The other day I was in Target picking up some necessities when I encountered I very helpful female employee in the electronics section. After a brief moment of small talk, the topic of our conversation turned to the domestic adoption journey that Hannah and I recently embarked on. Many of you may know that we are currently on a long wait list for a daughter from Ethiopia, but few may know that in the past few weeks the LORD opened an incredible door for us to adopt a son domestically. Without going into all the details here (you can visit my wife’s blog for those @ http://www.hannahhough.blogspot.com/ ), the conversation about adoption prompted the young Target employee to ask the question that I am sure is on many minds. Why? Why are you adopting?
Doubtless, there will be some that think that my wife and I are losing our minds to pursue domestic adoption while waiting on our foreign adoption, but for those that are still willing to give us a hearing, I want to attempt to answer this question in the manner that I answered it when that sweet employee asked just a few nights ago.
Ultimately, people exist for the purpose of reflecting the glory of their Creator. 1 Cor. 10:31 says, “Whether you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” This is ultimate: glorifying God in all that we do! But what does it mean to glorify God? In the simplest of terms, glorifying God means reflecting the character of God in one’s thoughts, speech, and deeds. It is what people do when they show forth and make visible the invisible or yet unseen beauty of God to others around them. Now, time and eternity would fail me list all that God is for and to humanity, but for the sake of example, consider this well-known attribute: the love of God. God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5). God demonstrates His love for us. This demonstration of love, in turn, impacts the way that people are to love one another. 1 John 4:11 says, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” The point, then, should be clear. What God has done for us, we should seek to reflect to others in our own thoughts, speech, and actions. When we show love to others, we are reflecting (glorifying) God’s love.
Now, remember the question that helpful Target employee asked about adoption? Here’s the answer: Hannah and I are adopting this little boy domestically and this little girl internationally not first and foremost because we have an insatiable desire to have a house full of children (though we do love parenting and love children) or a limitless supply of financial resources, but ultimately because we feel called by God to reflect His great work of adoption by adopting neglected and orphaned children ourselves. By nature, Hannah and I, like the rest of humanity, were abused and abandoned children of Satan who, a part from the love of God, were without hope in this world. But GOD (!), being rich in mercy, adopted us into the family of God in Christ through the Holy Spirit. When that young lady asked me why we are adopting, I couldn’t wait to tell her that it was because as a child of God, I, too, had been adopted. Her puzzled looked afforded me a great opportunity to point her to the Great Adoption that all other adoptions ultimately point to, namely, adoption into the Kingdom of Christ. The reality of our adoption in Christ moves us to desire to show others the beauty of what it means to find a forever family in an eternal home.
To one degree or another, God calls everyone to reflect His care for the weak, wounded and neglected when James writes, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” The question then, is not whether or not we should care about orphans and neglected children, but in what ways is God specifically calling us to reflect His care in our lives? For some, it may mean adopting. For others, it may mean fostering or volunteering or giving or feeding or building or going or a whole host of other things. None is greater or more virtuous than the other. Yet one thing is for sure, indifference and apathy do not reflect the care of our Father.
May the LORD stir our hearts to reflect His heart in the way that we care for the helpless…
4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.