The Messy Miracle of Adoption
Adoption is a messy miracle of an otherwise helpless child becoming a part of a family. Although it is distinctly beautiful as an expression of the Gospel, adoption comes with a lot of pain and disappointment. But the miracle is a child that is now part of a family. The method of entering into a family is described by adoption, but the rights and privileges of the family extend to children regardless of their method of entrance into the family.
This week, Lauren and I will fly to China to adopt Zi Chang. When she is placed in our arms, she will receive a new family. When we sign her adoption papers, we will give her a new name, Zion McAfee. When she boards the plane with us in China, she will be recognized as legally belonging to us. When she lands in America, by virtue of her connection to us she will receive American citizenship. When she gets to Oklahoma City, she will go to sleep in a crib of her own, in a home where she belongs.
This messy miracle is a picture of the gospel. Spiritually, we are all helpless orphans in need of a miracle. We can do nothing to make ourselves desirable to adopt. We are powerless to lift ourselves out of our desperate condition. Our only hope is for a Father who cares for us. At great cost to himself, the Father seeks out the orphan to make us a son and a daughter. But it only comes through a bloody, messy cross. Not only did we receive a new family, with God as our father, but we also received our names in the Lamb’s Book of Life. We are recognized as belonging to the Sovereign God of the Universe. We will one day cross into eternity in a home where we belong.
The story of adoption is the story of the Gospel. It is why I am so grateful to be part of a church that so generously supports orphan care through the Karis Adoption Fund, The Gift Goes On and a myriad of other ways Carisa Wilsie and Makenzie Magnus lead us to care for vulnerable children in OKC and around the world. I’m grateful my daughter will grow up in an environment where she is not the adopted kid, but she will grow up amidst a sea of adoptive families. I’m grateful that we as a church have become more ethnically diverse so she will not feel like the only kid in the nursery that isn’t white. I’m grateful for a church that has unconditionally loved us, and we have no doubt will extend the same Christ-like love to Zion.
Thank you, Council Road, for your continued faithfulness to the messiness of adoption and to the miracle of the Gospel. Our family has been transformed by both.
Michael McAfee is a Teaching Pastor at Council Road Baptist. His full-time job is leading faith outreach partnerships at Museum of the Bible. He has completed his MDiv at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and is now a PhD student under Dr. Russell Moore. Michael is married to his Sunday School sweetheart, Lauren, and they live in Oklahoma City. They have a daughter, Zion. You can follow Michael at michaelmcafee.com.