“ I wanted something to live and die for. I wanted something to breathe and to bleed for.
I’m not interested in trying to figure out ways to make my life safe and preserve my comfort.” Derek Loux
I once had a father tell me that he didn’t know if he could ever adopt because he didn’t feel he could love an adopted child the way he loved his own biological children. When he made this statement, my heart grieved in disagreement. Yet, in the grieving, I also found myself rejoicing in gratitude to a Father who believes otherwise. My heart and mind leapt to John 17, where Jesus declared in verse 23 that the Father has loved us in the same way He has loved His only begotten Son. The glory and the beauty of adoptive love washed through my soul as I remembered again the hand of a Father that reached out to an orphan and made me His. How incomprehensible it is to conceive of such a truth, that the Father would love me, imperfect and once-orphaned, with the same love He has towards His perfect and only begotten. This is Kingdom love.
As I’ve interacted with a number of adoptive families, I’ve seen the hearts of many mothers and fathers, weak, but strong in Him, thrust into the divine opportunity of imitating the love of our Father who has adopted us as His own.
Sara Hagerty, a mother to four adopted children, writes of the love that is shaped in the hearts of parents who have wrapped their arms around sons and daughters who are not theirs biologically. This excerpt from Sara’s post, “Love, Unnaturally,” gives testimony of a heart that’s being trained in Kingdom love, learning unnatural desire for a child who is not hers naturally.
The myth about adoptive parents is that they come born with a gene which loves that which is not from them — instantaneously — or, they’ve simply settled for a lesser love, one which couldn’t possibly match the love sown when one life produces another of its own kind.
To the contrary, adoption is one of many opportunities to try on another kingdom’s love, the love we were made to breathe.
Love which changes those that it brushes up against, the healing love that can happen as one life makes an imprint onto another, has only one source.
And it is in no way natural.
He is in no way natural, normal — at least not in this world.
I can’t yet fully trust that what feels normal and natural, to me, is a sign of His kingdom and His nature. To love her, I don’t — first — look to what I feel. I can’t. I’ve spent several decades in an inertia-of-life which is natural to man, but unfamiliar with the ways of God. I live embedded in a world that, although created by Him, is not His world. And His-speak is not yet my-speak.
His ways are not my ways.
To tune into the fullest expression of this love, the fullest expression of His love, requires more than just a natural feeling or desire. My heart needs to be trained to desire, to love.
So I ask Him to dress me up in love, for her.
I position. I wrap my arms around what feels foreign (and, well, is foreign) and exhale prayers that what He sowed — familiar to me and into her before she knew me — would come forth. I act the part, not out of falsehood but as one who is learning that I am keeping beat with a rhythm which this world can’t produce.
God knew her frame before I held it and He knew that she would be mine.
And after I’ve reached deeply into Him and He has spilled out over me to move muscles I’ve barely ever stretched, love starts to take shape. His love, in me, for her.
Then, what’s been simmering in my prayers and stirring in the heavens, surfaces. She flashes her almond eyes at me beneath long, black eyelashes she inherited from another mother and my heart drops into my stomach. Hours logged praying that her skin would smell like my skin and she would wear my life’s shape, receive a response.
His kingdom comes down in the moment I feel what He’s been training me to do.
He teaches us a love that’s not natural, but it is astounding.