I will never forget the day we got the call, the one that said the girls’ mutation was de novo, a small phrase that holds a lot of weight in this whole genetics thing. You see, some diseases appear through the passing on of genes from those who are carriers of particular things; others just happen at “random”. While I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is nothing random about the way the Lord created Bailey Grace and Ally; we are also aware at this point that the HECW2 mutation is one in which Hugh and I are not carriers. In fact, after doing thorough genetic testing, our physicians told us there was no reason to not have more children biologically.
So why are we adopting?
It was 2011, the year Hugh and I got engaged. We were in Ethiopia, and a teammate of ours had just spent some time with the birth mother of his child, an Ethiopian woman from the town we were staying in. He had purposely come on this trip in order to do this, and as he shared details about the meeting, I looked over at Hugh and saw the tears welled up in his eyes. I was bawling. We didn’t talk about it that day, but not everyone was as emotionally affected by that testimony as we were. I spent the rest of the night thinking about what a beautiful depiction of the Gospel adoption was.
I was sitting on the porch of a guest house in Bangkok, Thailand after spending three weeks in Bangladesh, living among a precious people in their small village. I listened to a worship song as I was praying and praising God for who He was, and all I could think about was all the children that we had come across that didn’t seem to have a home. Now, in the village, all the children were well taken care of whether it was by their biological parents or someone else; but in Thailand, there were signs of orphans displayed throughout the streets. I didn’t want it to be so. That afternoon, Hugh and I had a conversation about adoption. We didn’t know when, we didn’t know how, but we just knew that it played a role in our story.
“Before Christ came, Jewish people were the only ones considered God’s chosen people. It was all about genetics. But Jesus… because of Christ, none of our genes are relevant anymore. The only thing that is relevant is God and His glory…He has given His perfect genes to you. “- On Milk and Honey, p. 40-41
There have been seasons of my life in which I hated- absolutely hated- who I had become. I was insecure, inconsistent, and seemed to never be able to get it right. As God has worked in me, I have seen that I will never be able to fully get it right- and that I don’t have to because He already did at the cross. As a Christ follower, His reputation, His record, and His character are quite literally mine. I have a new identity.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”- 2 Corinthians 5:17
Adoption is the most beautiful parallel of what God has done for us as His children. He has made us His own.
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” – 1 John 3:1
That is what we are.
Children of the Living God.
Based on what He did, who He is, and whose He says we are.
“…to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”- John 1:12-13
We want to adopt not because we are fearful of “having another one of our own”. We want to adopt because we believe that God has made another one of His children quite literally our own, and that He is calling us to have a child not on the basis of flesh and blood but on the basis of the Gospel.
This child, this one who will be known and loved-the child whose days have been written before the beginning of time- will be as much “ours” as Ally and Bailey Grace. I say this with quotes because really, all of our children are simply entrusted to us by God to care for and love for this short time on earth. They are all His and He gets to choose what their lives look like. Because of Ally and Bailey Grace, this truth has been imprinted on Hugh and I’s hearts since the first few months of the girls’ lives.
And- if I don’t believe a child who was adopted is as much of a member of a family as a child who was birthed biologically- then I don’t fully believe the Gospel and the miracle of what God has done for each of us who are in Christ.
Friends, I wrestled so much with Ally and Bailey Grace’s position in adding to our family. I have very literally grieved what it is going to be like to have, at times, a new focus. I have felt guilty about the possibility of us experiencing what is “normal” for most other families. But God. He has reminded me that, if He has called us to add to our family, this was a part of the plan from before the beginning of time. We may not have seen Baby Cheek in the picture all along; but He always has. With tears in my eyes I tell you how often in this process I have looked Ally and Bailey Grace in the eyes and reminded them that they are fearfully and wonderfully made and that we are not choosing to have another child because of anything to do with them or how they were created- and I mean that with every fiber of my being. They are not considered or loved any less because of this choice. The truth is, we should never make choices based on a feeling of lack or need. God has supplied us with everything we need in Him, and when we begin to give earthly things more weight than they deserve, we are teetering on the fine line of idolatry.
Getting married to Hugh did not complete me.
Having Ally and Bailey Grace did not complete me.
Adding to our family will not complete me.
I was completed at the cross in Christ and anything that occurs on this earth is supposed to deepen and strengthen that truth, not replace it.
So friends, we adopt because we were adopted.
We adopt because He has planned it from before the world began.
We adopt because we believe with all our hearts that there is a child out there that may not spend time in my womb but is very literally imprinted on my heart.
We adopt because there is someone who was meant to call us mommy and daddy and the girls sissy since before the idea even came into our senses.
We adopt because, in Christ, our genetics are His.
All glory be to Him and Him alone.
***As always, if you would like to contribute to #bringinghomebabycheek , there are links at the top to our GoFundMe as well as our t-shirts.***
(photograph above by Trishia Ralston photography)