One year ago, our family changed forever. After a three and a half year journey, we finally sat in a courtroom with our five children to make three of them officially our own, becoming a family of seven.
Our attorney sat to our right at the table, and she confirmed with Bryce and I: “You are asking the judge today to grant your petition to adopt?”
That phrase “petition to adopt” has been rolling around in my mind since that wonderful day. A petition is “a request made for something desired, especially a respectful or humble request, as to a superior or to one of those in authority” (dictionary.com). Bryce and I asked the judge to approve our request to adopt the children. We completed all of the necessary paperwork and were confirmed by the state as a suitable home and family for the children. Now here we were, finally at Adoption Day.
Now picture a different courtroom. There I am, standing with my head hanging down, covered in filthy rags. There is a voice at my left hand, self-assured and accusing. All his words are condemning as he speaks to the Judge. And I acknowledge the thread of truth: I am that sinner; those depraved actions are mine; those lies and blasphemies did indeed come from my lips. The voice continues to list sin after sin in a deluge of accusations against me.
But wait. Another piercing Voice breaks in. I suddenly realize He is standing at my right hand. This Voice speaks to the Judge with respect and familiarity. “I know this woman,” He says. For the first time, I find that I can lift my head. His tone is full of such kindness and truth as His eyes look on me with love. “And this woman knows Me. All of her sins have been paid for and are covered by the blood of the Lamb. I am asking the Judge today to grant my petition to adopt this daughter of Eve.”
After the Voice of Jesus presented my defense, it was God the Judge’s turn to respond. “The court has reviewed the evidence in this case. I have reviewed the petition signed in blood, and I see no good reason why this petition should not be granted based on the sacrifice of my Son. I hereby grant the petition to adopt.”
There I stand in that courtroom, now dressed in white: fully forgiven, fully redeemed, fully atoned for and restored–forever in God’s family. Hallelujah! “Since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand” (Romans 5:1-2). These are legal words! Justified. Peace with God. Gained access. Now stand. “Stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:28). It’s almost beyond comprehension, isn’t it? That God would love us that much, to sacrifice that much and desire that much to bring us into His forever family.
After our attorney finished presenting the case, it was the judge’s turn to respond.
“The court’s reviewed the evidence in this case. I have reviewed the petition and I see no good reason why this petition should not be granted. I find that the granting of this petition is in the best interest of the children. I hereby grant the petitions to adoption in each of these cases and find from this point forward that the petitioners are granted all legal rights, powers, duties, responsibilities including custody and control of these children.”
Then the tears came. After all those years of heartache, waiting and uncertainty, finally these three precious children were officially ours! It was an earth-meets-heaven clash of brokenness and beautiful redemption. What sin and darkness meant for evil in the breaking of a family, God redeemed by the making of a family. “Put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with Him is full redemption” (Psalm 130:7).
The circumstances that bring about the need for adoption are always heartbreaking–families shattered, trauma for little hearts, hopelessness. But the gift of adoption “sets the lonely in families” (Psalm 68:6) and brings hope where there was none since He is the “God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were” (Romans 4:17). In a small but significant way, the adoption of our three precious children mirrors adoption into God’s family. “The Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship” (Romans 8:15).
Sin makes orphans. In the spiritual sense but also in a very earthly sense. There are orphan children in our world today because of sin. But God has not left us as orphans! And as we do the work of God’s Kingdom here on earth, we will not leave orphans either. Sophia, Adela and Ezekiel: your family is here. “We [did] not leave you as orphans; we [came] for you” (John 14:18).