Merry Christmas! This year was definitely one for the books for our little family. It was good for our souls to be on a new journey. Many of us take a spiritual journey during the holidays. For me, it’s a time to reflect on how my life has brought me closer to my faith. Lately, our story of adoption steered me into the idea that my infertility was truly a good thing. Can you imagine that? A good thing.
The story of Mary and Joseph is one of my favorites and this year it revealed ideas I never really pondered. The first was the idea that like Joseph, my plans were derailed. My derailment took me to places I could never have imagined for myself. Hard and brave places. Over the years, God has quietly revealed to me the immense gift He has given us to call us His. This is love.
Much like love, adoption doesn’t have to be picture perfect.
It’s a real gospel shaken picture pointing to elements of brokenness, beauty, and real bravery. It’s the story of those who are chosen, cherished and “loved from a distance.” It reminds me of how we love our (adopted) son. We chose him, loved him from a distance and then made a decision to step into the brokenness of his story. Together, we walk in his brokenness and bring him into an expanded forever family. Just like the Lord stepped in for us, we interceded on his behalf and made him our own.
This is what deep-rooted soul work looks like. It takes the greatest pain and rewrites a new story. This is what the gospel has done for me. As my thoughts of infertility, loss, love, and adoption weighed heavy on my heart I was gently reminded that what I planned for myself was never God’s plan for me. In the Christmas story, God showed up and derailed every plan Mary and Joseph had for their life. Joseph, in particular, got the news he didn’t plan for. It was so life-altering he wanted to flee. But, Joseph said yes to an impossible decision. Together, they had to decide how they would live out their new story. We are all like Joseph living out a story we could have never written for ourselves.
This is Christmas.
Christmas requires that we do more. Part of what I love about the Christmas story is realizing God had a plan for Jesus. His plan was clear and Mary and Joseph acted on this plan with integrity. God did not abandon Jesus, instead, He became his spiritual father and Joseph stepped up as his earthly father. His plan was clear and Mary and Joseph acted on this plan with integrity.
I recently came across an amazing blog on adoption and foster care by Jason Johnson. In it he states “The gospel of our adoption, making its vivid debut that night in Bethlehem, acts not only as the emphasis behind why; but also the model of how we as those adopted into the forever family of God are called to forever give our families to those who need them.”
That last line broke me. If I’m being honest I have always felt that his adoption was a selfish move on our part because of our infertility. We wanted to grow our family and this was the way we could do it. Over the years that idea has evolved. I never truly understood the magnitude of what we were doing for our child. Once I understood it, I came to understand God’s love for me. We are not the heroes in this story, Jesus is the hero of this story.
Christmas ultimately is God stepping into my darkness in order to bring light to my situation. It will forever be a bright reminder of our adoption journey pointing to how we need to do the same for the marginalized, vulnerable and the fatherless. As Jason noted, “It is impossible for us to truly celebrate Christmas without considering both its implications for us and its expectations on us – to do for them exactly what God has done for us through Jesus.”
Christmas A Call to Action
Christmas is a call to carry the troubles of others, meet their insurmountable need, sacrificing it all to change a life forever. We can no longer sit on the sidelines while children remain in broken spaces. Their brokenness must become our own. Adoption helps us rewrite a new narrative for the broken together. Our western world often uses Christmas to help us look inward which often turns into focusing on our loss and our brokenness rather than helping those who have lost it all. Christmas means that the child in foster care, their brokenness is no longer their own but rather we carry it for them.
Jesus stepped out of light into darkness to rescue us not only from ourselves, but from our broken story. I want to be clear. Adoptive parents don’t walk into the life of a child like the X-Men to save the day. At least we never should. We stepped into their loss, not as rescuers but the rescued.
The Christmas story has changed me. Its whispers of adoption are forever altering. It’s the rewriting of one story for a new one. Things will never be the same and I for one am forever thankful for our new rewritten story.