younger siblings who came to them through adoption, a co-worker who kept us up to date on the events of their adoption process, a brother who told us about his mission trips to orphanages.
But we can pinpoint the moment we decided to take action. For a few years, we walked with our friends as they journeyed to bring home their children: 3 siblings, ages 3, 5 and 7. We had initially thought that we would begin the adoption process “someday” – adopting one child at a time after we had several older biological children. It hadn’t occurred to us that we could adopt first, that we could adopt more than one child at once, or that we could adopt children and not just infants. The same summer that they brought their children home, we began our own process to adopt. We have always wanted to build a family through adoption, though we hadn’t really considered that the model we’ve seen (have biological kids first, then adopt) isn’t the one we had to follow. When we decided to begin the adoption process, it was an easy decision for us to adopt from Uganda as we have both spent time there through Andrew’s work and have a deep love for the people and culture there.
Adoption has been our greatest blessing, both for us as individuals and as a family, because it is the real portrayal of our salvation and redemption. When we adopted our children, we didn’t do it because they found us and asked to be in our family. We knew them first and loved them before they ever saw our faces. We are one family, under one name and no longer distinguished by our differences: Ankole, Buganda, English or German.
The Bible tells us how we were once far away from God, but because of His great love for us, He adopted us as His sons in Christ Jesus (Eph 1:5). It’s not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sin (1 John 4:10). When we come into God’s family through adoption, there is no longer Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free – but we are one in Christ Jesus (Gal 3:28). We who were fatherless now have a Father. We who had no family are now called “brother” by Christ (Heb 2:11); we who had no citizenship now have citizenship in a heavenly place (Heb 11:16); we who had nothing now share in the inheritance of God (1 Peter 1:4).
As I reflect on our adoption of our earthly and heavenly families, I can’t help but wonder: what would life look like if we really understood our adoption into God’s family? We in the church say that we are “brothers and sisters”, but what if we really understood that it’s not just something that we say – that we really are family, regardless of shared DNA? That we are brothers with Christ and co-heirs with Him? That we have a new citizenship with new rights and responsibilities? What if we somehow grasped that we have absolutely nothing – not even the clothes on our back – but now we have a Father who will meet our every need and give us such a glorious inheritance that we cannot begin to fathom?
May we know it, Lord! Praise Your great name for adopting us as your sons and blessing us with every spiritual blessing in Christ!