When I was three years-old, my parents decided that we should foster a child. I remember the first day that Brian came into our lives—he was three, too. I had two older sisters, so it was fun to have another boy in our home.
The “idea” was for us to help this child through a rough patch in his life. For whatever reason, Brian’s biological family could not be a part of his life; so Brian was put in custody of the state. The state tried to put kids like Brian into loving foster homes, even if just temporarily.
Most kids bounce around from foster home to foster home. I can’t imagine having a childhood like that. And, to be honest, I don’t know how many homes Brian went to before he found ours.
His last name was King; mine was Kee.
Brian lived with our family for a number of years. Then in the second grade, we decided to make it official; we chose to adopt Brian into our family. He would no longer be called King, but Kee, just like me.
We started off just wanting to help a child for a little while, but we grew in love with Brian. We wanted him in our family.
We did not need him to be in our family, we wanted him to be in our family. There’s a vast difference between the two. After all, my parents didn’t need a child, since they already had three children (and would eventually have five). We didn’t need Brian so that we could finally be a family or finally be happy. We already were a family and we already were happy. We did not need Brian because of the money he would bring into our home; in fact, he didn’t bring any money to our family and he would eventually cost our family, as do all children.
So why then did we adopt him? If not because of need, then why? Because we wanted him and we loved him. We would have been just fine without him; he did not make-up for anything that we lacked. His adoption was completely for love’s sake, because he was precious and we wanted him to be a part of our lives.
Brian has been my brother ever since; and he always will be.
This is analogous to what it means to be adopted by God as his child. Romans 8:15-16 says, “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.”
We are not slaves, but adopted children. A master needs a slave (to do work, serve him, earn him money, etc.); a father does not need an adopted child. God did not need more children in order to be complete or happy or fulfilled, much like my family did not need another child.
So if God chose to adopt us as his children, then why did he do it? It was not because God needed us, but because God wanted us. God did not adopt us out of obligation, but out of love. He did not welcome us into his family out of his lack, but so that he could give to us from his fullness.
God wants to make you his child. Just let that statement penetrate into your soul: God wants you. That’s the only reason why he would ever bring you into his family. He wants you and he loves you. There are no conditions that you have to meet and there are no obligations that you have to uphold. God freely adopted you, and those in his family live in the freeness of his love. This means that we don’t have to fear a time when nobody wants us; we are not to be slaves to that kind of emotional abuse.
Instead, we live in the freedom of being an adopted child of God, knowing that Somebody wants us, at every second, of every day.
It strikes me that Brian King no longer exists; only Brian Kee remains. If you’re adopted by God, then the old, unwanted person doesn’t exist anymore; there’s only the precious, loved, and wanted self that remains. Thus to be adopted is synonymous with being wanted.
© 2011 by Samuel Kee