I don’t know about you, but I’m a complete sucker for tear-jerking videos. One of the more recent videos that hit me right in the tear glands was a short snippet of a married couple’s first embrace of their adopted son. It was a simple video, shared by US Christian adoption agency
The parents are sitting on chairs in the middle of a simply furnished room. They look
nervous. Hopeful. Then a door opens, and an adoption agency worker brings out a tiny little baby
boy to place in the arms of the new adoptive mother. The parents weep. The extended family
weeps. Everyone weeps. Even me, sitting in my office thousands of kilometres away with no
relation to these people whatsoever. It’s a beautiful moment (sniffle).
In any adoption story I’m aware there are complex interplays of emotion and circumstance: The
pain and grief of a birth mother, who sees no alternative but to relinquish her child to others. The
child in the middle, who will grow up in this new family, aware of where they have been, and
judging by this adoption agency, still in contact with their biological parent(s). This story is echoed
in thousands of families, including mine. But for now I want to “zoom in” on the parents in this brief moment; the moment of adoption. The moment of a child coming into that new home. The birth of an entirely new family.
Now I don’t know what these parents went through before choosing to adopt. But the emotion on
their faces as they receive this child speaks of a long process of pain, hope, and struggle. In the
weeping parents, I see months if not years of waiting. I see love as that waiting comes to an end in
joyful union. I see the care with which they hold their new son. The wonder in their faces as they
cradle him to themselves. The acceptance and joy as they embrace this new little life in their arms.
At first I wondered why this video affected me so much, and then I realised that more than the joy
of one new family’s story, it reminded me of a far, far greater story. A story of struggle, pain, and
hope written across the millennia of history. In the emotion of these human parents, I see reflected an even greater love - the love of our Heavenly Father for us:
In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his
pleasure and will - to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he
loves. - Ephesians 1:4-6.
These words are so densely packed that it is quite easy to gloss over the weight of them. So read
them more than once. God loves us. God loves us so much that he chose to adopt us as full heirs
to his kingdom. God did this by grace - nothing we deserve, but only through Jesus.
I want to thank these new parents for letting us into their private moment, showing us an adoptive
parent’s joy as they welcomed a child into their family. I want to thank them because these words
in the Bible are so brief, but they carry within them such a treasure, and I needed to see this
moment to understand better what God was doing in Jesus. More than that, I needed to see a
small fraction of what it meant for God to do what he did for us.
In the video, the little baby brings no CV, no gifts, nothing that would commend him to his new
parents. He cannot do anything to earn their love, and yet they went through this struggle so that
they could care for this child. Through the adoption process he is now fully a part of this family. A
son, no longer a stranger.
This is the astounding truth of what Jesus has done for us, too. In Christ, we are no longer
strangers to God, but heirs, full members of His family. We bring as much to our relationship with
God as an adopted newborn baby brings to his parents. We are helpless, vulnerable, entirely
concerned only with our own needs. But God’s love and grace is so freely given that he welcomes
us with the loving open arms of an adoptive parent. Grace upon grace. Love upon love. We, the
unworthy and rebellious children who are not sent away, but drawn in. Forgiven. Adopted. Made
full members of a new family: God’s family. It wasn’t a simple process. It cost Jesus his life. The
pain and struggle of the Son of God on the cross was so that we - even more helpless than a
newborn baby - could be grafted into a new family altogether.
So thankyou, adoptive parents, for taking that long journey to welcome a child into your family.
Thank you for also giving us a hint of what it means that our Heavenly Father adopted us into his
family. May your love for your son reflect our Father’s love for his children, too. Kristen Young lives in Lithgow, NSW, with her husband John and two children, and has been involved in various forms of ministry for over 15 years. She loves telling children and young people (including the busy young women in her parish) about Jesus, and still manages to find ways to procrastinate in her spare time. Kristen is a graduate of Sydney Missionary and Bible College. You can buy her books from Koorong here