In a small courtroom in Arkansas, a circuit judge was keeping my family waiting. My wife, our three children and our parents listened as the judge spoke of the significance of adoption.
Although he didn’t have to say a word, he knew he would risk letting the significance of the moment slip by like an anticipated holiday that is gone before you’ve had enough time to make a memory.
He told my wife and me the responsibility of adoption was great. He said when he signed the decree, Levi would be as much our child as our biological children. He said the adoption would bring us frustration and joy and to embrace them both.
And then he signed his name on a blank line.
We walked into the courtroom a family of five and walked out a family of six.
The next year was wild. I accepted a job outside of the legal profession, shut down my law practice and moved my family to Arizona. We moved 1,400 miles away. And then moved again six months later.
Levi turned 3 right before we moved. He had been in our home for almost a year.
My other children absolutely adored him. He could bring my wife to tears with a smile and a giggle.
Now, four years later, none of that has changed.
My three older children still adore Levi. And he still melts my wife’s heart — her hugs and smiles for him are endlessly enthusiastic and warm.
But Levi was once not my son. And now he is. Levi was once not a brother to my children. Now he is. He was once a stranger to the traditions of our home, he was not mentioned in our prayers, he wasn’t a family member around our table — now he is.
We hang four Christmas stockings where once we hung three. We exchanged single beds for bunk beds.
Levi’s life changed four years ago. He gained a new family, a new father and a new future.
I often struggle to fathom the ramifications this will have on his life.
But it reminds me of a greater adoption, with a greater hope — and a greater Father.
As a Christian, I believe God chose me for adoption as his son “through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.”
And his gifts are greater than any I could give Levi. In God, I have “redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.”
I was once not a child of God. I was once not at his table. I was once not forgiven or redeemed.
But now I am.
God took a stranger and made him a son.
While I have only adopted one child, God’s love is limitless. For those in need of forgiveness, redemption or simply a better father, there is room at the table.
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