How has God led you to adopt?
God has led us to adopt through His Word, through His people, and through His world.
One of the truths that the Lord impressed upon our heart from His word is found in Romans 8:14-17, "For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry 'Abba! Father!' The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs - heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him."
In this key New Testament text concerning the working of God through His Spirit in the life of the believer, the apostle Paul uses the beautiful metaphor of adoption. In this metaphor, the new status, as adopted sons and daughters, provides the necessary unity with God, security in His love, and presence of His grace to enable faithful Christian living. Every Christian has been adopted by God! We are all children sought out by God and brought into His family.
This fundamental biblical identity has so impacted us that we want to tangibly live this redemptive grace out in our own family, extending the reach of love to those who are lost and hurting - physical adoption can reflect our spiritual adoption. The motivation is love and gratitude towards God, which produces in us a love for others, a love for those without a family or place of belonging.
We recognize that the process of legal adoption is just one among many ways to live out our new identity as God's children, we also feel God is leading us to this through the encouragement and support of His people.
We have been blessed from the first days of our conversion to be a part of strong local churches, in which we have received discipleship, encouragement, solid teaching, and opportunities of service. Along the way God has shown us through other believers the nature of our spiritual gifting, and they been used of Him to equip us for service.
Both Ruth and I were part of inner-city churches in Chicago, characterized by cultural diversity and a passion to reach urban needs. We served regularly, teaching children at South Loop Community Church and Rogers Park Baptist Church. We also ran summer camp programs for children from single-parent homes. One of the more impacting experiences was when Ruth served in an orphanage for disabled children in Haiti as part of her studies at Moody Bible Institute. God opened her heart to love and care for these children, and was used of Him to serve these children.
The first church we attended after we were married was College Church in Wheaton. God knew exactly what we needed for our growth as believers, both theologically and personally, and He graciously and abundantly provided it through the ministries and families of College Church. During our years at College Church we served in various capacities, and were impacted by many families who have adopted internationally (even attending a Sunday school class on adoption).
From these experiences and through the encouragement of our pastors, family, and close friends, we have seen the leading of the Lord in the journey of adoption. We have had close friends adopt, both from Ethiopia and from the D.R. Congo, and they have shared their experiences and resources with us as we move forward. So God has used His people to encourage and lead us and open our hearts up with a bigger love for His world.
We are convinced that this world belongs to the Lord. He is the creator and redeemer. He is the one who knows of the "falling of every sparrow" and the "growth of every flower" (Matt. 6). He is loving, good, and sovereign. But this world has rebelled against Him and fallen into sin, and all of sin’s consequences: brokenness, condemnation, suffering, and death. But God is actively redeeming His creation, making it new, through the finished work of His Son Jesus Christ, and through the Spirit-filled community of those who are called by His name. As "ambassadors for Christ, God is making his appeal" to the world through us believers. (2 Cor. 5:20).
As ambassadors for Christ, believers who are in, but not of the world; we must address the urgent and critical problems in the world, facing even the biggest and apparently insurmountable challenges believing that God Himself is at work, empowering our works and words for His ultimate glory.
The cry of the orphan is on God's heart! God loves the orphan, and longs to rescue the weak and the helpless. Together His people must follow the passion of His own heart - prayerfully, creatively, generously, with all earnestness, so that the realities of the new creation may break into the present darkness with His glorious light and love.
So this is just a short sketch of how God is leading us, and it is all a work of His grace, because it is His word, His people and His world. May His glorious reign invade our lives with His blessing, so that this same blessing may spill over into the lives of many others.