Adoption is beautiful. But, it’s ugly too.
We like to gush about the beauty of adoption.
I wear a necklace with a cut-out of Taiwan and Christ’s words in John 14:18 – “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” – promising the Holy Spirit and His second coming.
I believe that earthly adoption serves at a metastory and a shadow of the true Story of God’s redemptive power in adopting me and Lee and Jocelyn. Hopefully, one day when they come to know Him, Robbie and Zoe and future children and grandchildren into His forever family.
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son,born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”
However, consider the Garden of Eden.
Did death or sin turn children into orphans then?
No. Death didn’t happen before sin… and, um, obviously sin didn’t happen before, uh, sin.
So, yes, let’s bask in the beauty of God’s redemption in adoption and God’s act of placing the lonely into families, blessing us and blessing her. And let’s rejoice when Zoe comes home.
But let’s also remember that every earthly adoption is a response to the ugly realities of a fallen world. Let’s also remember that our adoption with gain a child for our family and a family for our Zoe, it also involves loss. Orphans only exist because – whatever the circumstances may be – they lost their birth family.
Don’t get me wrong. I do still believe that adoption is beautiful. I will keep sharing the beauty in adoption.
But, I will also write about the ugliness too.
In Isaiah 61:3, the prophet writes about the glorious exchange of “a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” Would the beauty seem as sweet in the absence of the ashes? Would the joy be as rich without the mourning first? Would the praise be as consuming if it didn’t follow despair?
Let’s keep celebrating the beauty, and let’s remember and be brokenhearted over the brokenness from which the beauty emerges.
________________________________________Shannon and her husband Lee have been married for 7 years, with three children Jocelyn (5), Robbie (3), and Zoe (9 mo). The oldest two are homegrown, and Zoe joined the family via adoption from Taiwan in July 2012. Shannon is a stay-at-home mom, writing about family and faith and whatnot at Dinglefest, who also serves as her church’s special needs ministry coordinator, blogging about that to equip and encourage other churches at The Works of God Displayed. Their adoption of Zoe – including the picture to the left – was documented by The Archibald Project; all the pictures are on Facebook here. The Dingles love to call Raleigh home, and they hope to adopt again in a few years.