By Elizabeth Prata
In America, adoption is easy and it is hard. It is easy in terms of there being many different organizations that aid prospective parents through the process. It is hard in the sense that it’s financially expensive, emotionally draining, and a veritable roller coaster of home visits, technical legalese, paperwork upon paperwork, and no sure thing until the final gavel comes down.
The gavel came down yesterday.
I know a couple who had sought a baby for several years, and their adoption process ended yesterday at court.
Court is an imposing place. The buildings are majestic and stately, made of stern stuff like granite or stone. They sometimes have columns that add to their grandeur. The interior is usually a place of lush formality with polished wood, heavy doors, thick rugs. Add to that, policemen with guns ushering you through a detector and scanning you for knives or other weapons. You definitely feel small.
In Courtroom One the audience sits in nervous silence in the mahogany pew-like rows. The judge’s seat is high and lifted up, imposing, as he views the gallery in one glance. As the bailiff stands he announces the judge’s entry, and commands the audience “all rise”. It’s formal and it is solemn. Audience chatter, as silent as it was, now hushes completely. We rise.
All eyes are on the judge, as he tells the audience to be seated. He opens the thick file, and says that he has read and reviewed all the information in it. He turns to the last page and with pen in hand, waves the prospective parents to two seats closer to his bench. They move, and bring the baby. They are asked several questions for the record, identifying their names and addresses and if they are legally married. Though the gallery visitors are silent, the parents’ voices are small and quickly swallowed within the voluminous space between the floor and the high ceiling, and area between their seats and the judge.
Soon, the judge turns to the file. He holds forth. All eyes and ears are on him. Will there be a problem? A last minute issue that will cause a “no” verdict? We wait with bated breath. He holds the power in his pen, his decisions change lives- some for the better, some for the worse.
He smiled. The judge said that he loves adoptions, even more than weddings in his opinion. He said that so much of what happens in court is negative, that the refreshing joy in adoption ceremonies is wonderful to him. He recounted a story of a woman who, over many years, adopted siblings after siblings, 30 children in all. That was a staggering number to think of such a large family. Turning to the couple, the judge said that he knows they have been asked all the questions, but he had one question to ask for himself.
“Are you ready to make this child your son?”
The judge signed the papers and then looked at the gallery.
“It is final!”
We applauded, teared up, sniffled, smiled and crowded around in happiness for them. The judge said to take all the pictures we want, “It’s your room for the next few minutes” and moved to the side.
The joy we felt as this little soul was added to a loving family knew no bounds. The Christians crowding around him also welcomed the little babe as a soul to be loved in Christ, nurtured, and warmed by His grace and perhaps some day to be regenerated as we were.
What will it be like as the family of God crowd around Him, the Judge? He will open His files, He will make pronouncements, He will reveal who is adopted into the family of God and welcome us in. We will peer around excitedly to see who is there and to rejoice together. The angels rejoice when one lost sinner repents, when God executes his decree of adoption for this person or that person.
It is an amazing thing that God adopts His children. All of us, adopted by His sovereign choice, His grace, His will. What a family the Father has created for His Son. Though now this family is scattered around the world one day, soon perhaps, we will rise to His court and praise Him and look at Him as the Judge but also Father, Head of the family, giving His children the sweet gift of His Son.
One day, when the last Christian completes the number in the church and the age of Grace is done, the Father will tell the Son to go gather His family, (Matthew 24:36) His adopted children. We are his children eagerly looking forward to that day.
And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:23).
Earthly adoption is a beautiful picture of the family of God and Jesus’s adopted children.