As I write this it is 3:30 a.m. on Sunday morning. Looking out my hotel window, it appears that Beijing is asleep. Me and my friend, Jetlag, are answering a few emails and pondering what is going to happen tomorrow. There have been some big events in my life, and I have even been privileged enough to check-off a few bucket list items through the years, but somehow tomorrow seems like a bigger deal than anything I have ever done before.
Twenty-six years ago, I accepted Christ as my Savior. Of course, that has to be the most significant thing that has ever happened to me. I remember people telling me way back then that it wouldn’t last, and I feared they were correct. However, as it turns out, that was real, and the Lord is real, and by his grace, he has stuck with me for a very long time. I was married sixteen years ago. That was a big change, and a good one, and a lasting one. Donna and I have been blessed with two children (the biological way), and of course those were life-changers. And there have been some other big events through the years that have stretched me and my family. I think of leaving engineering school to go into the ministry. I think of leaving the familiarity of the South and moving to Ohio. But somehow, what is going to happen tomorrow seems bigger than all of that.
I suppose it has something to do with pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone, or maybe it is the factor of the unknown, or maybe it is the fact that once done, this cannot be undone, but tomorrow feels like the biggest step in my life.
This isn’t the biggest step because I am fearful. I believe the Lord has been preparing my family for this for a long time. I am blessed with a very strong marriage and two godly daughters who I know are willing to make the sacrifices this adoption may require. I have exceptionally good friends and a wonderful church family standing behind me. I know there could be some hard days ahead, but I am ready for the challenge.
This isn’t the biggest step because of any hesitation or doubt. I think I have always known I would adopt. Years ago the motivation was for reasons too personal to write in this blog, but for the last twenty years it has been something I just felt like would happen. Through this eighteen-month adoption-paperwork-pregnancy there have been many questions. There have been questions about special needs, domestic versus international, and questions about finances. But never have we questioned the fact that we should adopt.
This isn’t the biggest step because of the words of the critics. I have learned that if you are going to do anything important in life, there will be critics. People have told us that we are squandering our money. People have told us that we are being unfair to our first two daughters. People have told us that we are ruining the American economy by bringing foreigners to the land. None of those kinds of comments have done anything but cause us to loose respect for some really selfish people.
I believe this feels like the biggest step in my life because I am convinced that somehow my life is intersecting with the Kingdom of God. As I write that, I am not even sure what it means, but I believe it just the same.
James, the half-brother of Jesus wrote that real religion consists of three things. One of those three is taking care of orphans. I know there is much more to the Christian life than orphan-care and there are many other significant ways to serve the Lord, but James’ list does give real insight to the heart of the Father. James isn’t the only Bible writer that speaks of adoption. Paul talks about believers eagerly waiting for the day when they will receive their full inheritance as adopted sons of God. He writes of how the Father adopted us out of sin and suffering and has given us new hope and new life. So, the first one to choose to adopt was none other than God himself. (I wonder if he had to fill out the stacks of paperwork we had to complete.)
I don’t know today if my adopted daughter, Rui, is ‘eagerly waiting,’ as the apostle Paul describes or not. I have no idea if she has any idea of how her life is about to change. (I wonder if she is lying wide-awake in the middle of the night right now, like her new dad, wondering what tomorrow holds.) But I do know this: God, in His wisdom and sovereignty, has chosen a little girl, living in the squalor of poverty and hopelessness in a pagan country, and he has seen fit to put her in a family where she will hear the gospel and among friends and in a church that will show her the love of Christ. And I know that whatever God is up to in her life and around the world, He has chosen to let me be a part of that… and it begins tomorrow.