God's Child, Our Joy

An adoptive family's journey in faith and life

God’s Child

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Last weekend, while Eva was napping, I sat down and flipped on the TV. I stopped and watched one of my favorite animated movies of all time*, Kung Fu Panda. The scene was Oogway talking with his protégé Shifu underneath the peach tree.

Oogway – My friend, the panda will never fulfill his destiny, nor you yours until you let go of the illusion of control
Shifu – Illusion?
Oogway – Yes. (points at tree) Look at this tree, Shifu: I cannot make it blossom when it suits me nor make it bear fruit before its time.
Shifu – But there are things we can control: I can control when the fruit will fall, I can control where to plant the seed: that is no illusion, Master!
Oogway – Ah, yes. But no matter what you do, that seed will grow to be a peach tree. You may wish for an apple or an orange, but you will get a peach.

* What are my favorite animated films? #5. Wall-E(08) #4 Ratatouille(07) #3 The Simpsons Movie(07) #2 Kung-Fu Panda(08) #1 Up(09)**

** Why are all my favorite ones are in the slim range of 2007-2009? (just missing the cut 07’s Bee Movie and 09’s Coralline) I don’t know. Just know that Pixar is the best studio right now. Who else could have made hit movies who were led by a rat, a junk robot (with no dialog for the first 20 or so minutes) and an old man.

I am living in a world of illusion and greed. Both are brought on by the control I think I have, or want to have in regards to Eva and her upbringing. I can feed her, clothe her, soothe her, but I cannot control her and her destiny. I claim that she is MY child, which in a small sense she is. In the larger sense, she isn’t. She is God’s child, but I didn’t want to admit it.


One and a half years ago, I was 31 and still childless. I knew that I would be a father later in life, but didn’t anticipate it being that long. It was a situation where I had no control. Well, I did have a little control. That’s when we signed up for the adoption class. By the time class ended, we were starting our approval process to become adoptive parents. We had planted that seed. Just like the peach tree analogy, we might have controlled when and where we placed that seed, it left a lot of control out of our hands.

We cannot control how our home inspector will judge us, how long the approval process would take, and when or where the phone call would come. We can only control how we prepare our home and ourselves for the process.

Once the call came, and we were selected by our birth parents, control was still outside our reach. I would even say that we felt less control then compared to before the adoption process. We felt trapped at times, not being able to take a weekend trip, or trying not to upset our birthparents when their requests came. The worst was that through it all, we could make it all the way to the end of the journey and with one mind change lose it all. To have one’s life turn on the whims of a near stranger is practically the definition of no control.

Then, Eva arrived.


Once the adoption paperwork was signed, we had control again (well, besides the fact that Eva controls our lives, our schedules, and our moods). No one was going to take her from us. We had gone from everything left up to fate, to controlling our parental destiny.

We were back in control. We shared our joy with the world, but I always was emphatic on the inside. I know that she was meant to be with us, that she was OURS. I did not want to share. Perhaps after months of little control, I tried to grasp what I could.

Our social worker came to visit and told us a parable. Let’s say you have a plant in hand. If you squeeze it to tight, you will crush it. But, if you let the light in, it will grow.

I was squeezing too tightly. I had forgotten two very important things. That Eva has four parents, and I was blocking God because I didn’t want to share.


When our birthparents signed the paperwork, they gave up their guardianship rights to us (technically the agency). They gave up the right to dress her every day, to change her diapers, to discipline her when she is naughty, to be there every day. They did not, however, ever stop being mom and dad. They will be Eva’s parents, and we will always be her parents.

This concept can be difficult to comprehend at times, especially for those brought up in nuclear families. Like myself. You have two parents, right? Not always. Many people grew up with step parents, or surrogate parents, and know that two isn’t always the way it is. This doesn’t lessen my title of dad in any way.

In order for Eva to have the most enriched life possible, I must not be so greedy. I need open my hand. Which brings me to the big guy….


If you follow MLB, you probably know the story of Josh Hamilton. Here’s a summary. The #1 overall draft pick in the 1999 draft, Josh was destined for greatness. However, just two years later he was out of the game due to drugs. Years later after hitting rock bottom, he found God and rebuilt his life. He is now an All-Star for the Texas Rangers.

What makes the story real to me is the fact that he’s still human. We always want our heroes to have these supernatural comebacks where nothing goes wrong. That’s not human. We make mistakes. We fall. In 2011, Josh slipped and was caught drinking at a bar.

SI did a story on him which talked a little bit about that incident. What struck me (and bringing it back to the point of this post) is how it affected his wife Katie.

This is from the 11 June 2012 issue of Sports Illustrated :

“It’s the simplest of prayers, as old as the first mother. “God,” Katie Hamilton begged over and over, “Just please protect my kids, please protect my kids, please….”

She and Josh have four daughters, ages nine months to 11 years. When, in early February, the story about her husband’s latest relapse broke, complete with sniggering Web chatter, the thought of sending the girls to school alarmed Katie. What defense is there for playground nastiness? But in the middle of Please protect my …, she heard another voice break in.

They’re my kids, it said.

“Oh …yes,” Katie recalls thinking. “They are. They’re His kids, and I just have to trust Him. He calmed my heart in that.” Her children, she says, have yet to hear one cruel word on the matter.

I have forgotten this a number of times myself. I forget that He was there when she was conceived. He was there for those first nine months growing. He was with her birth parents when they made that tough decision. He was there with us when we matched, and guided that developing relationship. He was with us, letting us know when it was our time, and making sure we were ready. He watched over the birth, and has been with Eva this entire time.


So what’s this mean to me? Since she’s God’s child, do I let God handle those 3 am feedings and poopy diapers? Does it mean I have a direct line to him when I have questions about her, like why isn’t she eating today, or when is it time to start vegetables? No, it doesn’t mean that.

This is the part of the post where I write what I think it means based on my life’s experiences. Truth is, I’m not sure what it means right now. It’s a relationship I’m growing into daily. I think it means the knowledge that God is watching over her, and cares more deeply for her than even her mom and I, should bring great comfort to us. I think it means that while the state will recognize us as full guardians in less than a week, her true guardian has been with her always. I think it means that it’s our responsibility to make sure she knows about Him, and what grace he has bestowed on her. I think it means that I need to open my hands and let the light in.

“God was kind and decided that Christ would choose us to be God’s own adopted children.” Ephesians 1:5


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