Adopted

by Holly DeKorte

Maybe it is because I teach English Language Arts, maybe it is because my parents nurtured my imagination, or maybe it is because books and I have always been friends. Whatever the reason, God often speaks to me using metaphor. He pulls me into a metaphor and shows me how it communicates something about His nature.  

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of experiencing one of His greatest metaphors. Lizzy*, a little girl who I mentor, invited me to be present for her adoption. No longer would she be a foster child, she would now be a daughter.  Lizzy was orphaned by neglectful parents, now she would be adopted by a loving mom. Over the year that I had mentored Lizzy, there was some confusion as she was moved from one foster home to another. Being new to mentoring, I hadn’t understood the process, but I now appreciate how God was working in Lizzy’s life. This adoption was something to celebrate.

I entered the Santa Barbara County courtroom behind the family and their close community. Lizzy was asked to sit in front of a microphone with her eyes on the judge, next to her adopting mother. Her little sister, who was also being adopted, sat on her new mother’s lap. The family, including other adopted children, a child in foster care, grandchildren, and a biological daughter, formed a semi-circle facing the judge.  

The judge stated the names of the individuals present as witnesses to the adoption. He then pulled up the paperwork proving that the cost of the adoption had been fulfilled. As part of the proceedings, he stated the enormity of adoption and how it was his responsibility and privilege to ensure that Lizzy and her sister were in the right home. The judge asked Lizzy if she wanted to be adopted and Lizzy stated that she did. Her adopting mother told the judge about a recent conversation in which Lizzy was excited about the adoption, but hadn’t understood that the adoption was forever. She thought that the adoption would end when she turned eighteen, like foster care. The judge explained to Lizzy that once she was adopted, she was a part of the family forever; her mother would always be her mother. He then repeated the question and asked Lizzy is she agreed to this. She replied, with an emphatic, “Yes!”  

Lizzy’s Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) was asked to give testimony about the family. Then the family members gave examples of the adopting mother’s love and of her character. The witnesses were also invited to testify to the character of the mother and the safety of the home.  

As I was welcomed to participate in the adoption, I began to see it from an entirely different perspective. Instead of a man in glasses on the judge’s seat, I visualized God the Father. But, curiously, not only was He in the judge’s seat, He was also seated in the mother’s chair. It wasn’t Lizzy seated next to Him, it was me. I heard a voice say, “What is the cost of Holly’s adoption?  Are you, the adopting father, willing to pay it?” There was a silence. “The cost,” said the voice beside me, “Is my own Son. His nail pierced hands are proof that he died for her; the nails held my Son to the cross so that this child could be mine. She can sit in my presence because my son’s righteousness was given to her. The cost is fulfilled.” 

Again, the voice from the judge’s seat asked, “Is there anyone here who can advocate for this girl?” An advocate stood, but not the CASA worker as I expected. It was a man dressed in white with scars on his hands and feet. His gaze held mine. “I am the Father’s Son and I am her advocate. I can tell you; she needs a new identity. She was lost, and now she is found; she was dead, and now she is alive. I have made a way for her to her to be adopted by my Father.”

The judge’s voice now addressed me. “Is this agreeable to you?  Do you want to be adopted?” A lump caught in my throat. I asked, “But don’t you think I need to do something in order to be adopted?  Shouldn’t I prove that I’m good enough, sweet enough, pretty enough, to be called His daughter?”

A soft chuckle came from beside me. “Don’t you see?” asked God the Father, “It’s nothing that you have done or will do that pays the cost of your adoption, it’s what my Son has done. The adoption is my gift to you. Do you want to be called my child?”

I thought about my sin nature: the envy, the pride, the jealousy, the anger. I wanted that nature to die; I wanted a new identity. I answered, “Oh yes!  I want to be your child, but...what if I wander away or what if I do something so shameful that I can never come home?”

Once again, I heard a soft chuckle.  “You will be mine forever; I have ways of pursuing you and of calling you back home. I love you so much that I sent my Son to die in your place. You get a new nature, a new name. You get to be my daughter and I will never leave you or forsake you.” 

Joy began leaping up from a place deep inside.  Suddenly, I was surrounded by others. “These are your brothers and sisters,” God the Father explained, “I have also adopted them and called them my own.”  The voice from the judge’s seat asked, “Who can give testimony to the adopting Father’s character?”

The witnesses, my brothers and sisters, began speaking. “He is good. He is not tame, but he is good,” said one. “He is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love,” said another. “He counts the tears you cry,” testified a brother. “He sees your walk of shame as you come home and runs to welcome you back. Then he throws a party for your homecoming,” a sister said. “Wow,” I thought, “This is my Father and I get to be his daughter.”  

I glanced at the faces of my brothers and sisters, then back at the man in white, and over at God the Father. “Clearly, something is troubling you,” the judge said. “Well,” I slowly replied, “I don’t look or behave like God’s Son.  I don’t look like His other adopted children.  Their skin color is lighter or darker, their hair is straighter or curlier than mine, their eyes are blue, green, or black.  How will the world know that I, too, belong to my Father?”  

God the Father leaned over and placed a kiss on my head. “This is my seal, my guarantee that you belong. You have my Spirit in you to comfort and guide as you begin to look more like my Son. It’s not an easy process, but you are not alone. Your adopted siblings are also sealed in my name and are also undergoing the same transformation. You will need your adopted family to help you, but most importantly, you need my Spirit who is your ultimate Helper.  He will remind you of who you are and of my words and promises.  Whether you eat, sleep, drink, work, play, or rest, He will be with you.”

A little girl’s voice pulled me from my reverie.  “Am I adopted yet?” Lizzy asked into the microphone. The courtroom exploded in laughter.  The judge with glasses looked down at her and said, “Not yet, you’ll know when you are.”  He leaned back in his chair and said, “My findings are that Lizzy and her sister are being placed in the best situation possible. This is what ought to be shown on the nightly news; people who are willing to take in a lost child and make the child their own.  You were formerly Lizzy Smith, now you shall henceforth be Lizzy Marie Jones.”  The judge turned and asked Lizzy’s mother for a formal signature in his presence.  “Lizzy, you are now adopted,” he said.  The courtroom exploded in applause, the certificate of adoption was presented to Lizzy, pictures were taken, and Lizzy was hugged by countless arms.

I walked out of the courtroom into the blaring sunlight and smiled.  Adoption should be celebrated. As God’s children, we should be celebrating what He has done: He has called us to Himself and adopted us as His sons and daughters, He gave us a new name and a new identity, we belong to Him and our lives reflect His glory.  May our lips be ready to share the good news and testify to His character. He is a very good Father.

*Names have been changed to protect privacy.