Foster Update: Horizontal Because Vertical

In the Ask Pastor John podcast this week, John Piper talks about adoption. He recounts his family’s own story of adopting a newborn African-American girl when he was 50 years old and had raised four boys. She is now graduating from high school, and he talks about how beautifully adoption has worked out for his family. It wasn’t without risk – adopting was pretty much the opposite of everything he had experience with, and he wasn’t sure how it would go.

He told his story in part to counteract some of the difficult stories that have surfaced about how hard adoption can be – adjustments might not happen, families can be devastated, kids can be disrupted, and more. That’s the reality of the broken world we live in.

But there’s beauty and joy in adoption too, because there’s beauty and joy in God’s adoption of us as sons and daughters. Think about that for a second – God could have saved us and left it at that. He didn’t have to make us part of his family. But not only did he declare us holy in the courtoom on the basis of Christ’s substitutionary death, he brought us into the living room and told us to make ourselves at home. He made us his children and promised us an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. The Father planned our adoption, the Son accomplished it and the Spirit applies it every day. Unbelievable.

And that’s why we can adopt earthly children no matter what may come. As Piper says:

Be encouraged that not only is it (adoption) a beautiful thing to imitate, but that your own experience of it is the guarantee that God your Father will be there for you in every single challenge you face in adoption. Because of our experience of the vertical, we can now take the massive risks of the horizontal, knowing that He’s going to be there for us in every way.

Because of the vertical, we can take the risk of the horizontal. Yes, it’s a risk. Anyone who has adopted knows that it feels like there’s no safety net sometimes. But the net is there, and it will hold.

That brings me to this update: it looks like our adoption of our two foster girls (Okay, are they really foster girls at this point? It’s been more than two years. Let’s just go ahead and call them family.) will finalize in late July or early August. They keep pushing it back, but no one ever accused the government of being efficient.

Our social worker brought us a massive stack of paperwork to read through, including all the medical records they have on the girls and their parents, and the chronology of how the girls ended up in foster care. We can’t share details in public, but if you’re reading this, there’s a good chance their lives were much different than yours and mine. God’s grace in plucking those girls out of the life they were in is indeed remarkable. (Where they ended up may be a little questionable …)

So, we’re on track. School is out now, so five kids at home every day will be a joyful (and some days not-so-joyful) challenge to navigate. And hopefully by the time school starts in August, two girls in the commonwealth of Kentucky will have a new last name.

[Listen to John Piper give counsel to couples considering adoption.]

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