It’s the perfect picture of the love of God. I knew that when my wife and I adopted our daughter 5 years ago. It was supposed to be a reflection of God’s desire to rescue every lost soul from death and bring them into His permanent, eternal family. I wanted it to be that picture. That’s what I wanted my family to portray! I wanted to shower a child with the kind of enduring, sacrificial love that God had richly showered on me. Here was this little girl, trapped in a dank, dark orphanage; hungry, alone, never having known the safety and love of a family. And for what felt like the first time, I understood spiritual adoption in a tangible way. Rescued from darkness into the light. Given hope and a future. Loved as His own child. The picture was so clear.
As it turns out, I didn’t understand a tenth of what I thought I knew. As it turns out, adoption is a much clearer picture of God’s love than I could have ever imagined 5 years ago.
Adoptive parents are no strangers to sacrifice. We raise the funds and save every penny. We gather documents for our “paper pregnancy” for anywhere from months to years before we meet our child. We spend weekends and late nights scouring the internet to track down resources. We go to therapies and doctors appointments, and travel to the ends of the earth to meet our child’s needs, and we lose the support of family and friends along the way who don’t understand what we are doing.
Then when the time finally comes, and we bring our child home, we learn another step in God’s adoption picture. Now, we learn the real trench warfare of loving. Yes, adoption is a picture of redemption, but it can also be a picture of God’s love in the midst of rejection. How often do we ourselves become this image? How often does God offer His love only for us to in turn refuse the light, reject the love, and run away from the home He’s provided? Sometimes, adoption is the picture of a child of God rejecting the home He provided and returning to a former life of bondage. Yet as parents we strive to be like God, not willing that our child should perish but come to understand our love for them.
And sometimes, it’s not enough. Sometimes it becomes the picture of God’s love that I didn’t see before; a picture I never wanted my family to portray. I now understand a little bit about God’s feeling of being rejected by His children. How you are forced to allow your child to make decisions even when they don’t really grasp the decisions they are making, and even when those decisions eventually make it impossible to keep them close to the rest of the family. Christ’s love is always constant. As parents, we choose to love and we always choose to love, just as God does. But, just like with God’s adoption, adoption does not always “work”. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” (John 3:16). If God’s offer of adoption was a “perfect cure” as we see "perfect," no one would ever choose to be lost. It doesn’t mean that God’s adoption isn’t perfect. It means He desires to save even those who refuse salvation. Sometimes we desire to give homes to those who refuse family and the security of home.
Brittany and I are working hard to hold our family together. At this time, we are striving to find other living arrangements for our daughter, both long and short term. We are praying, crying, and working for all of our children to assist them in healing from the trauma that has occurred in our home as a result of our adoption, and despite our best efforts to protect everyone involved.
Pain. Brokenness. Helplessness. These are the dominate feelings of our days and I do not have the energies for AHFJ at this time. I still love A Home for Jolee and its mission. I’m still here in the background and may in the future resume the duties of president. At this time, I really cannot even guess what the future may resemble. I ask that you pray for my family, all of us, and please continue to support AHFJ as Robin Burroughs comes back on and helps while I am away. Thank you for your patience and prayers.
To God be all glory,
Joshua P. Richardson