Cats and dogs were not something that were a part of our household when I was a child. We just weren’t a family that did pets. My husband’s family was the complete opposite. With them, there was always a dog around. Scott still remembers each one with affectionate familiarity. He’s talked about them enough through the years that even though I never met them, I know who he’s talking about when he mentions names like Champ or Mickey. Scott has always loved his animals.
Earlier this year Scott found himself face to face with a stray cat that had been injured and it broke his heart. The bloody eye of this cat was so dark you couldn’t even see its outline in the black fur. After several attempts and with a little help from his friends, Scott was finally able to trap the poor thing and take her to the veterinarian. Afterwards, we kept her in our bathroom for several days while we administered medicine. She was improving, then one day she was acting funny. We wondered if her infection had spread or if she’d developed some other medical issue as a result of the initial trauma. Well, surprise! The next morning when I peeked in the bathroom to check on her, she was not alone. There were three tiny kittens in the sink with her.
We had no idea she was pregnant. The veterinarian hadn’t said anything about it either. All we could think was, “what do we do now?” We finally resolved that she and her new litter needed to stay in our bathroom until she’d weaned the kittens, which turned out to be eight weeks of four felines in that bathroom.
I, being the never-had-a-pet child, was a little overwhelmed. Scott fell in love with those little fur babies immediately, so it was hard for him when all three kittens were adopted into wonderful and happy forever homes. We knew, however, that adoption was best for all the humans and the kittens.
Sometime during these kitten-filled weeks, Scott took a couple of days to go with his father and sister to begin cleaning out his childhood home in the upstate. They unloaded the attic and went through boxes in storage buildings out back. He brought back some adorable baby pictures, reminders of his childhood, and thoughts about his own adoption.
He was adopted by the Davises when he was 29 days old. He’s always considered Lloyd and Lois his real mom and dad and has always loved them as such. Just like I know the stories of Mickey and Champ, I’m also reminded of the story about how excited Lois was the day she received the call at work that there was a baby boy in Charleston that was now was hers. This week marks the tenth anniversary of Lois’ death. Birth, adoption, life and death are the things that have been on all our minds lately. I am so thankful to have become part of a family that loves and accepts, as their own, others that were originally born to other mothers.
God set the example for this kind of choice, acceptance, and love. In Ephesians, the apostle Paul declares praise to God for loving us and choosing us. He goes on to explain that God made a decision to adopt us, even before we were born.
Child adoptions these days involve attorneys. There must be legal documents outlining stipulations, bearing proper signatures, and filings with the appropriate agencies. The benefit of going through all that effort, beyond bringing a new child home, is that you now have proof. It eliminates most of the uncertainties of where home is.
Of course God didn’t have to use an attorney for our adoption, but it did cost Him something. God is perfect and sinless, and therefore we humans, who are not perfect or sinless, wouldn’t be able to live with God without some kind of mediation. So, God sends his perfect, sinless son, Jesus, to earth. Jesus then takes on all our sin and it kills him, but Jesus overcomes death. The thing that would have kept us from living with God has been eliminated. The adoption is final.
What does adoption mean to an adult? We’ve pretty much figured out how to eat and bathe on our own by now. We’ve learned how to read and walk. We don’t need parents for that anymore. Instead, the things that would make a difference in an adopted adult’s life are things like love, belonging, and inheritance. I think those are the things God wants us to know we already possess.
As an adult, however, we have a choice in letting ourselves be adopted. Choosing to allow God to be our father means believing that all the effort He went through to have us close to Him was worth it. It means that everything that’s His will become ours. It means we believe “he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. 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. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.” (Ephesians 1:4-7)
To the praise of His glorious grace, indeed.
This was originally published July 23, 2017 on The Press and Standard website.