I don’t know where my daughter was the day she was born. I don’t know if she was in a hut, laid in a pile of dirty rags or straw. I don’t know if she was in a clinic, laid on a cold, metal scale to weigh her tiny body and cracked crevice of a lip. I don’t know if she was in a field, laid in a nest of woven grass or beside the rush of a river. I don’t know if the sound of her first cry, drawn from the healthy lungs God had given her, was met with tears of joy or a pang of sadness. I don’t know if the sight of her face, her gender, and her parted palette was met with sorrow mixed with compassion or anger mixed with disgust. I don’t know if her momma gave her a whispered name, one she still treasures in her heart, or if she left her name to the orphanage where she left her.
But I do know this. Wherever she was on the day she was born, whatever emotions her mommy and daddy expressed when they saw her, whatever name they whispered in their heart, there was One above it all who held her in His heart, kept her safe those first few days of life outside the womb, directed her momma’s steps to a hut outside the Guangzhou City State Orphanage, and watched over her as her momma left and the police and orphanage authorities came in.
And those first seventeen months of life when she was without parents, He was getting us ready to be her parents. He gave me her name long before I ever saw her face. He gave her my eyes and a certain look that causes people to stop and tell me, “You know, you two look alike.” He gave her blonde-haired, blue-eyed kindergarten sister, Lillian, strong prayers to pray for an adopted sister from China that kept her fearful momma going in the rounds of paperwork when I wanted to stop. He gave her daddy a fire in his heart to tirelessly fuel our adoption journey from start to finish until the orphanage director brought her from back behind that curtain and placed her into our arms.
I had heard that God’s heart was for the orphan, and I had read about it in the pages of Scripture, but I never really knew it until I looked full in the face of Mia Grace.
“Do not fear,” God spoke to my heart in the first few months of our adoption process, “for I have redeemed her; I have called her by name; she is Mine!” (Isaiah 43:1). And “Mine” became her name, straight from the word of her Father who was weaving her together in her mother’s womb, long before we ever saw her face.
So while I don’t know many details about Mia Grace’s birth day, or her first birthday, I know exactly where she will be tomorrow on her third birthday. Instead of shrouded in rags or hidden in any sort of darkness, she will be surrounded by the light of those who love her and shout her name in joy whenever they see her beautiful face.
And isn’t that the beauty of adoption? It peals back layers of darkness to let light shine through. It turns whispered sorrows into shouts of joy and gladness. It pulls victims from pits of abandonment to place them into families of belonging, hope, and trust. It rewrites stories of shame into stories of redemption, beauty, grace, strength, and love. And it gives each and every orphan a chance at a new name.
Pause for a moment today, and reflect on the beauty and significance of adoption. Not just Mia Grace’s adoption, or the adoption of another little one you know, but, if you know Christ and are known by Him as His child, the beauty of your adoption. Your story of grace, your family of people around you who know you and love, brokenness, crooked nose, imperfections, and all, and call you “Mine!”
And if you don’t know Christ, today, today, make your story one of adoption. Bow your knee and bend your life to the Father who parted heaven to seek you and save you in the broken body of His Son.
And consider spurring others on in their journey of adoption or continuing on in your own journey if you know that is where God is leading you. Pray for families who have adopted a little one from another country or another ethnicity or another biological set of parents. And pray that more orphans will be adopted; pray that God will stir families’ hearts to have the courage to start and finish the adoption process, even when it’s hard; and pray that our country and countries around the world will make the adoption process easier on those who want to adopt in order to provide strong, healthy, godly families for children who have great needs.
And consider giving to help others adopt, even if you cannot. Adoption is an expensive, messy business, and the costs can be huge. So your gift can go a long way in helping other families who want to open their home to a child but cannot do so without financial assistance.
Adoption isn’t something we do because it makes us feel good; adoption is something we do because it is good, and it highlights the goodness of the One who has adopted us.
So celebrate Mia Grace with us this week, and celebrate your adoption too into the family of God. And then reach out and further the Kingdom of God and the Father heart of God and pray and risk and give and battle for the children God loves and has named and called His own.