Within the next few weeks, our family will say goodbye to a little boy who, over the past year, has become a part of our home. He has, and will always have, a deep place in our hearts. Simply put, we love him. The parting will produce much sorrow. The tears are already flowing. Yet, knowing that he is being adopted into a Christ-loving “forever family” gives us great joy and helps to ease the pain. But as grateful as we are for the family who has chosen to lovingly embrace him into the folds of their family, our ultimate burden is that he will become a part of God’s forever family in Christ. To that end, both he and his forever family will remain in our prayers. His salvation is our deepest desire. What those in the adoption world call a “forever family” is an indescribably and much needed blessing. But it cannot compare to the forever family of God the Father.
In May of 2016 an overwhelmed mother left her premature baby at a hospital with the intention of his being adopted by someone who would, and could, care for him. I can only imagine her profound sorrow as she walked away. Too often, people make unfounded assumptions about those who give their children up for adoption. Many, if perhaps not most, of these are motivated by love for the child whom they fear they cannot properly care for. I am glad that this mother chose to leave her baby boy in the care of a hospital; I am thankful to God for placing him in our care for these past thirteen months.
Since July 2016, our family has been tremendously blessed to have him in our home as a designated place of safety. But he has not been merely an “assignment”; he has in fact become a part of our family, albeit only temporarily.
Initially, we expected to have him for about six months while a “forever family” was located and the adoption process got underway. But, in the providence of God, we have been blessed to have him for much longer. We love him as our own. But we know of a family in another part of South Africa, who though they have not yet met him, also love him. They are an answer to the prayers of many of us. They are his “forever family” in waiting.
I pray daily for him, and for his “forever family.” For a long time, our family has prayed about the many obstacles in his adoption process. Many, many in our church have joined us in this. We are grateful and it seems that we see a bright light at the end of the bureaucratic tunnel! Yet in our jubilation at the thought of his being with a forever family, our greater desire is that he will one day become a part of God’s forever family. A large part of my prayers is that his earthly forever family will be God’s gracious means to lead him into the ultimate forever family. I am grateful that the family who is adopting him loves and serves the Lord Jesus. My prayers—our family’s prayers—are that he will love and serve the Lord as well.
God cares for the fatherless. And therefore, so do Christians. It is encouraging to hear, on a regular basis, about more and more families adopting children. All children should have a forever family. And to see this happen is a blessing beyond words. But with our concern, let us not lose sight of the need for these children to become part of God’s forever family—that family in Christ that will live in fellowship with the Father forever.
I weekly make it my priority to pray for the six other children who, over the years, have temporarily been in our home. I pray specifically for their salvation. I want to spend eternity with them. I want to hear their stories of how God graciously cared for them. I sometimes daydream of meeting these children as adults and their sharing their stories of the love they received in their forever families. But a huge part of that dream is always their recounting to me the testimony of God saving them. I envision their serving the Lord as faithful members of a local church and their raising a family to know and to love and to serve him as well.
Temporary, physical, emotional, relational, material blessings are a good thing for those who at one time were fatherless. But none of these replaces the greatest blessing: forgiveness of their sins, and God’s washing them from their sins. Nothing compares with knowing the Father of fathers; nothing compares with the grace of God in making sinners into his sons. Absolutely nothing compares to being adopted into God’s forever family!
Our world is broken, and sometimes it seems to be broken beyond repair. I realise that many children who have either been abandoned by their parents, or otherwise tragically orphaned, will never have an earthly forever family. I hate this realisation. But thankfully one does not need to have an earthly family in order to become a part of God’s family. I have read of many accounts, and I have known several people personally, who never had the privilege of being a part of a healthy family, and yet God has saved them. They have both an eternal home after this life, and a spiritual family (the church) in this one. As much as a biblically healthy family is enjoined in Scripture (Ephesians 5:22–6:4), nevertheless, God’s hand is not shortened to save people from every kind of family; neither is his ear heavy that it cannot hear the cries for saving mercies from those who have no family (see Isaiah 59:1).
But, what about you? You may have been blessed to have been born into a family that was “intact” in every socially and relationally and perhaps even in every material way. Your birth certificate may never have needed to be altered. Your birth family was and is your earthly “forever family.” But the most important question is, are you a member of God’s forever family? Have you been born again? Do you know that God in Christ has forgiven you?
If not, then why not come to the Father through his Son—right now? The Lord Jesus Christ died for all who will repent of their sins. He rose from the dead to give the “Fatherless” a right standing before the Father so that we can call him “Father.” He lives today to bring all who will turn from their sins into the family of God. Believe this good news. Call upon the name of the Lord and by God’s grace become a member of the forever family (John 1:12–13).