We have a new son. My husband, Sutton, and I, along with our two daughters, have adopted a toddler boy from Ethiopia. On November 11, 2011, we learned that the Ethiopian court approved our adoption. Legally, he is now our baby boy. There’s only one problem: he’s still in Ethiopia. There’s a new birth certificate to be granted by the government, medical tests, the issue of an Ethiopian passport, and a visa application in process with the US Embassy. He’s now our son; he’s just not yet home with us.
At a Christmas party, a friend commented “What an incredible story of our own adoption by God!”
That got me thinking of the now-and-not-yet of our adoption as God’s children through Jesus Christ.
Galatians 4:4–6 reads:
“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Sprit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’”
God Chose Us
Just like we chose our Ethiopian son to be in our family, God chose us to be in his family. We didn’t choose him (John 15:16). In the smallness of our humanity and our sin, we cannot conceive of choosing God any more than an orphaned toddler in Ethiopia can conceive of choosing an American couple as his parents.
We accepted the adoption referral months ago. We chose him way back in April, and we knew that one day he would be ours. That little boy has no idea that his life is changing soon. That he has been chosen to be a part of a new family, and a co-heir with his sisters to the legacy God is creating through us.
We’re the same. We have no idea how much our life will change, how much our life will be better, how patiently our Father waits for us. And more importantly, how rich our inheritance that we share with Christ (Rom. 8:17).
A Short Trip
Back in late October, we met our Ethiopian son for the first time. We only spent two very short days with him. We played with him, we comforted him, rocked him to sleep. We made that very short trip into our son’s world to make his adoption official, to appear before a judge in court and accept him as our son.
Jesus made a short trip into our world as well. As he led the disciples, he comforted them and trained them, too. Then, he had to leave.
The purpose of Jesus’ short trip into our world was to make our adoption official by dying for sin in our place and restoring our relationship with the Father.
Only through his leaving us by his death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, is our adoption into the kingdom of God even possible.
Now, We Wait
For now, we wait. My family waits for the unexpected call that we can go back to our son’s world and bring him into ours.
Similarly, we wait for that unexpected call when God brings us into his world through eternal life. And we all wait for when Jesus again comes back into our world and we are a united family, when we are not only adopted children but also with our heavenly Father.
In the waiting for our son to be with us, I’m anxious and ready, but I also find my love for our son grows deeper every day that we are apart.
My heart is here in Seattle, but it’s also there in Ethiopia. In the now-and-not-yet of our Ethiopian adoption, I get a glimpse of the overwhelming love our Father has for us. We are the now and not yet children of our Father. Now adopted into his family. Not yet with him.
Marci is the wife of Mars Hill’s executive pastor, Sutton Turner.