On Monday, June 26th, 2017, I had the privilege of standing in a Forth Worth courtroom to witness the adoption finalization of a precious little boy named Chasen into the Valentine family. I stood there with family, friends, and CPS caseworkers - all in front of a judge with the power to make a life-altering declaration.
Three Ways Physical Adoption Reflects Spiritual Adoption
This is a journey Devinion and Alecia began well over a year ago, praying the Lord would grant them the opportunity to love and serve a child in need, eventually adding them to their family permanently. Standing in that courtroom I was reminded of three significant ways adoption mirrors the way we all have been adopted by our heavenly Father.
1. Love Shown in a Promise
When it came time for the judge to address the Valentines, she asked them the very specific questions above. She needed to know if they, indeed, understood what it was they were agreeing to; ensuring the best interest of Chasen. How is it the Valentines could stand before this judge committing to such significant and powerful things on behalf of a child that over a year ago they didn’t even know existed.
“Do you understand that adoption is like a promise? Do you promise to love Chasen forever? Take care of him forever? And be his mom and dad forever?” - Judge Judith Wells
The scene played out in the courtroom is simply a reflection - a reflection of the greatest Love of all, shown in a promise. The Valentines know and have experienced this Love and understand their love of Chasen flows out of God’s love and promise for them (John 14:18). God makes it abundantly clear that when He adopts us into His family by grace, through faith, His love and affection is ours. It is through these eternal promises that the Valentines even had the desire to say “Yes!” to forever loving Chasen in that never-ending, life-altering, God-sustaining type of Love. Their love isn’t based on Chasen’s good behavior, his accomplishments, or his ability to give them back what they promise to give him. It is a selfless, sacrificial Love; one displayed for us long ago on the cross.
2. Not One, but One of Many
The imagery of a human body is used often throughout Scripture to illustrate the identity and role of the Church. It reflects that God has designed the people of God to relate to one another and function together. Some are feet while others are hands. Others are ears, eyes, or toes (1 Corinthians 12:14-20). Not one of the body parts is more important than the other, but all are important in their own right, all functioning together to make the whole better. All have the same purpose, uniquely yet equally important. Certainly, we are not all called to the same thing. Not everyone will stand before the judge like the Valentines did that day, but we are all called to do something in caring for the orphan. I saw this play out in the courtroom by watching a crew of people physically surround the Valentines as they stood front and center before the judge. Some of these people spoke continued truth to the Valentines during this hard process, others babysat on those much needed times away. Some provided meals and others simply positioned themselves in community with the Valentines in a way that communicated to them, “We are with you!” All have loved Chasen as if he was their own, not withholding their time and affection for the entire Valentine family. You see, the Valentines may have added to their immediate family today, but a greater, much bigger family also gained a loved one. This was shown and heard at the adoption finalization by the many, loud “Amens”, laughter, clapping, shouts, and tears of joy!
“Grandparents, family, friends, and everyone who is a part of this today, please feel free to come up here to take a picture to celebrate.” - Judge Judith Wells
3. Family for Eternity
The moment the Valentines, their friends, and family had all been waiting for happened in a split second on June 26th, but, by the grace of God, will last a life time.
“It is my privilege to name Chasen Noah Valentine a member of the Valentine family forever and ever.” - Judge Judith Wells
I can’t articulate better than Devinion Valentine himself,
“For the past 452 days the Valentine family was granted the opportunity to love Chasen like the Father loves us. This unconditional love that the Father gave us for Chasen has been unreal. I mean, you never really know until someone comes into your life, unable to give or offer anything back to you but poop, crying, and an appetite needing only love to make a difference. (What I described in that sentence was really how God found me, just a lot worse.) However, God out of His love, adopted us and changed our lives in an instant. Father, we thank you for showing us how to love so that we could love Chasen. He's been the object of our love for 452 days but Yours since eternity. You chose Chasen in eternity past, we chose him April 1, 2016. We will love him for our time on the earth, our prayer is that he'll get to experience your love for all eternity.”
May Chasen’s physical adoption reflect and lead to his greater, more significant adoption into God’s forever family and may there be an army of people that he can look back and see God using to do just that! My prayer is that we as a church would all take the time to ask God how He would desire us to take part in His command to care for the orphan- whether that is fostering and adopting like the Valentines, or being like one of the many supportive people cheering them on and celebrating alongside them.