Adoption - An Unexpected Blessing
Vera Christian | NOVEMBER 28, 2018 | 5 MIN READ
Have you ever received a gift that you didn’t want? Though the giver meant well, there was a mismatch between what they thought you wanted and what you really desired.
It’s possible to feel that way with God too. Have you ever received a good and perfect gift from the Father of lights (James 1:17) and thought, “No thanks!”?
On September 17, 2012, Anah Joy became part of our family. Her orphanage was being closed, and the director, who was a believer, called our pastor with a plea for help in finding homes for six of their kids with special needs — the ones who would probably not thrive in the rigors of the state orphanage.
Anah was the youngest. She has Down Syndrome. When we finally met her, she was 7 years old but acted like an 18-month-old — drool, diapers, and all.
To say that the last six years were difficult is an understatement. We found our lives completely turned upside down. Having a mostly nonverbal child with limited understanding exacerbated an already hard situation of adoption. Those heart-warming stories were not ours. What He intended as a gift certainly did not feel like one.
Thanks, God, but no thanks.
I won’t belabor the details, but it has taken six long years of wrestling with Him, tearful counseling sessions, and hard work to write this today. Little by little, I am just starting to see that though our journey has been difficult, Anah truly is a “good and perfect gift.” Through my experience with her, God has given me three precious presents.
1. A new understanding of my own special needs
Prior to the adoption, I had been completely blind to the depth of my own sin. As a “good girl” who had never caused difficulty, I looked down on Anah for her neediness, not realizing that though less obvious, my neediness was no different. Recognizing this about myself has deepened my appreciation of the Gospel: While I was yet a sinner, Christ died for me (Rom. 5:8).
2. A new relationship with Him
As the depth of my brokenness emerged, I learned firsthand what it meant to be an adopted child of the Father, and with it, the discipline He gives His own (Hebrews 12:6-7).
Yet in that discipline, there was also a strange comfort — that this was actually proof of His love, not evidence against it. Slowly, He has been taking me down from my prideful perch and positioning me where I need to be: under His feet.
3. A new connection with others in Christ
Because of my pride, I had been reluctant to share my struggles. The enemy poisoned my heart because I was isolated and alone.
But as I began to accept that I too was broken, I started writing about my struggles with Anah, which opened up doors of connection and a new community of support that I did not have before. I now have friends who have since held me up in the hard days and helped me to keep pressing forward.
Thankful for God’s Gifts
No, I didn’t ask for Anah. But He knew I needed her — possibly even more than she needed me.
The director at the orphanage knew Anah would not do well in the state institution. As the One who sees my heart, God knew that my special needs, left untended, would not be good for me either. I am grateful for His intervention for me through Anah.
How about you? Maybe you struggle with something painful in your own life — a thorn in the flesh, a toxic work environment, a broken relationship, a besetting sin. Or maybe it is something that is meant to be good that has turned sour. What might God be inviting you to learn about Himself, about yourself? How might you respond so that what is an unwanted gift becomes a means to deeper love and fellowship with Christ?
My prayer is that this upcoming Christmas season, you too may learn to thank the Father of lights who knows how to give good gifts to His children.
Vera Christian is first and foremost a beloved daughter of Christ. She lives out her calling as a pastor's wife, homeschooling mother, mentor and informal counselor at her home church, Evergreen Baptist Church, San Gabriel Valley (EBCSGV). In her spare moments, she enjoys trying new recipes on her family, blogging about intentional living, and taking online courses for a certificate in biblical counseling. For more about her adoption journey and God's work in her life through it, check out her blog here.