November is National Adoption Month. God tells us we are to care for orphans. He set an amazing example: He adopted us. Certainly not everyone is called to adopt, but probably most of us should ask the question.
In honor of National Adoption Month, I am telling our story of adoption—in weekly installments through November. This is Chapter 5, the final installment. You can read Chapter 1: “I Am Sending You a Son” here. Chapter 2: The Road to Adoption here. Chapter 3: The Hard Years here. And Chapter 4: A Future and Hope here.
God is the ultimate multitasker.
We thought God invited us into Josh’s life to rescue him, to give him a better life. And surely that has happened.
But God had other purposes for this adoption as well. He had work to do in our lives, and especially in mine.
A True Alien
When Josh came to live with us as a foster child, he and we experienced significant culture shock.
He couldn’t believe a little tummy ache wouldn’t get him out of a day at school. We couldn’t believe he thought he could watch R-rated movies. He didn’t trust the next meal, so even McDonald’s ketchups were to be hoarded. We didn’t understand that his survival mode blurred the difference between truth and lie for him.
It was a though he was from another planet.
But that’s nothing compared to the difference between me and God. Yet He adopted me even though He admitted I was like a foreigner and alien. (Ephesians 2:19)
Every time I felt like I couldn’t handle one more confrontation, God reminded me that He adopted me and would keep loving and accepting me, no how bizarre my behavior. Grateful.
On My Knees
The hard years with Josh accomplished essential work in my life: Whatever sense of self-confidence I had as a parent was gone. I had no idea how to help Josh make better choices. I was driven to my knees and into the arms of Jesus.
Desperation made prayer a major focus of my life, and that total dependence led to the sweetest fellowship with the Savior I had ever experienced. A gift from God, via Josh, that I would never trade.
One of the most difficult parts of my relationship with Josh came after God filled me up with love for my son. He couldn’t call me Mom because he felt that would be disloyal to his birth mother. In the same way, year after year, he could not bring himself to say “I love you” to me.
I longed to hear those words, and when I begged the Lord for that privilege, He said oh so clearly: “Judy, unconditional love doesn’t require love in return.” Just as He continued to cover me with His love, so I needed to keep on loving.
Fortunately Josh finally found it in his heart to express that love. Now he tells me all the time. I love it.
Josh has undoubtedly been the the greatest challenge of my life. But these lessons from God, plus many others, add up to an incredible gift to me.
I thank Josh often for all he has meant for who I have become.
What challenging people or events in your life have been the cause of great growth?
C 2011 Judy Douglass