Monday, December 31, 2007

Adoption Process

“…that we might receive the adoption of sons…” Galatians 4:5

Over the past several years I have experienced an unexpected blessing. Families across the United States adopting orphans in China from the Jinan Social Welfare Institute come across my website when they search for information on the organization. They also find photos I have posted over the years of our visits to the orphanage. In their excitement at the “found” information they send emails and ask for more insight into the place their future children are coming from. I have learned through their correspondence this “adoption process” can be long, expensive, and frustrating.

Shortly before I left for India in October, I was again contacted by an adoptive family. The children at the orphanage in Jinan are all disabled in some way and over the years I have watched them grow with little physical therapy or treatment for their various medical conditions. The child the family told me they were adopting was a girl severely burned, her face badly scarred and without fingers on either of her hands.

At first, the news that a family would adopt this girl (Fu Bing) astounded me. The future medical costs, trying to help her overcome the trauma through years of counseling all seemed too much for anyone to be willing to sign up for. Then through the ensuing correspondence of Fu Bing’s new mother, I could see an unexpected and touching example of our own Adopted Father’s love towards us:

“…We are so happy to be her Mommy and Daddy!!! I can’t wait until she feels like a part of our family. I have been sending care packages to her and other adoptive parents have taken things to her. I think what I would like for you to give her from us is the knowledge that we will be there soon to bring her home. I wonder, like many adoptive parents of older children, if she knows that we are doing everything we can to bring her home. I want her to know that I would leave on a plane today if I could. I want her to not wonder if we are coming. WE ARE and with bells on as the saying goes…”

The prayer I will be praying for you and for myself in 2008, is that we come into a fuller understanding of how happy our heavenly Father is to be called “Abba”. No matter how disfigured, unworthy, unlovely, unwanted, we feel about ourselves and our “inner” selves, we have a Father who continually sends us “care packages” through others and through His indwelling Spirit:

“Long before He laid down the earth’s foundations, He had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of His love, to be made whole and holy by His love. Long, long ago He decided to adopt us into His family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure He took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of His lavish gift-giving by the hand of His beloved Son….” Gal 5-8

I pray that through working together as ministry partners practicing “pure religion undefiled,” we can show many more thousands of orphans (real and spiritual) around the world, they have a Father, doing everything He can to “bring them home.” I pray through our visits, attention, outreach and humanitarian efforts, individuals know and experience, He is coming and He is reaching out to them with outstretched arms and an open heart. And I pray that we KNOW what we know.

Smiling as a favored child!