“Are you going to have any of your own children?” he asked. Confused, I looked down in the double stroller at my beautiful children and then directly back at the older gentleman. I could tell by the innocent look in his eyes that he didn’t know what he was asking or implying. I could only muster up five words: “Yes, these are my children.” As I walked away, my stomach churned, and I regretted not taking a few minutes to explain why his choice of words was hurtful. But I had a long list of groceries that day, with 6-week-old twins up every two hours, and exhaustion prevented my lips from expressing what my heart wanted to say.
I’m not so naive as to be surprised by questions like these. However, that doesn’t take away the sting. I know that my children’s beautiful brown skin looks different than ours, and I love every inch of it. But I also know these differences evoke questions and comments. I don’t want anger or bitterness to linger in my heart after these inquiries. In response to their ignorance, I desire to extend truth and grace. After all, Christ calls us to do so. I don’t believe these people intend to be rude or malicious. However, regardless of the intent, these questions are unsettling because they reveal something deeper. Whether they realize it or not, by their choice of words they’re indicating that they don’t think Ruby and Roman are our “own” children. Even as I type that sentence it feels troubling.
Ruby and Roman are our children. They’re not any “less” our children because they didn’t grow in my tummy for 9 months. They’re not any “less” our children because they don’t have our DNA. From the moment their amazing birth mama told us she wanted us to be their parents, God birthed love for them in our hearts. Roman and Ruby are our son and daughter, and we couldn’t be more proud to be their mom and dad.
I will never forget the first time I laid eyes on my son and daughter. It was on Father’s Day, and they were less than a day old. When the nurse brought in our little man I felt like I had to pull my heart off the floor. He melted me, right then and there with just one glance. As I was holding Roman the nurse wheeled in our little lady. She was so tiny, but even so, she had the cutest chunky cheeks. We held them and just stared in amazement at our two beautiful children. As Roman’s little hand gripped my pinky, I tried to slow down time and soak in those fleeting moments. A few minutes later, I asked Obbie if I could hold Ruby, but he wouldn’t let her go. “Just a little bit longer,” he insisted. There is nothing quite like watching the unconditional love that a father has for his child.
And ever since we held Roman and Ruby in our arms for the very first time, I have observed Obbie’s fierce and unconditional love for our children. And that love continually reminds me of a greater love-the love of our Heavenly Father. And it should. Earthly adoption is a beautiful depiction of the Gospel and the heart of God. In Christ, we have been spiritually adopted and welcomed into the family of God. John Piper puts it well, “When Christ died for us, the price was paid, and when we trust him, we are legally and permanently in the family. “ When the twins adoption was finalized, the judge ended the ceremony by stating, “the children shall hereafter be the legal children and legal heirs of the adoptive parents and entitled to all right and privileges…they are your son and daughter as if they were born to you.”
DNA is not the only thing that makes a family-love does too. When they were itty bitty babies I understood that their “I’m hungry” cry was distinct from their “I want my paci” cry. I know just how much Roman likes his door cracked at night and I know that when I tuck him in he is going to ask me for one of my old t-shirts to snuggle with. I know Ruby likes me to sing through 5 specific songs when I tuck her in at night and if I try to skip over a verse she will remind me of it. I understand their facial expressions before they utter a word. I know all of their favorite songs to sing and dance to. I know Ruby loves to read books by herself and Roman prefers sitting in my lap and being read to, as long as I let him turn the pages. We know them better than anyone on this earth because they are our children.
When we stand before the judgment seat of God, it won’t be our DNA that gets us in to heaven, but the blood of another. The question isn’t one of heredity, but of authority. Does He know us? Are we His child? And if we have been adopted in Christ into His family, we are then legal heirs to inherit all the promises laid out for us in Scripture. Language speaks volumes, even when we’re unaware of our words. The simple question “Are you going to have any of your own children” directed towards an adoptive family betrays a lack of belief and hope in the validity, reality, and finality of our own relationship with Christ and our understanding of the Gospel.
***If you are interested in learning more about adoption and the services we provide at Christian Adoption Consultants, I would love to chat! Feel free to email me, Kelly Todd, at firstname.lastname@example.org and check out Christian Adoption Consultants for more information!***