“How was I adopted? Where did you find me?”
The question, unexpected but not unanticipated, came from the back seat on a cool fall afternoon, as we were en route to a Cub Scout event to watch a soccer game at the local YMCA. We were listening to “I’m Adopted,” a song written for an adopted son on Randall Goodgame’s amazing Slugs and Bugs album Under Where?. The question was unexpected because—although we’d discussed his adoption with him many times previously—Wolverine had never previously expressed an actual interest in his story.
Here he was, a month shy of 6, and now, finally, it became clear to him that his story was different from that of his other siblings. We’d been anticipating questions like these since the first time we held his tiny preemie body in our arms five Decembers ago. And still, despite the fact that we’d had literally his whole life to come up with answers, I was caught dumbfounded.
The short answer to this innocent question was, honestly, that God had brought him to us, rather than the other way around. Miranda and I were in Honduras on a mission trip the day he’d been born (six or seven weeks before his due date). Although his adoption had been discussed previously, his birth-parents had recently closed that door to us.
We were at peace with their decision, but they called us three weeks later, on Pearl Harbor Day, asking us to reconsider. To say that we were unprepared might have been an understatement—we had done nothing to prepare for an adoption. Nothing. We prayed for God’s clarity, seeking His wisdom and provision for what seemed at the time to be an insurmountable challenge. We felt He was telling us to proceed with the adoption—after all, the God we serve is the God of the alien, the fatherless, and the widow, and this baby was in need.
Many of you know the incredible details of how God worked in Wolverine’s life and ours to bring his adoption to completion. I’ll summarize the experience by saying this: never in my life have I had a chance to so directly witness the miraculous intervention of our God and His church in the lives of His people as often and as directly as we did in those three short weeks between December 7 and December 28, when Miranda arrived at the airport in Houston, with all three of our young children in tow, cradling the newest one in her arms.
So, Wolverine, God brought you to us. Your birth-parents loved you enough to know that you needed parents like your mommy and me to care for you, and God gave us you. Oh, and we found you in Indiana. And no, it doesn’t “take like a week” to drive there. Most days.
“How was I adopted? Where did you find me?”
As I roll my own son’s questions around in my head, I think about how the Heavenly Father found and adopted me. God says, through King David in the book of Psalms, that before I was, He knew me.
For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them. (Psalms 139:13-16 NASB)
He knew who I was before I did. In essence, He’s known where I was since I ever was to be found. Later, as told in the book of Luke, Jesus describes the heavenly joy expressed when those who we’re lost are found.
So He told them this parable, saying, “What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. (Luke 15:3-7 NASB)
I was wondering, lost, without direction, away from my shepherd. God didn’t sit on His throne, waiting for me to come back. He went looking for me, found me in my lost state, met me where I was, and brought me back home. Finally, Paul tells us in Romans 8 that we, as believers, have the Holy Spirit speaking on our behalf as adopted children of God.
For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God. (Romans 9:14-16 NASB)
I know that my God has known me since before I existed. I know that my God sought me out, and that there was rejoicing in heaven when I was found, and turned to Him. And I know that I have the special status as an adopted son of the Most High God, so that I can directly address Him any time I desire.
That’s how I’ve been adopted. That’s where He found me. Turns out, Wolverine and I have something else in common. And that’s pretty cool.