By Ronnie McBrayer
There are some two million adopted children living in United States’ households today. These children arrive in their homes in a myriad of ways. Some are abandoned, are surrendered to children’s services, or have biological parents who are in no condition to provide a home.
Some are from the States; some from overseas; some come out of foster care; some come from an adoption agency; and some come from out of nowhere, it seems. But most all have this in common: They are loved. The adoptive parents want to provide a loving home for these children.
Two of those two million adopted children live under my own roof. When they were younger, and I suppose they need to hear it even more as they move toward adulthood, I would tell them, “Everyone is born, you know. But not everyone is chosen. Not everyone has the honor of being selected; but you were.”
Granted, this doesn’t settle all of their anxieties, and now in adolescence, they have all the existential anxieties of their peers – “Who am I? Where did I come from? Why am I in the world? How do I fit in? What is my identity?” But those who are adopted often have these questions on steroids.
Some questions, I tell my growing young men, will be answered now. Some answers will come in adulthood. But some questions may never be answered. Yet, they cannot let all the unanswerable questions of their existence rob them of this essential fact: They are chosen and loved.
One of the New Testament’s more powerful images, as it describes God’s concern for humanity, is, fittingly, adoption. “By his great love,” the Apostle Paul said, “we were chosen for adoption into God’s family. You are not his slaves. You are his children.”
God’s choosing love might not squelch all anxieties or address all of our identity issues, but it’s a good place to start. For if we know that God loves us, then we can make allowance for the things that we don’t know; if we understand that we are chosen, then we can live with those things that can’t be understood; when we are certain of our acceptance, then we can accept other uncertainties.
I pray that these facts will serve as a grounding, stabilizing force for my sons as they grow into life. And yes, I pray the same for all of us.
Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, pastor, and author. His newest book is “The Gospel According to Waffle House.” You can read more at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.