“In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.” (Ephesians 1:4–6)
The phone call made me feel as if cartwheels were still possible! We knew our friends had been in the tangled, lengthy process of adoption and now, un-expectantly, the baby was delivered at the hospital ten minutes from our front door. The law required two nonfamily members to witness the birth mother’s signing the legal documents. Could we make time to be there? You bet!
My husband and I met the young couple in the hospital cafeteria, listened to them reiterate parts of their amazing backstory, and then tried to help the stoic wall clock speed up. We were met with indifference! As we anticipated the signal to join the birth mother on the maternity floor, every minute felt nine months long. Would she change her mind and renege on her decision? Would our friends’ long-awaited dream morph into a cruel joke?
Suddenly, the ping of the text came through, and we dashed to the elevator. Entering the room cautiously, we waited awkwardly by the bed. Tears slid down the mom’s forlorn face as the social worker read each section of the lengthy document aloud. When the social worker paused between each paragraph, the mom dabbed her eyes, swallowed hard, and initialed the required section. The irrevocability of her courageous decision was evident in each legal declaration. This was final! There could be no turning back. With every stroke of the pen, the mom signed away her rights to her child forever.
With our part complete, we slipped out of the room and waited for our friends in the hallway. With a floral arrangement and baby carrier in their hands, our friends charged down the corridor like thoroughbreds sprinting for the finish line. They radiated enough brilliant joy to fuel an entire wing of the hospital complex. The baby belonged to them now. Finally, they could take him to their home and raise him as their own son. This exquisite exchange allowed baby Daniel’s new parents to pick him up, snuggle him close, and give him their name. The undeniable quality of sacrificial love blanketed the entire event.
Later, we reentered our regular world as if transported back from a holy place. We were keenly aware that God had allowed us a peek into a sacred event to remind us of his extraordinary love. Because our heavenly Father wanted relationship with us, he went to great pains to adopt us himself. We get to belong to God the way that baby boy belongs to our friends. In a permanent declaration, God adopted us by his divine decision. Christ went all the way to the cross, sacrificed everything he had, and paid the highest possible price to guarantee we would be sons and daughters of the Father forevermore.
“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:4–5).
Elizabeth A. Mitchell