The Ridiculous Grace of Adoption
Have you ever heard of the game Two Truths and a Lie? It's a game where each person shares three statements about herself, but only two are true. The other people in the group try to guess which statement is the lie.
I'm a pro at this game because I have a secret weapon. The key is having one really outrageous truth that sounds like a lie. My truth is that "my parents were at the circus when I was born," and since people assume that my parents probably weren't carnies, they assume that's my lie.
My parents really were at the circus when I was born. I'm sure they were having a great time with my older brother, but I was at the hospital . . . being born.
The explanation: I was adopted at birth.
The adoption agency my parents used had a policy that if a sibling was old enough, he could go back with the caseworker and actually carry the child out to the parents. So my brother, Jeremy, carried me out to my parents. I did not look exactly like a Gerber baby. I had been delivered with forceps that left a slight indentation on one side of my face and temporarily pinched a nerve, which made my mouth hang down on one side. But when my brother carried me out in his 6-year-old arms, he presented me to my parents and said, "Isn't she pretty? Doesn't she look just like me?"
For me, being adopted is a picture of God's total sovereign control over all of the specific details he lovingly orchestrates in our lives. Over time, I have come to recognize a theme in my life of what I call ridiculous grace.
I'm talking about the times God intervenes in our lives in such flagrant, extreme ways. He interrupts the logical order of things, and turns everything upside down in the best way possible. He took me from being an unplanned pregnancy, to being a much-wanted "chosen child."
And there's the gospel—things were going along one way, but God intervened, and changed everything, because he's God and he's good and sovereign.
When God adopts us into his family, it's a picture of what Christ has done to come and save us and bring us to the Father. And when Christ, our elder brother, presents us to his Father he says, "Isn't she pretty, doesn't she look just like me?" The Father loves and accepts us because of what Christ has done on our behalf.
In the past few years, my experience of adoption has taken on new meaning in a lot of wonderful ways. Watching my brother and sister-in-law adopt my nephew, Nate, and seeing how he is so clearly a part of our family since before the foundation of the world, I "get it" on a whole new level. I had the immense privilege of going to the final court appointment when Nate was legally adopted as their child. That is the ceremony after the first few months when a judge pronounces that the adopted child is legally yours.
When the judge was finishing the proceedings, he said, "When I drop this gavel, it will be just as if Nate had been born to you." I felt like I was in the inner circle with Nate and knew what he would one day know, that the judge spoke the truth, and that it had been that way since long before the gavel dropped.
And as I watched my brother, his eyes welling up with tears, hold his now-legal son, I knew that it is great to be right with the judge, but it is so much greater to be loved by the father. The one who would stop at nothing to have you as his own.
Earthly Version of God's Gift
In the past few years, this theme of adoption has become a part of my daily professional life. Having been adopted, I've always assumed I had somewhat of a near-miss in that my biological parents may have considered the choice not to continue with the pregnancy. So I've always considered myself naturally and fully pro-life.
God faithfully provided a job for me at an organization called Heroic Media. We're a national organization that uses mass media messaging on television, radio, the Internet and billboards to connect women in crisis with help and hope at pro-life pregnancy resource centers.
As I learned more about the circumstances surrounding so many unplanned pregnancies, I saw the hopeless nature of many of those situations. I felt called to share with women about hopeful alternatives.
It's because someone shared with my birth mother about the option of adoption that I am alive today and had the joy of becoming a mother myself this summer. Through my pregnancy and in the moment I met my baby girl, I gained a new and deeper appreciation for the selfless love that is embodied in motherhood and particularly in adoption.
I was born out of what I imagine at times felt like a hopeless situation, but because of God's providence in giving my biological parents the courage to give me life, I have a life defined by hope. I want other people to have that life, to see the picture of redemption and hope painted by God in Christ.
God has given us an indescribable gift in adopting us as sons and daughters. And I believe you will find that the gift of participating in the earthly version of adoption is a pretty fantastic fringe benefit.