I am in the process of thinking though all that God has been doing in our lives over the last few days. As many of you know, I got a call one week ago that changed my life in a moment. It was the call from our adoption agency telling me the story of a little boy who suffered at the hands of his father. “He needs a special daddy, one who is good and kind and can be patient with him” she told me. “We read your file and thought that might be you. Does that sound right? Can you be that Daddy to him?” What do you say to that? Everything in me cried out “I want to be!” but at that same moment all my failings as a dad flashed in my mind. The times I let my exhaustion result in a sharp tone, the times when I’ve parented out of my own weakness or insecurity. All the mistakes and missed opportunities.
“He sounds like a really special boy who needs a family to love him. I will talk to Amy and pray about it. You will hear from us shortly”. That was all I could muster. I sat in my car shell shocked and sobbing. Sobbing for this boy, my son, and from the weight of the question….Can you be that Daddy?
Every year I make a Christmas CD. I know, it seems a bit weird, but it’s just one of those things I fell into over the years. Amy is to blame. I could fill a 10 volume book series on the amazing things about my wife. Chief among her virtues is her kindness. The way she loves those around her is startling and the most beautiful thing in the world to behold. That being said, in that 10 volume “Ode to Amy”, you would be hard pressed to find a description of her love for GOOD music. She does love music, it’s just that a lot of it is, well…. not great to listen to in my opinion. I’m sure you’re thinking her kindness must be unending to live for so long with a jerk like me…you are correct. If she controlled the play list Christmas music would start around Labor Day and end around the 4th of July. I decided if I was doomed to 6 months of Christmas music, I would do my best to find some that’s tolerable to listen to. So that is how 10 years ago, I started making Christmas CD’s.
Now the process of scouring through thousands of Christmas songs is part of my holiday tradition. No joke, I have well over 600 Christmas songs on my iPod right now. Ridiculous… I know. My favorite part of the tradition is that (while listening to Stryper Christmas Reunion Album) I get to refocus my mind on what Christmas is about.
This year, as our adoption is closer than has seemed possible, I reflect on the birth of Christ in a new way. I can only imagine being in a field in the middle of the night, watching my animals as the most important moment in the history of the world is happening right over the next rise. It is still now a thought that makes me fall on my knees. That God would choose a frail and flawed race of people to bear his image. That he would demonstrate his plan for humanity through a baby born to a young girl and an adoptive father who were in poverty. You get a glimpse of the Fathers heart.
I can only scratch the surface of what Joseph must have been feeling. Is this really God’s baby? Was that really God’s angel who appeared to me in my dream? How can I be a father to God’s son? The confusion and fear he must have felt would be paralyzing. Would he even feel worthy to be Jesus’ father?
Truly we are not worthy to be God’s hands and feet to those around us. To those that God has put in our care. As I again reflect on that question “Can you be that Daddy?” I know that I cannot give my son or my other children the full measure of the love they deserve. I know that the love I give is filtered through the broken and frail man that I am, BUT I know who can be that Daddy. And I know that He loves me. And when I press into His love, it can spill out of me and cover those around me. It is a privilege that God uses us to share His heart with those around us. In a new way I learned to say to God… “I will love your kids as best as I can. Forgive me when I fail. Thank you for the pleasure of letting me have them for a while. They are yours to do with as you see fit, because I know you will be a better father than I can ever be. Help me be more like you, Father. Then I can be that Daddy.”
Amy is a business owner and adoptive mommy whose heart has been broken and expanded by loving orphans in Ethiopia. She blogs at Love the Least of These because there is power and transformation in sharing our stories with each other. She and her husband, Ben, and their three children make their home in Colorado Springs where Ben works in orphan advocacy for Children’s HopeChest.