We settled into our seats in the food court at the mall when out of the corner of my eye I noticed it happening again. Her eyes bounced back and forth from my 2 year old daughter to me then back to my daughter then back to me, each time causing her brow to wrinkle in greater curiosity and her mind to visibly race with more questions.
I'd seen it happen a hundred times and knew exactly what she was thinking - Is that her dad? Is she his daughter? He's white. She's, well, not really. He's very bald. Her afro is cute and crazy out of control. What's going on here? What's the story?
I smiled at her and answered the question I knew she wanted to ask but she wasn't sure if she could or not - Yes, she's my daughter. Don't you see the resemblance? With that, the confused stranger next to us laughed with a sense of relief and leaned in closer. Her curiosity was evident. The opportunity I was being given was apparent.
Our conversation naturally led to adoption, foster care and the reason this precious little girl was now a part of our family - namely the work of Jesus on our behalf in the Gospel. And all of a sudden, in a completely unexpected manner, her quick bite to eat in the mall food court got hijacked by Jesus. She didn't interrupt our chicken strip dinner that evening; Jesus interrupted hers. And in a casual, unassuming place, the pulpit of adoption preached the power of the Gospel to her. She was grateful, said she had never thought of it that way and thanked us for allowing her to interrupt our little daddy-daugther date. I assured her she was no interruption and that it was my honor. And it truly was. What a privilege it is to see the Gospel made evident through the life of a 2 year old little girl in a mall food court.
The Pulpit of Adoption
Adoption is not anything less than giving our families to kids who do not have one, but it is so much more. The call to care for these kids does not terminate on our care of these kids - it extends itself into the responsibility we have to posture ourselves as a pulpit upon which the Gospel can most vividly and effectively be communicated to the curious world around us. We don't need to share the tragic details of our child's story as much as we need to share the good news of Jesus'. Their story is theirs to be told - when and how they choose; but, His story is His to be told - and He's made it clear when and how He wants that to happen. While it is not always the case that skin color and hair type make certain things about adoption obvious, it is always the case that caring for the marginalized, oppressed and orphaned by bringing them into a new forever family is one of the purest and most undefiled expressions of our faith this world will ever see (James 1:27). It preaches His story. Our job is to let it.
Opportunities, Not Annoyances
Embrace the questions, stares, assumptions and seemingly offensive statements of others not as annoyances but as opportunities - the privilege and responsibility you have been given in adoption to help form a category of the Gospel for people where there is not one currently. Perhaps they're not interrupting whatever it is we're doing as much as Jesus is wanting to interrupt what they're doing. It's generally the case (although not always) that their stares and statements are not malicious in intent but rather ignorant in understanding. It's our job to inform, teach and help build a paradigm for people that goes beyond what they are seeing in our family and points to something greater and more glorious - namely the heart of God for them as our friend at church or acquaintance in the neighborhood or stranger in the food court - reflected before them in the dynamic make up of our family.
His Name is Jesus
Adoption incarnates the Gospel with great vividness and clarity. Like a shadow it brings Jesus with you wherever you go - the grocery store, the restaurant and the even the food court at the mall. People can't help but stop and stare, question and wonder and clumsily fumble themselves through awkward and sometimes comical interactions with you - it's unlike anything they've personally comprehended and their attempts to put words to it are feeble at best. Yet, we have the words to offer them and the answers to provide them - His name is Jesus.
The pulpit has been constructed, the audience is captive, the privilege to point to Him is humbling.
Adoption preaches the Gospel. It's our job to let it.
- Counting the Costs of Fostering or Adopting
- Fostering or Adopting: For the Husband That's Not Sure
- Wrapping Around Foster and Adoptive Families
- To Foster and Adoptive Parents: Reframing Your Season of Struggle
- Busyness, Obedience and the Perfect Time to Foster or Adopt
- Three Ways Orphan Care Displays the Gospel
- Ten Simple Ways Your Church Can Serve Foster Families
- (Re)Humanizing Foster Care
- Foster Care: Why the Church Can Stop Outsourcing Child Welfare
- Raising the Next Generation of Foster and Adoptive Parents
- Rethinking Some Common Foster Care Concerns
- The Sovereignty of God in Foster Care
- Six Things Foster Care Has Taught Me
- The Other Side of Foster Care
- The Beauty and Brokenness of Foster Care
- Why Foster Care is Necessary
- The Generational Effects of Adoption
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